Recap of the Schneide Dev Brunch 2015-08-09

If you couldn’t attend the Schneide Dev Brunch at 9th of August 2015, here is a summary of the main topics.

brunch64-borderedTwo weeks ago, we held another Schneide Dev Brunch, a regular brunch on the second sunday of every other (even) month, only that all attendees want to talk about software development and various other topics. So if you bring a software-related topic along with your food, everyone has something to share. The brunch was well attented this time with enough stuff to talk about. As usual, a lot of topics and chatter were exchanged. This recapitulation tries to highlight the main topics of the brunch, but cannot reiterate everything that was spoken. If you were there, you probably find this list inconclusive:

News on Docker

Docker is the hottest topic among developers and operators in 2015. No wonder we started chatting about it the minute we sat down. There are currently two interesting platform projects that provide runtime services for docker: Tutum (commercial) and Rancher (open source). We all noted the names and will check them out. The next interesting fact was that Docker is programmed in the Go language. The team probably one day decided to give it a go.

Air Conditioning

We all experienced the hot spell this summer and observed that work in the traditional sense is impossible beyond 30° Celsius. Why there are still so few air conditioned offices in our region is beyond our grasp. Especially since it’s possible to power the air condition system with green electricity and let sun-power deal with the problem that, well, the sun brought us. In 2015 alone, there are at minimum two work weeks lost to the heat. The productivity gain from cooling should outweigh the costs.

License Management

We talked about how different organisations deal with the challenge of software license management. Nearly every big company has a tool that does essentially the same license management but has its own cool name. Other than that, bad license management is such a great productivity killer that even air conditioning wouldn’t offset it.

Windows 10

Even if we are largely operation system agnostic, the release of Windows 10 is hot news. A few of our participants already tried it and concluded that “it’s another Windows”. A rather confusing aspect is the split system settings. And you have to abdicate the Cortana assistant if you want to avoid the data gathering.

Patch Management

A rather depressing topic was the discussion about security patches. I just repeat two highlights: A substantial number of servers on the internet are still vulnerable to the heartbleed attack. And if a car manufacturer starts a big recall campaign with cost-free replacements, less than 10 percent of the entitled cars are actually fixed on average. These explicitely includes safety-critical issues. That shouldn’t excuse us as an industry for our own shortcomings and it’s not reassuring to see that other industries face the same problems.

Self-Driving Cars

We disgressed on the future hype topic of self-driving cars. I can’t reiterate the complete discussion, but we agreed that those cars will hit the streets within the next ten years. The first use case will be freight transports, because the cargo doesn’t mind if the driver is absent and efficiency matters a lot in logistics. Plus, machines don’t need breaks. Ok, those were enough puns on the topic. Sorry.

Tests on Interfaces

An interesting question was how to build tests that can ensure a class or interface contract. Much like regression tests for recently broken functionality, compatibility tests should deal with backward compatibility issues in the interface. Turns out, the Eclipse foundation gave the topic some thoughts and came up with an exhaustive list of aspects to check. There are even some tools that might come in handy if you want to compare two versions of an API.

API Design

When the topic of API Design came up, some veterans of the Schneide Events immediately mentioned the API Design Fest we held in November 2013 to get our noses bloody on API design. Well, bleed we did. The most important take-away from the Fest was that if you plan to publish an API that can endure some years in production while being enhanced and improved, you just shouldn’t do it. Really, don’t do it, it’s probably a bad idea and you lack the required skill without even knowing it. If you want to know, participate or even host an API Design Fest.

And if you happen to design a web-based API, you might abandon backward compatibility by offering several distinct “versions” of APIs of a service. The version is included in the API URL, and acts more like a name than a version. This will ease your burden a bit. A nice reference resource might also be the PayPal API style guide.

Let’s just agree that API design is really hard and should not be done until it’s clear you don’t suffer from Dunning-Kruger effect symptoms too much.

Performance Tests

We talked about the most effective setup of performance tests. There were a lot of ideas and we cornerstoned the topic around this:

  • There was a nearly heroic effort from the Eclipse development team to measure their IDE performance, especially to compare different versions of the IDE. The Eclipse Test & Performance Tools Platform (TPTP) was (as in: discontinued) a toolkit of interesting approaches to the topic. The IDE itself was measured by performance fingerprints like this example from 2011. As far as we know, all those things ceased to exist.
  • At the last Java Forum Stuttgart, there was a talk about performance testing from an experienced tester that loved to give specific advice. The slides can be viewed online in german language (well, not really, but the talk was).
  • The book Release It! has a lot of insights to this topic. It’s one of the bigger books on the pragmatic bookshelf.
  • The engineers at NetFlix actually did a lot of thinking about the topic. They came up with Hystrix, a resilience library, aimed to make it easier to prevent complete system blackouts. They also came up with Chaos Monkey, a service that makes it easier to have a complete system blackout. If we can say anything about NetFlix, it is that they definitely approach their problems from the right angle.

Company Culture

Leaking over from the previous topic about effective performance-related measures, we talked about different company cultures, especially in regard to a centralized human resources departments and works council (german: Betriebsrat). We agreed that it is very difficult to maintain a certain culture and continued growth. We also agreed that culture trickles down from top management.


The last topic on this Dev Brunch was about the rendering of text or single characters in OpenGL. By using signed distance fields, you can render text more crisp and still only use cheap computation instructions. There is a paper from Valve on the topic that highlights the benefits and gives a list of additional reading. It’s always cool to learn about something simple that actually improves things.


As usual, the Dev Brunch contained a lot more chatter and talk than listed here. The number of attendees makes for an unique experience every time. We are looking forward to the next Dev Brunch at the Softwareschneiderei. And as always, we are open for guests and future regulars. Just drop us a notice and we’ll invite you over next time.

Summary of the Schneide Dev Brunch at 2012-07-15

If you couldn’t attend the Schneide Dev Brunch in July 2012, here are the main topics we discussed neatly summarized.

Two weeks ago, we held another Schneide Dev Brunch. The Dev Brunch is a regular brunch on a sunday, only that all attendees want to talk about software development and various other topics. If you bring a software-related topic along with your food, everyone has something to share. The brunch was so well attended that we had trouble to all find a chair and fit at the table. There were quite some new participants, so the introductory round was necessary again. Let’s have a look at the main topics we discussed:

Choosing Google Web Toolkit

If you start the development of a new web application today, there are many frameworks to call to aid. Most of them will not lend a hand, but mostly stand in the way. In a short presentation, we learnt about the arguments in favor and against the use of the Google Web Toolkit for the development of a highly customizable web application. The two most important aspects were that GWT enables desktop-like “real” (as opposed to “web”) development but still provides enough hooks to embrace the web-only developers.

Spock Framework

The Spock testing framework tries to bring natural and expressive syntax back to testing. It mixes the best of most current testing and specification frameworks together in a groovy-based domain specific language. The first contact with Spock of one of our attendees was very pleasant. The framework provides opiniated default tools for most modern testing aspects (e.g. mocking), but is extremely integrative with all current testing libraries. The take-away of this topic was: Try Spock for your next adventures in testing.

Schneide job offer

We from the Softwareschneiderei host the Dev Brunch for nearly six years now. In all these years, we grew slowly without the need to announce open job offers. Now is the time where even we have to insert a little bit of advertising into the brunch: we are hiring. Enough said.

SWT UI-based tests

The Standard Widget Toolkit is the graphical foundation of the Eclipse platform. It’s a bit dated (like most Java-based UI toolkits) and doesn’t really embrace automatic UI-based tests. There is SWTBot, but it doesn’t provide the power of a tool like FEST-Swing. We discussed the situation, but couldn’t offer much help.

Decorator pattern

Another question for discussion was the usage of the classic decorator design pattern in a rather twisted use case. Without going into much detail, the best option would have been the use of Mixins, but the environment (Java) doesn’t provide them. It was an interesting discussion with lots of different solution attempts. We didn’t find the definitive answer, but there was some good inspiration in the train of thoughts.

The programming language Go

One guest offered us a quick overview over the new programming language Go, developed by Google. To sum up a few aspects that were mentioned, Go is compiled to native code, doesn’t offer type inheritance but compile-time interface binding (if it matches, it binds) and so-called goroutines. The latter are slightly improved coroutines. The communication between objects is mostly done with channels, a very flexible event notification system. The feature with the most raised eyebrows was the visibility modifier: capitalization. If your name begins with a capital letter, it is exported. You can quickly learn the basics of the language with the web-based “Tour of Go”.

Summary of Java Forum Stuttgart

One attendee summed up his impressions and experiences with this year’s Java Forum Stuttgart, a local Java-based conference. The day was worthwile and informative, but some basic pieces went missing. For example, you weren’t provided with a notepad and a pen and had to go on a hunt at the exhibitor booths. The single extraordinary talk that you’ll remember for years didn’t happen, either. Most visited talks were solid, but not outstanding. Most noteworthy tools this year were Gerrit and Sonar.

Data loses its location

A final aspect for open discussion was the fact that stored data loses its location. With all modern web- or cloud-based services, the notion of a “storage medium” begins to lose meaning. And with the fast mobile internet access, you won’t have to reside at a specific location to access all your data. For the next generations of computer users (read: kids), data will behave like the notorious aether: always there, never affixable.


As usual, the Dev Brunch contained a lot more chatter and talk than listed here. The high number of attendees makes for an unique experience every time. We are looking forward to the next Dev Brunch at the Softwareschneiderei. And as always, we are open for guests and future regulars. Just drop us a notice and we’ll invite you over next time.