The highlight reel

JAX London day one roundup

Away from the big-name keynotes at JAX London like Brian Goetz and Doug Cutting, there were tens of other sessions going on in the six rooms at Park Plaza Victoria. Even between our three writers Elliot Bentley, Chris Mayer and Anna Kent, we still only managed to catch just a small number. Here’s our picks of the first day.

Ted Neward’s first talk of JAX London, introduced with an epic movie-like soundtrack, was on node.js, the fashionable new application for running server-side Java. Living dangerously, Neward downloaded the latest version of node.js as he opened the talk - but thankfully his live demos went off without a hitch. The talk itself was mostly a crash course in JavaScript and its quirks, as well as a quick tutorial in setting up a basic but function node.js server. Although a rich ecosystem has already begun to emerge around node.js, said Neward, it’s still nowhere near as mature or reliable as existing alternatives.

John-Matthew Holt used his presentation to showcase the features of Waratek Cloud VM for Java, which we profiled on JAXenter last month, and to announce the opening of new offices based in London and New York. (eb)

To start off Big Data Con, Tim Berglund provided an excellent introduction to the scalable potential of Cassandra. From the outset, Githubber Berglund explained that much of the head scratching surrounding the key-value database had come from the array of explanatory blog posts containing misinformation.

Berglund showed that Cassandra’s data model was, in fact, pretty simple to grasp once you get going. Once the grounding was in place, Acunu’s Tom Wilkie ramped it up a notch, showcasing some of Acunu’s analytics products that were in use at black cab app Hailo and at MixCloud. Those who came away from the two talks now had the ideal introduction to the possibilities that Cassandra holds. (cm)

A talk called ‘Curing Agile Hangover with Craftsmanship’ saw Sandro Mancuso and Mashooq Badar bouncing back and forth ideas and solutions to many problems that they have come across. Starting with a brief history of the company and how it has come to adopt Agile in its daily working routine, they then ventured into the problems which were created as a result of adopting Agile, especially when it got to the testing stage.

One major problem they found was that teams working on the same projects across the globe has resulted in a low morale. The lack of communication has meant that the teams are often extremely competitive, which means it then becomes less about their passion for Agile, and more simply a sense of trying to outdo each other.

They noted that at times there was a lack of focus on quality, poor ROI and low quality software. We need to adapt a new culture of learning, said Badar - “writing code is not all that we [developers] do”. (ak)

To round up the day of sessions, the London Java Community trio of the Diabolical Developer Martijn Verburg, Richard Warburton and James Gough deciphered some of the buzzwords and in our industry in a humourous roleplay. Verburg, donning his obligatory shades and beanie, played the role of a CTO of a trendy startup, but was quickly found out as a bluffer. Fortunately, the straight-talking Gough and Warburton were on hand to guide through financial, technical and computer science jargon. (cm)

Elliot Bentley, Chris Mayer and Anna Kent

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