Follow-up to our Dev Brunch June 2010

Today, we held our Dev Brunch for June 2010. It was a small group of developers this time, too, as some of our usual attendees turned into parents and can’t wrap their head around anything but their kid. First things first. The good news is that today, we had a new attendee that joined our group after reading our blog articles. This time, the communication beforehands went right. Our office roof garden once again served as a great hangout place as we discussed the topics listed below.

The Dev Brunch

If you want to know more about the meaning of the term “Dev Brunch” or how we implement it, have a look at the follow-up posting of the brunch in October 2009. We continue to allow presence over topics. Our topics for the brunch were:

Google Web Toolkit, internationalization (i18n) and customer customizable text – This wasn’t a presentation, but more a discussion of different options around the fact that GWT i18n works best (and smoothest) when baked into the compiled binary. If you have a customer that wants to change every textual aspect of your projects, chances are that performance will suffer. If your job is to provide a flexible, yet powerful base product as a starting point for individual customer solutions, there’s a huge tradeoff to make here.

First-hand experience of Yoxos 5 Beta – The EclipseSource Yoxos Launcher is a cool new product that helps to keep the management overhead in setting up your IDE (eclipse as you might already have concluded) minimal. It’s a little program that downloads and sets up everything you specified in your launch profile and starts a ready-to-use eclipse instance. You can share the launch profile and keep it in sync so everybody in your group can be sure to work with the complete official setup. This talk was about a real-world use case, the unique features and the areas that still need a bit more work. Remember that it’s beta.

A book chapter review of The Passionate Programmer – The book is the second revision of the former “My Job Went To India…” book from the Pragmatic Bookshelf. It contains insights and advices on making a living in software development. It also has a focus on enterprise career planning in the IT with the background threat of outsourcing or even offshoring. Two chapters were discussed in more detail: That you should keep a map of your technology skills up-to-date (like this example) and that you really should seek to make friends with software maintainance work, as it probably will be the actual job that pays your bills.

Introduction to Code Squiggles – One of the results of a experimental quest to improve the coding style in Java are Code Squiggles. There will be a full-detail blog entry about them shortly, so this is just a teaser. Code Squiggles don’t add functionality or safety to your code, but seek to improve the readability of your code. The ultimate goal is to have your program written down in plain english with a few funny letters in between. Basically, they are intentional bloat to help the casual code reader.

As usual, the topics ranged from first-hand experiences and impressions to literature reviews and research. For additional information provided by the talk authors, check out the comment section (or leave a comment to request further content). Comments and resources might be in german language.

Retrospection of the brunch

Today, we started by giving a quick introduction of ourselves to each other. Being a small group, we digressed a lot more as time wasn’t that much of an issue. The list above is in no way a summary of all the sidenotes and topics we really talked about, it’s just the main topics that served as a starting point for insightful developer chatter. The brunch keeps getting better.

Follow-up to our Dev Brunch February 2010

Today, we held our second Dev Brunch for 2010. It was the first one in the new office, with some packing cases still around. The brunch had some interesting topics, most of them small and focussed. We discussed if the topics should be announced beforehands to avoid collision, but defined these collisions as enrichments rather than duplications.

The Dev Brunch

If you want to know more about the meaning of the term “Dev Brunch” or how we implement it, have a look at the follow-up posting of the brunch in October 2009. This time, we didn’t urge all participants to bring their own topic. Presence is more important than topic.

  • Scrum adventure book review – There are lots of book on the Scrum project management process. But the one called “Geschichten vom Scrum” (sorry, it’s a german book!) will teach you all the basics and some advanced practical topics of Scrum while telling you the fairy tale of a kingdom haunted by dragons. By following a group of common fairy tale characters in their quest to build a dragon trap the Scrum way, you’ll learn a great share of real world Scrum and still be entertained. You might compare this book to Tom DeMarco’s “The Deadline”, a novel about general project management.
  • What is the Google Web Toolkit? – Based on the learning from the presentation of the Karlsruhe Java User Group (JUG-KA), we skipped through the slides to get to know the Google Web Toolkit (GWT) framework. Advanced topics were discussed in the next talk.
  • First hand experience with GWT – We talked about the sweet spots and pain points of Google Web Toolkit, based on the experiences in a real project. This was very helpful to sort out the marketing promises from the definite advantages. While the browser doesn’t affect the developer anymore, the separation of client (browser) and server will still leak through.
  • First impressions of the Lift framework – The way to go with web application development in Scala is Lift. It’s a framework borrowing the best from “Seaside, Rails, Django and Wicket” and combining it with Scala and the whole Java ecosystem. While this talk was just a teaser, it already looked promising.

As usual, the topics ranged from first-hand experiences to literature research or summaries of recently attended presentations. You can check out the comments for additional resources, but they may be in german language.

Retrospection of the brunch

It’s right to grant access to “non-topics”. This will lower the barrier for occasional guests while they are valuable for their experiences and insights. This brunch was enriched by yet another topic collision, which is the perfect situation for a more in-depth discussion.