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!

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

Slides

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!

January 2015 – Guest Speakers

Thanks to everyone for their support and enthusiasm! We kicked off January with another successful Staffs Web Meetup. A fantastic turnout of just over 45 people. We hosted two guest speakers, Jenny Wong and Kirsty Burgoine.

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

Guest speakers

Staffs Web Meetup - January 2015 - Jenny WongJenny Wong

Jenny recently joined Human Made, Europe’s only WordPress VIP agency. Jenny is well known within the PHP and WordPress communities for her contributions and infectious personality! She is also an extra special guest for us at Staffs Web Meetup. It was her encouragement at WP Contributor Day which lead to the formation of Staffs Web Meetup.

Staffs Web Meetup - January 2015 - Kirsty BurgoineKirsty Burgoine

Kirsty is the organiser of ShropGeek, a monthly web meetup in Shrewsbury. She also organises the annual (R)evolution conference and Re:LOADED unconference. We first came across Kirsty while speaking at Responsive Day Out 2 in Brighton. Kirsty is a WordPress developer and managing director of her own company.

Talks

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

Sharing Knowledge

Presented by Jenny Wong

The open source community works because of the amount of knowledge that is shared between people. Although everyone has knowledge and experiences to share, many do not feel they have anything worthy of saying.

In this talk, I will show that everyone has something to share, how to generate topics ideas based on conversations you have every day with your peers, and discuss the different methods of sharing – not all of it is on a stage.

I will also discuss the impact of the share mentality and how it is helpful even for your business.

Responsive Web Design

Presented by Kirsty Burgoine

Before responsive design, there was “standard” design. Keeping the client in the loop with standard design was easy, you showed them a visual and then created a pixel perfect website based on that visual. But as more internet enabled devices came on the market, responsive design became more common and the practice of pixel perfect designs became increasingly difficult to maintain, keeping the client in the loop using “the old ways” became impractical.

So how do we deal with this? What deliverables do we provide to the client and at what stages? There is no one-fit solution to this so instead I will share a few of the things I tried and how and why they failed. Hopefully you can then find a method to suit you and avoid some of the mistakes I made.

We’ll be back!

We raffled off a number of prizes on the night, including a number of books thanks to Five Simple Steps and O’Reilly Media. JetBrains kindly gave us a PhpStorm licence to give away. Finally, a French press with a bag of coffee courtesy of Bean enCounter. Congratulations to our raffle winners!

Our thanks goes out to our awesome sponsors Campaign Monitor, Connect Group and iWeb. With their support we’re able to put on Staffs Web Meetup and treat everyone to food and drink. Make sure to show your appreciation and pat them on the back!

We’ll be back in February for an evening of lightning talks. Join our mailing list and we’ll keep you updated on upcoming events.