April 2015 – An Evening of Agile

Thanks to everyone for coming along to April’s Staffs Web Meetup! Kevin Rutherford was our guest speaker. He demonstrated the real world benefits of agile processes through an interactive session. The event was well received and we look forward to bringing you more fun, interactive sessions in the future.

A big thanks goes out to our awesome sponsors Connect Group and iWeb.

Guest speaker

Kevin RutherfordKevin Rutherford

Dr Kevin Rutherford is a software developer, coach and trainer. He has delivered multi-million pound projects in domains as diverse as healthcare, logistics, defence, CAD, travel and operating system security; he ran his first eXtreme Programming team in 1999. He is the creator of the vastly under-rated Reek code smell detector, and the vastly over-rated book ‘Refactoring in Ruby’. If you have ever used Unix System V or transferred money between bank accounts, you’ve unwittingly used his code. He was using vi before you were born.

Delivering the Product Vision

Successful software development is all about delivering features into users’ hands in reasonable timescales. The question is: how should your company organise itself in order to beat your competitors to market? What is the best way for developers, managers, analysts etc to work together to get the job done?

In this game you will be divided into groups and each given a project to deliver. (Don’t worry, there’s no programming involved!) The game is a simple contest: which team can deliver the best product in the time allowed!

March 2015 – Show and Tell

We had another great turnout last Thursday! Thanks to everyone who came along to our fifth meetup – we hope you enjoyed the Creme Egg! If you couldn’t make it, don’t fret, we filmed the talks and will update the page once they’ve been edited.

A big thank you to our sponsors (Campaign Monitor, Connect Group and iWeb) and of course Bean enCounter for the fantastic food, drink and service.

The evening was hosted by Natasha and we had four lightning talks with a show and tell theme.

Lightning talks

We’ve included a summary of the talks below and we’ll update the page with coverage (slides/videos) as it comes in.

Rapid Cross-device Development

Presented by Andrew McCombe

Over the years the web development cycle has involved saving in your editor, reloading the browser, switching to another browser, reload, repeat. This talk will introduce a workflow that rapidly improves cross-browser and cross-device web development, saving time, money and the F5 key.

Convergence Web-Based Gaming

Presented by Ollie Reardon

A proof-of-concept gaming platform using web-based technologies to demonstrate how a game can adapt to different devices such as desktop, tablet and mobile, that I am currently building for my final year project at University.

Icon design – First time for everything

Presented by Dave Redfern

New projects bring new challenges. It’s what keeps our jobs interesting. Recently I had the opportunity to design a set of bespoke icons. Embracing this new challenge I want to share my experience.

Cachet & Building for yourself

Presented by James Brooks

I started building Cachet as a tool for my own needs. Since then it’s grown into a product with a wide following, thousands of installs and excitement for Version 1.

In this talk I’ll be demoing Cachet, talking about its future and why you should build things for yourself.

We’ll be back!

We raffled off a number of prizes on the night, including some giant Easter eggs, a book and a bag of tea and coffee courtesy of Bean enCounter. Congratulations to our raffle winners!

Thanks to the generous support from Campaign Monitor, Connect Group and iWeb we are able to treat everyone to food and a drink. Make sure you show them some love!

We’ll be back in April for an evening of agile with Kevin Rutherford. Kevin will be demonstrating the real world benefits of using agile processes. Join our mailing list and we’ll keep you updated on all our upcoming events. We’ll see you in April!

February 2015 – Lightning Talks

Thanks to everyone who came along last Thursday, we had a great turnout of around 40 people! Thank you to our sponsors (Campaign Monitor, Connect Group and iWeb) and of course Bean enCounter and their team for the fantastic food and drink. The evening was hosted by Natasha and we had four great lightning talks.

Myself and the rest of the organising team would like to thank everyone for their overwhelmingly positive feedback, including a number of fantastic blog posts.

Lightning talks

We’ve included a summary of the talks below and we’ll update the page with coverage (slides/videos) as it comes in.

WebGL: The Future of Web Maps?

Presented by James Milner


Web maps have changed a lot since they first appeared in web browsers in 1993. Currently WebGL (a web graphics library) is the latest trend in plugin-less 2D and 3D web graphics. The talk will examine if web maps will move away from traditional methods to this new approach.

Thymeleaf & Thymesheet

Presented by Ruth Mills

Thymeleaf is a relatively new Java view layer technology which can be used as an alternative to JSP, and lets you code your view layer using “vanilla” HTML, which you can then annotate with custom HTML5 data attributes which tell Thymeleaf how to map your back-end data model onto your HTML. Thymesheet takes this one step further, taking a completely clean HTML file, and mapping the back-end data model onto it using CSS3 selectors. Best of all, Thymesheet lets you do test-driven development (TDD) so you can test every aspect of mapping your Java object model onto your HTML – and, even more crucially, be notified by a failed test when something changes in the HTML that you need to take account of.

ACTIVATE AGILE! A newbie’s guide to Agile (from a newbie’s perspective)

Presented by Jamie Pollock

A very quick intro to agile web development from a newbie for newbies.

How I got here

Presented by Sam Bennett

Over the years I have learnt a lot, but how I have learnt has stayed the same.

We’ll be back!

We raffled off a number of prizes on the night, including a number of books, a JetBrains licence, a GitHub micro plan and finally, a French press with a bag of coffee courtesy of Bean enCounter. Congratulations to our raffle winners!

We’d also like to thank our sponsors, Campaign Monitor, Connect Group and iWeb. Without getting too emotional… our sponsors continue to show a genuine commitment to supporting our event and the local web community. With their support we’ve been able to put on a number of fantastic evenings and build what I feel is an inclusive, welcoming and relaxed atmosphere.

We’ll be back in March with a slight twist. We’re sticking with the social/four lightning talks format. However, we’re going with a show and tell theme. So if you have a piece of work you’re especially proud of, or perhaps a project which presented a number of challenges. We would love for you to share your experience. Get in touch and we’ll get you a slot booked in.

Join our mailing list and we’ll keep you updated on our upcoming events. We’ll see you in March!

November 2014 – Lightning Talks

A massive thanks to everyone who came along to the second Staffs Web Meetup. We just about managed to all squeeze in upstairs at Bean enCounter with a turnout of around 45 people!

We hosted five brilliant lightning talks and our wonderful host, Natasha did a great job of keeping the event flowing smoothly.

Lightning talks

We’ve included a summary of the talks below and we’ll update the page with coverage (slides/videos) as it comes in.

Who the f*** is BEM?

Presented by Dave Redfern


Creating manageable code is key to the success of any project. CSS pre-processors are awesome but with BEM as it’s partner in crime you have a powerful combination for front end development.

Community: You Never Develop Alone

Presented by Jamie Pollock

A talk about my experience of community, using the Umbraco community as a case study.

This talk is aimed at everyone, despite my experience coming from Umbraco and also being a “lone wolf” developer.

By the end of it, I hope to have inspired people to think about how they can get involved in their own dev group community or start one if they can’t already find one.

Programming is awesome

Presented by James Brooks


For my first ever talk I decided to tackle a sensitive subject that I feel isn’t spoken enough about and that’s Depression & Anxiety.

Constant Terror: Security and protection on the Internet

Presented by Aaron Brady


It’s reasonable to assume that anything on the Internet is under attack all of the time. I’ll show some numbers about how bad the problem is, what you can do to (try to) protect yourself, and how to deal with the inevitable.

How to make an amazing cup of coffee at home

Presented by Jonathan Cushing

An amazing cup of coffee emphasises natural sweetness, brightness, flavours and mouth texture within bean, while minimizing negative attributes such as bitterness or sourness. In order to get amazing coffee, the coffee needs to be loved at all stages from the farmer, miller, importer, roaster and the barista. As a home barista, I will explain on how to buy, store, grind and brew amazing coffee at home.

We’ll be back!

A big thanks to our sponsor Campaign Monitor for generously buying everyone a drink. We’d also like to thank O’Reilly Media and Five Simple Steps for sending us the fantastic raffle prizes.

We’ll be back in January for another action-packed evening of web fun. We’re hosting a number of guest speakers. Let us know your coming, sign up on Lanyrd.

October 2014 – Social

Once again, a massive thank you to everyone who attended! The event far exceeded our expectations with a turnout of over 50 people. Our only regret is that we didn’t get the chance to speak with everyone!

Thank you all for completing the feedback forms. Generally it seems most were pleased with the first meetup even though it may have been a bit of a squeeze! We’re doing our best to take your feedback on board and bring in some of your ideas, including arranging a larger space for our next meetup.

We’re planning to hold meetings monthly with lightning talks, guest speakers, quizzes and social gatherings.

There was strong support for lightning talks, so we’re aiming to have 5 or so talks at the next meetup. If you’re interested in giving a short (5-10 minute) lightning talk, shoot us an email events@staffswebmeetup.co.uk or tweet @staffsWebMeetup. Talks can be on any topic or sector of the web, or even something more philosophical if you wish!

A number of you mentioned that the event started too early and didn’t give a lot of time for travel. We’re going to keep the 18:00 start time. However, we won’t kick off the talks until 19:00.

We hope to see you again next time.