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!

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.


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.

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.