Friday Round-Up: 10 – 14 March

Here’s what you may have missed at Skills Matter this week!


It has been a very exciting and busy week here at Skills Matter, with three days of In The Brain talks, meetups and the first conference of the year – The Functional Programming eXchange! Many thanks to everyone who came along to Skills Matter HQ, and if you missed out, be sure to check out the Skillscasts below!

Alberto Brandolini kicked of the week with an In The Brain on different approaches of domain complexity, and how they can help teams to understand, frame, and master the problems and solution space, enhancing collaboration with the domain experts and the stakeholders, all while keeping some fun involved!

The London Ruby User Group came with three talks, the first by Andy Appleton with a short story about the problems he and his team at GoCardless faced with modelling state and recording state changes. Derek Hill, steered away from Ruby, highlighting the key to market yourself as a developer. And finally Ismael Celis discussed a series of custom-made infrastructure components.

Thomas Kristensen and James Henderson joined the London Clojure community to run through the underlying principles behind propagators using the extensible “proaganda” Clojure library. James followed up from his talk at the ClojureX in December, about how the ideas and patterns presented went on to influence Clidget.

The London Java Community with Victor Grazi took a look at a series of animations that visualise the functionality of the components in the java.util.concurrent, covering Executors, Phaser and all kinds of Locks and synchronizers the new StampedLock and Fork Join.

London Ajax were also here, where Steve James explored the architecture of GenieConnect. Steve, who works for GenieConnect, ran through its’ usefulness as well as its’ drawbacks, discussing his personal experiences with the architecture which led to some interesting findings.

Finally, on the eve of the Functional Programming eXchange, the Functional Londoners were joined by Scott Wlaschin. Scott introduced a popular topic discussing ways you can use types as part of a domain driven process, using real world examples in F# that could be understood by everyone.

The Functional Programming eXchange 2014!

This years FPx was a great success, with eight talks covering everything from the practical theory of language-integrated query to wrapping an imperative API in a functional one, and some fantastic topics in between.

You can view all the Skillscasts here.

Friday Round-Up: 3 – 7 March

Here’s what you may have missed at Skills Matter this week!

In The Brain of Peter Ledbrook

Peter Ledbrook taught us the importance of the build tool, Gradle, at his In The Brain session. He offered delegates the chance to appreciate the challenges of building software, even if you aren’t persuaded by Gradle itself. Be sure to check out the Skillscast!

The London Scala User Group were joined by Alex Dean, the co-founder and technical lead at Snowplow Analytics. He gave delegates the opportunity to gain a little insight into Snowplow, an open source event analytic platform, and his teams experiences. Also, Norbert Radyk gave a short lightning talk on the overview of the issues functional programmers face when using the Apache POI library.

Chris Gedrim, a PHP developer at First Utility took a look at how First Utility implemented Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery, enabling them to produce applications that build in a matter of minutes. London Titanium were also joined by Louis Quaintance, with over 7 years experience as a software engineer, took a look at how to quickly write and run unit tests utilising the power of Node.js.

London Java had two events this week, the first was delivered by Jakub Korab, the author of the new book, Apache Camel Developer’s Cookbook. He took a look at the impacts of common integration failures, introducing Apache Camel tools. He discussed a set of Enterprise Integrations Patterns enabling you to work around these to ensure consistency across the impacted systems.

London Java’s second talk took a closer look at the optimisation process focusing on the humble Single-Producer-Single-Consumer queue. Nitsan Wakart started with stock JDK queues and on his journey covered lock free concurrency right though to CPU cache coherency.

Itamar Syn-Hershko gave an interesting talk on the design and development of applications that provide-lingual text search, teaching delegates how to use ElasticSearch and Lucene. He shared his insights which offered delegates a great opportunity to ask and learn from a true core developer.

Women in Data joined us for a hackathon which was based around AnnoMarket, the new cloud-based marketplace for text analytics services. They delved into the platform from an introductory perspective allowing participants to do some text processing themselves, discussing what they achieved and the results that they were left with.

Welcome to the brand new Skills Matter website!


We’re very excited to announce the launch of the new skillsmatter.com. Since our beginnings in 2003, Skills Matter has always been committed to building and supporting a passionate community of developers and industry-leading experts in the ever evolving world of bleeding edge technologies and practices. Now, with the launch of our new site, we aim to help our worldwide community continue expanding like never before!

We have been working with some of our closest friends and partners to deliver the first installment of what we are certain will eventually become a go-to resource for developers across the globe. This new site is just a first step towards perfecting this resource, ready for your input, ideas and feedback!

Click here to become a member – it’s free and only takes a minute. Once you have joined  you will be able to choose your own ‘handle’ on the site, sign up for and attend our events and see all the events you have signed up for in your personal ‘My Events’ list.

We have been listening to our community and working on overhauling our old website – with the improved tag & search based navigation, we hope we have made it easier to find your local meetups and groups, to find out about our ‘In The Brain’ talks, information on a great range of developer conferences and a fresh system to sign up to our expert-led courses.

We hope you will also find it much easier to discover SkillsCast recordings of talks that interest you. Our collection of thousands of Skillscast recordings of a decade of expert talks and inspirational meetups should be easier to browse and enjoy. Our Skillscasts bring you not only the film, but just as importantly, the code and slides.

With today’s launch we invite you, as a member of our community, to come and take part in this fantastic new adventure with us!

Head over to the new site now to sign up for your free account.

You can find a FEEDBACK button in the bottom right corner of the site – please feed us with your  feature requests and report any bugs along the way.

Once you’ve logged in you’re good to go. So have a browse around the site and let us know what you think!


And a quick note from Wendy Devolder – CEO of Skills Matter

A big thank you goes out to Annabella Macris for all her hard work in designing the look and feel of the new website
It has been absolutely WONDERFUL working with the AWESOME @pivotallabs Brilliant team and process! #newwebsitelaunch http://t.co/gm7Y90BFBg
MASSIVE TX to @seadowg @jetaggart @defsprite @alanhrdy, Nick & Paul for making our dream come true! http://t.co/gm7Y90BFBg #launchofnewsite
Thank you @wearehanno for helping us create the look & feel we wanted for the new http://t.co/gm7Y90BFBg ! #awesomesauce

This Week at Skills Matter: 21st – 25th of October

Here’s what’s coming up at Skills Matter this week!


Groovy and Grails user group are here for their October meet-up with a talk from Marcin Erdmann on ‘Advanced Geb’. The talk is targeted at users with some prior knowledge of Geb as the latest changes and additions to the library working with windows and frames, drag and drop, SauceLabs support, page content control shortcuts, etc.) and some advanced techniques (custom Navigator implementations) will be covered.

Martine Devos will be discussing your Agile, Scrum and Kanban problems in this months Agile Clinic.


We have an In The Brain session from Raoul-Gabriel Urma who will be holding a talk on ‘Java oddities’ which is going to be fun and informative! Just some of the topics include: Array declarations & initializers, Generics: <F,U,N>, Wildcards: <?> and Dangerous overloading for default values.

Another In The Brain will be with Mark Murphy with a talk on ‘Mastering the Master-Detail Pattern’. Mark will be reviewing the ways that you can make the most of master-detail with the least amount of headaches. You should have basic knowledge of Android application development.

Also on Tuesday we have the London Python Group October meet-up with a talk on ‘TDD Fro Everyone’ by Andrea Crotti. In this talk Andrea will explain to you why TDD is great, how to do it in Python and what are the possible tools that can help us, with a lot of hands on examples and live coding!


The F#unctional Londoners will be meeting for a session which will introduce the CloudSharper IDE that lets you create, edit and run F# applications in the cloud via your browser.

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Friday Round-Up: 7th – 11th of October

It’s been busy busy busy here at Skills Matter, we’ve kicked off our season of conferences with a Haskell shaped bang! Not only did we have the Haskell eXchange 2013 on Wednesday but also 3 fantastic ‘In The Brain’ sessions with the brilliant Rob Harrop, Peter Ledbrook and Robert Annett. All talks received fantastic turn outs even though the bitter cold now seems to be upon us in London! Here at Skills Matter we’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who attended and contributed to this week’s events.

This week in Skillscasts

In The Brain of Rob Harrop: In this talk Rob demonstrated how to apply decades-old techniques from formal methods as the ideal tools for agile modelling. Rob presented a mathematical state model using the Z modelling language and a concurrency model using CSP.

In The Brain of Peter Ledbrook: Peter gave a fantastic talk on Open Source – thinking about the important questions that should be answered if you are to gain the benefits of open source and avoid any disappointment (do we yet understand how open source works? How is it funded? Is it a sustainable model? And how should we as developers approach open source?). Peter also spoke about how open source software cannot be treated as simply having no financial cost and that investment reaps rewards.

In The Brain of Robert Annett: Robert discussed and explored some of the issues of upgrading; maintaining or replacing many Java and .NET based systems that haven’t been touched in over a decade. He also provided some pointers on solving common problems.

Haskell eXchange 2013

The Haskell eXchange 2013

The Haskell conference on Wednesday went swimmingly. We had 7 enlightening talks from the great Simon Peyton Jones, Neil Mitchell, Adam Bergmark, Andres Loh, Gracjan Polak, Bas van Dij and Simon Marlow. If you missed the event don’t worry, we were live blogging throughout the day so you can catch up on the hour by hour events. Also all of the Skillscasts (film/slides/code) are now available on our website!

We’d like to say a gigantic thank you to all of our speakers and all of the delegates who contributed and attended, we couldn’t have done it without you. Why not secure your place for Haskell 2014? If this year is anything to go by it’s not to be missed! As an added bonus, the first 25 tickets for the 2014 eXchange are only £75!

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This Week at Skills Matter – In Pictures

Rob Harrop's In The Brain talk at Skills Matter

Check out the pictures from this weeks events on our Facebook page or our Google+ page.

Next week at Skills Matter
Monday: London Ruby User Group October meet-up
Tuesday: In The Brain of Martin Thompson
Wednesday: London Ajax User Group October meet-up, the Pentaho London User Group October meet-up & In The Brain of Andy Singleton
Thursday: London Java Community October meet-up & the Functional Londoners Group October meet-up