software craftmanship

This Week at Skills Matter: 14 – 18 July

Develop for Google Glass on Wednesday with the London Android User Group. Photo: Giuseppe Costantino via Flickr Creative Commons

Develop for Google Glass on Wednesday with the London Android User Group. Photo: Giuseppe Costantino via Flickr Creative Commons

There is a wave of excitement sweeping over the Skills Matter office this week in preparation for the arrival of Google Glass, as the London Android User Group host an evening looking at all the possibilities that it can offer for developers. The talks include the opportunity to get hands-on and try out some innovative apps and demos and start to get a feel for what you will need to consider when creating your own apps. Check out the link below for more details and be sure to register!

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


We begin Monday evening with an In The Brain talk from Richard Rodger, COO of nearForm. Richard will be looking at Monolithic Node.js, specifically, how to build large-scale modular Node.js systems by avoiding the monolithic mistakes of the past.

JavaScript lets you do amazing things in very small amounts of code. Node.js lets you write server-side code in tiny mind-size pieces. We call them micro-services. Stop writing monolithic web apps! Break everything apart. Do one thing and do it well. You can run hundreds of Node processes. Come along tonight and let Richard show you how Node.js can free you from all those past mistakes!

If Ruby’s more your thing, then the London Ruby User Group are also here tonight with three discussions from Tom Stuart John Maxwell and Rosa Fox. Kicking things off, Tom will be looking at the newly-released RSpec 3, demonstrating how it has moved beyond the problems of earlier versions and exploring many of the new features. and essential talk for all you BDD developer’s out there!

Next up John will look at how Continuous Deliverance can set your development free, creating a manifesto for how to go from scratch to automated deployment, with a few tales from the trenches of mistakes made along the way.

Rounding off the evening, Rosa Fox will be sharing her experiences of becoming a developer and the huge amount of support she has received from Codebar. Codebar teach programming skills for free to people who are under-represented in the tech industry. You can find out more about the group here.


Google Glass is arriving to Skills Matter HQ on Wednesday with much excitement, as the London Android User Group join us for an evening of talks and demonstrations from Timothy Jordan and Hoi Lam. If you’ve wanted to get to grips with the fundamentals of developing for Glass, this is your chance! Spaces are limited, so register now!


London Python return on Thursday to investigate how building shallow, transparent layers for your tests makes for better failures, clearer tests, and quicker diagnoses. The talk will be led by Julian Berman, lead developer of the media platform at Magnetic, a frequent contributor to the NYC Python Meetup group and a testing lover.

And finally, the London Software Craftsmanship Community will be helping us to round up the week with a discussion around Lambda Behave & writing IntelliJ plugins for fun and profit. Dmitry Kandalov will give a demo of LivePlugin, an IntelliJ plugin for writing plugins at runtime, followed by Richard Warburton with an introduction to the Lambda Behave framework, explaining why you would want to use it over junit and cover some of its cool features.

This Week at Skills Matter: 18th – 22nd of November

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



The King of code will be in the house – In the Brain of Uncle Bob (Robert .C. Martin). Uncle Bob will be taking a look at Design Patterns; a hot topic in 1995 but why do people hardly talk about them now? What happened? And what are these mysterious pattern-like entities anyway?

The Backbone.js London User Group will also be at Skills Matter HQ for their November meet-up with a talk from Damjan Vujnovic on ‘Unit testing in JavaScript’. This will be a hands-on workshop, which will be an introductory level talk and we strongly suggest you bring a laptop to participate in the workshop.


London Haskell has a hands on session looking at solving Haskell Puzzles. They will be starting to code a solution to the ICFP Programming Contest 2004 task: “Dinner with Ambiants”. The aim of this session is to generally improve everybody’s Haskell skills by solving small puzzles, sharing their solutions and seeing how others solve the same puzzles. You will definitely need to bring along your laptop!


pacman-ghost-sqWednesday welcomes the F#unctional Londoners for their November meet-up. ‘Pacman Kata’ will be a hands on session allowing you to create your own AI for the ghosts inside a fully animated implementation of Pacman. There will be sample implementations for Windows Desktop, Android, iOS and Web with FunScript. Once again don’t forget your laptop!

Weekipedia: next week at #skillsmatter

  July is here and while the summer sun may be nowhere to be seen recently, Skills Matter is the hottest spot this side of Havana. Among the superstars coming to town next week is the infamous Robert C. Martin — known affectionately in the Agile world as “Uncle Bob”. Uncle Bob Martin will be delivering two expert training courses; his Software Craftmanship Clean Code workshop as well as his TDD and Refactoring course — as an added bonus, Uncle Bob is also giving an “In the Brain” seminar on the Last Programming Language. This seminar has been so popular we have had to close even the waiting list — but as with all our talks, it will be recorded and the Skillscast video available on the Skills Matter website the next day.

What else? Well, since you ask, we also have Scrum expert Mike Vizdos delivering the ever-popular Scrum Master certification, and the editor-in-chief of JSFCentral and “JavaServer Faces in Action” author Kito Mann giving a free talk on Polyglot Java Server Faces (a must for anyone with an interest in JSF and Java, Scala, Groovy or Ruby) as well as expert training in acclaimed JSF2 in Action.

It’s also a good week for Ruby users, since the London Ruby User Group (LRUG) hit Skills Matter on Monday night, to discuss using ruby to build high-profile applications for large organizations. Ruby developers may also be interested in joining us for Paul Ardeleanu’s two day workshop, giving an introduction to iOS development — Paul regularly speaks at the iPhone user group meetups at London’s iPhone store, so will be a familar face to many in the iOS community.

Just when you think Skills Matter must surely burst at the seams with all this going on, we are hosting CDI Europe’s “Apps for Good” Dragon’s Den event, where teams of Apps for Good students will present their final app ideas to a panel of high profile industry professionals. Apps for Good work with young people, helping them to create mobile and web apps that make their world better, focusing on solving real life issues that matter to them and their community. At Skills Matter, we can’t speak highly enough of the work Apps for Good do — and encourage everyone to get involved.

One of the country’s biggest and busiest user groups — the London Java Community — joins us at Skills Matter on Thursday night, with talks on the blazingly hot topic JVM Cloud Platforms — including WSO2 Stratos and Cloud Founry. And finally, not to be outdone, with our newest NoSQL user groups, the Hadoop User Group UK, will be getting into some Hadoop discussions.

With all the great stuff we have going on, it’s a wonder sometimes we ever make it home at all. Find out more below and sign up for the expert training and free events we have coming up this week.

Expert training: Michael Vizdos’ ScrumMaster Certification
2 days: Starts Monday, July 11th.
Book your place now

Expert training: Uncle Bob Martin’s Clean Code: Agile Software Craftsmanship
3 days: Starts Monday, July 11th.
Book your place now

FREE EVENT:London Ruby User Group: Ruby Gems
For July’s LRUG we have an unintentional theme of using ruby to build high-profile applications for large organizations.
June 11th: Sign up for free here:

FREE EVENT:London Ajax User Group: Beyond Node.js
This month for the London Ajax User Group, we will have talks on Middleware for Node.js and Server-side JS, by Dylan Schiemann and Building real life applications with Node.js, by Darren Waddell.
July 12th: Sign up for free here:

FREE EVENT:Apps for Good: Dragons Den
Skills Matter is very proud to host the 3rd Apps for Good Dragons Den event, organised by Educational charity CDI Europe. This evening promises to be stimulating evening in the style of “Dragons’ Den” where teams of Apps for Good students will present their final app ideas to a panel of high profile industry professionals.
June 12th: Sign up for free here:

Expert training: Kito Mann’s JSF2 in Action
3 days: Starts Wednesday, July 13th.
Book your place now

In The Brain of Kito Mann: Polyglot JavaServer Faces
In this talk, Kito Mann — editor-in-chief of JSFCentral and author of the popular book JavaServer Faces in Action — will look at different techniques for using other languages with JSF. We’ll look at built-in Groovy support in Mojarra, using Groovy as a DSL for JSF views with Gracelets, JRuby integration with Spring, and examine writing JSF applications with Scala.
June 11th: Sign up for free here:

In The Brain of Uncle Bob (Robert C. Martin), The Last Programming Language
In this talk, Uncle Bob addresses the question “Have we explored the language space”?. And if that’s the case, should we stop exploring that space, and simply pick “The Last Programming Language”?
June 13th: This talk is now full — but go here to watch the Skillscast video after the event:
Expert training: Paul Ardeleanu’s Introduction to iOS Development
2 days: Starts Thursday, July 14th.

Book your place now
Expert training: Uncle Bob’s Test Driven Development and Refactoring
2 days: Starts Thursday, July 14th.
Book your place now

London Java Community: JVM Cloud Platforms
July’s London Java Community (LJC) meeting will be on JVM Cloud Platforms, with talks coming from Paul Fremantle on WSO2 Stratos Cloud Platform, and Peter Leadbrook on Cloud Foundry.
June 14th: Sign up for free here:

FREE EVENT:Hadoop User Group UK: Hadoop Discussions
This month, the Hadoop User Group will have a discussion based session. This is your chance to discuss your experience and any issues you may have encountered.
June 14th: Sign up for free here:

Software Craftsmanship & Agile Testing

Agile Testing & BDD eXchange 2011, Nov 18

No one ever said being a developer was easy. The developers who succeed are the ones who take the talent they have and make the most of it, who commit to being the best developer they can be, who make a point of growing, improving, of finding their own faults in order to put them right. Continuous growth, continuous challenge, continuous analysis, continuous learning: it takes guts to do it the hard way, and sometimes the only people who will notice are the people who are travelling that same hard road themselves, who recognise in you the same desire that motors through their own veins, who understand that the sacrifice is worth it, that while shoddy code is a waste of everyone’s time and attention, the creation of first-rate software is a valuable, worthwhile pursuit that can enrich everything and everyone it touches.

We have a lot of those kindred spirits down here at Skills Matter. Many of them subscribe to our courses, many attend evening events, many come here for the conferences. And some don’t stop there. They step up and run tutorials and workshops, they arrange user groups where like-minded people gather and swap knowledge, they offer their time to speak at In The Brains and conferences, and let us capture SkillsCasts of their talks so those who couldn’t be there can still benefit. This is a big commitment to make, yet day-in, day-out, so many bright, articulate, knowledgeable, committed people go to great lengths to create the events that help other people grow. It’s a beautiful, inspiring thing!

For example, Agile Testing & BDD eXchange 2011, taking place in November. Gojko Adzic, the programme lead, is hard at work putting together a conference that even at this early stage we can safely say will be a source of vital and thought-provoking information that will enthrall the Agile Tester in you.

Uncle Bob Martin will wing his way across the Atlantic in order to run his trademark courses here at Skills Matter. We have Steve Freeman, Simon Brown, Janet Gregory, Jon Jagger, Kohsuke Kawaguchi and Robert Schneider lined-up to provide their expert knowledge. Gojko will break from his busy schedule to run his Test-Driven Development Workshop. Many of the same people will give free In The Brain talks in the evening for the audience who couldn’t be there during the day.

And though the next few months are packed, we’d still recommend catching up with the SkillsCasts from London Tester Gathering, which took place in May at the Skills Matter eXchange. It was a wonderful couple of days, the spirit of which was captured by our dedicated SkillsCasters.
Software Craftsmanship & Agile Testing

We’re there with you in all you pursue.



Agile Testing & BDD eXchange 2011, Nov 18

Agile Testing & BDD eXchange is a one-day conference taking place on the 18th November 2011 here at Skills Matter eXchange in the heart of East London. The line-up is still being assembled, but you can bet it will be a jaw-dropping directory of the big names in Agile and BDD. Check out our Agile Testing & BDD eXchange page for speaker updates and programme developments. And use Twitter tag #bddx for event updates and discussions related to this exciting event.


Numbers are limited to 125, so it’s worth grabbing your ticket while you can!
Tickets are priced at a very affordable £195, but the first 50 tickets are on sale at a bargain price of just £75! £75 – our finance department is shuddering at the thought of it. So before all the cheap tickets are gone, why not snap one up!

If you can’t make it, you can follow events in Almost-Real-Time, as every suitable talk will be SkillsCast to the planet just minutes after the speaker puts away his or her prompt notes and slide pack.


We host the monthly meetings of the London Software Craftsmanship Community and Agile Testing UK User Group. These User Groups are vibrant community events which are open to the general public – you would be welcome to attend.

London Software Craftsmanship Community

The London Software Craftsmanship Community are a community of aspiring software craftsmen. The difference between good software and great software is the people that create it. Great programmers are continually learning and continually improving. The craftsmanship idea embodies this notion of continual learning and feedback.
Here are some SkillsCasts of some of London Software Craftsmanship Community’s recent talks:

Dave Hoover, Ade Oshineye, Dan North and Chris Parsons: How can craftsmanship move the industry forwards?

Find out more about the London Software Craftsmanship Community here.

Agile Testing UK User Group

The mission of Agile Testing UK UG is to promote agile testing practices and principles, from executable specifications through test driven development to exploratory testing.  Agile Testing UK meet for quarterly half-day events to discuss and promote agile testing practices, network and share experiences.

Here are some SkillsCasts of some of Agile Testing User Groups’ recent talks:

The next Agile Testing UK UG meeting is on 29th June 2011, which will be an Agile Testing Half-Day Meetup.  Find out more about the Agile Testing UK UG here.


Some brilliant people pass through the doors of Skills Matter. Some are kind enough to give of their own time to provide free evening events for the benefit of people who can’t make it along to courses during the day. These In The Brains talks are a great source of insight and information. Stop by if you’re in the area, check out our website or follow #bddx, #swcraftsm, #agilesm and @skillsmatter on Twitter for regular updates!

In The Brain of Pekka Klarck, Acceptance testing and ATDD with Robot Framework, June 21

Talk: Acceptance testing and ATDD with Robot Framework
Speaker: Pekka Klarck
Date: June 21, 2011, 18:30-20:00
Get more details & sign up here.

In The Brain of Simon Brown, Effective Sketches, July 7

Talk: Effective Sketches
Speaker: Simon Brown
Date: July 7, 2011, 18:30-20:00
Get more details & sign up here.

In The Brain of Uncle Bob, The Last Programming Language, July 13

Talk: The Last Programming Language
Speaker: Uncle Bob
Date: July 13, 2011, 18:30-20:00
Get more details & sign up here.

In The Brain of Janet Gregory, Agile Testing Practices, Aug 25

Talk: Agile Testing Practices
Speaker: Janet Gregory
Date: Aug 25, 2011, 18:30-20:00

Get more details & sign up here.

In The Brain of Robert Schneider, Big Data/NoSQL, Sep 20

Talk: Big Data/NoSQL
Speaker: Robert Schneider
Date: Sep 20, 2011, 18:30-20:00
Get more details & sign up here.



The London Tester Gathering, curated by Tony Bruce, was an excellent 2-day conference which took place at the Skills Matter eXchange. We captured the SkillsCasts of many of the talks for your continued learning:

There are many more online here.

Here are a handful of SkillsCasts which are related to the speakers and User Groups due at Skills Matter over the next few months: