Building Better Things Together – June 2015 Meetup

If you have yet to attend Staffs Web Meetup, I strongly encourage you to register over on Meetup.com and take a look at the format. However, what you will not get a feel for on the Meetup page is the atmosphere during the event. Everyone who attends is a builder; and I mean both literally and figuratively. I have yet to meet anyone that is not creating things or trying to enhance the experience of others.

It was a real privilege to be able to address Staffs Web Meetup in June; a perfect forum to introduce an idea and get feedback (and hopefully some more help). Presenting a call action can often be daunting, but I was bowled over at the positive reception and discussion that ensued after the presentation. I genuinely believe that we can build a great open source web curriculum and I am delighted that the idea was received so enthusiastically.

The blue sky ideas are only part of the charm. Within the space of an evening, we’d had technical tips regarding SQL transactions, a look to the future based on current design and a rather interesting take on the use of language in the workplace and social settings (focusing on the word ‘just’). Every talk was a treat!

To round things off, The Bean Encounter is such a lovely, quaint venue – it compliments the meet-up so well; it has such a warm charm and friendliness (and some of the loveliest coffee and brownies you might ever get to taste).

Thank you for letting me contribute to this excellent group and I look forward to doing so again in the future!

June 2015 – Lightning Talks

Thanks to all those that attended June’s lightning talks. The evening was hosted by Phil and we had four lightning talks covering a range of topics. We will update this page with coverage as and when it comes in.

We’d like to thank our sponsors, Connect Group and iWeb for their continued support of Staffs Web Meetup!

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.

SQL Server Transactions – They need your help

Presented by Simon Hughes

Blindly wrapping SQL code in a BEGIN TRAN and COMMIT TRAN to make it atomic is a rookie mistake you’ll sorely regret. I’ll show you why this is a mistake, and a range of bad to good ways to handle errors and ROLLING back your transactions.

The word “Just”

Presented by Dave Redfern

We love to use the word “just”. Not just in the web industry but in every day life. “Just” is one of those wonderful words in the English language that has the ability to completely change the way people feel. Lets group together and stamp it out!

Open source curriculum in higher education

Presented by Trevor Adams

Web developers have benefitted greatly from open source software. Not only does it provide a plethora of great software, but it allows everyone to contribute. How many people contribute to the community of software developers? There is growing trend towards industry involvement in education. Can open source curriculum development provide a constant and effective conduit between education and industry? How do you think you could contribute?

Web design is dead!

Presented by Neil Martin

As websites are only a small part of our digital intake and more devices and products involve and create even more touch points for our users to receive content and perform tasks our skills are required even more. As a designer born in the generation of Tim Burners-Lee’s internet, its not the same for the next gen, as it evolves in to the new era.

May 2015 – Lightning Talks

We had another great turnout last Thursday! Thanks to everyone who came along. We saw lots of new and old faces. Thanks to everyone who signed up on Meetup or found us through the Feelgood Stafford Magazine.

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

The evening was hosted by Dave Redfern and we had four lightning talks.

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.

Creating a CMS using Java

Presented by Ruth Mills

How I created a content management system for beauty salon websites in Java, using the Spring Framework, Hibernate, Struts 2, PostgreSQL and eXist-DB, and how it helped me with learning new technologies.

An introduction to Code Club 

Presented by Tim Wilson

Tim is the new regional coordinator for Code Club, a nationwide network of volunteer-led after school coding clubs for children aged 9-11.

In this lightning talk, Tim will provide an introduction to Code Club, the opportunities of becoming a volunteer and what’s involved in setting up, working with schools and an introduction to Code Club projects.

Unit Testing, for User Interfaces

Presented by Adam Davis

Testing is rather an art form, it can be done in a variety of ways, but often not a lot of people write front-end based unit tests. In systems which comprise heavily on front-end based, and complex interfaces the need grows stronger to provide greater front end coverage. This short talk will outline how to approach problems faced when writing tests for these scenarios, and how at RedEye we’re using various technologies to achieve this.

UX: The Bigger Picture

Presented by Kirsty Burgoine

As web designers and developers we spend a lot of time designing and building online experiences. We want the end user to feel joy when using our websites and apps (at least, I do) but its easy to lose sight of the fact that what we create is only one tool in the toolbox and that UX is more than just a shiny happy website. Its about shiny happy people, and creating an overall experience that encourages brand loyalty is so much more.

Having spent a lot of time mulling this over recently, I will look at a few of the brands that I think have got it right and why.

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!