Wednesday, 15 June 2011


So Saturday just gone was the 3rd instalment of DDD SW which is held in Bristol at University of West of England where I was lucky enough to have been picked to to give a session on Kanban.
In previous years the weather has been very hot which has caused its own unique issues but this year although the day was nice it was fairly cool which was a welcome relief.
This year also saw coffee on arrival along with rather nice danish pastries which was just what was needed to get you going on a Saturday morning.


The day kicked off in normal DDD style with an introduction to the day given by Guy Smith-Ferrier just telling everybody what to expect during the day and where all the various tracks were located.
Mark Rendle then told everybody about an application he had created called Heckle which would be available during the day for people to be able to give feedback on sessions and he would be showing people how he’d built it in his talk on ‘Minimalist software development’
Andy Westgarth also announced the DDD NE would be on 8th October in Newcastle and a site will be up with the details as soon as he is able to build one Smile

Session 1: Kanban? what is it and how can it help?

This was the session that I was presenting and as the title says it was all about Kanban, describing what it was and how you can use it with some animated slides to try and show it ‘in action’ so to speak.
I thoroughly enjoyed this and the questions were particularly great hopefully allowing a bit more in depth into some of the areas.
I’m currently waiting on the evaluation results from the session so I’ll find out if people enjoyed it and found it useful.
A special thank you to Gary Park who did a sterling job as a room monitor ensuring he not only looked after the room but the speaker as well even going so far as to bring genuine Scottish Irn Bru for me to drink.

Session 2: Balloon Debate

I decided to go to the Balloon Debate for this session which was around web presentation technologies and was between Asp.Net MVC represented by Chris Canal, “Roll your own” represented by Steve Sanderson, PHP represented by Gary Short & Silverlight represented by Rich Costall.
The first round of the debate was looking to lose 2 of the participants and after a series of questions it was put to the vote and the surprise was both MVC & Silverlight were voted off leaving only “Roll your own” and PHP!
So going into the second round of the debate we are at a conference which is primarily .Net focused and both MS technologies no longer in the running leaving us to question Steve & Gary about the technologies they represented.  After a suitable amount of questions we voted again only to find that PHP won!

Session 3: The Missing Link - Pushing Through The Pain Of TDD

This session was given by Richard Dalton and as the title suggests was concerned with TDD with Richard sharing his thoughts and approach to doing TDD and giving tips and hints on how to overcome some common issues that you come across.

Lunch: Micro presentations

Even during lunch the sessions didn’t end with with 6 Pecha Kucha or 20/20 presentations which unfortunately I managed to miss due to my talking to people who were attending the conference but from what I heard they were all well received and the format is perhaps something we will see more of in the future.

Session 4: Why Web Performance Matters

This session was given by Richard Campbell of Dot Net Rocks! fame who in his day job is a consultant with StrangeLoop Networks that deal with helping people get the best performance out of their web site so he came to this talk well qualified to speak about it.
Richard was a really good presenter holding our attention throughout the session which gave us insight into why some sites are slower than others which then lead to some tips as to what you could do about it.

Afternoon tea

Everything stopped for afternoon tea which last year lead to some logistical problems where not everybody was able to get their cream tea and get back in time for the final session.
Not this year! it all ran like a finely oiled machine and special thanks must go to Ross Scott for sorting this all out.

Session 5: Building seriously scalable websites with ASP.NET with and without Windows

It was interesting to see this session directly after Richard Campbell's as this was a far more techie session showing the technology you could use as well as discussion about what you needed to do to create a scalable site.
Chris Hay started by explaining that scaling a site consists of doing various things with each usually becoming more expensive/complicated as you go along.  To start he showed how to use Node.js, an open source webserver that runs on Linux,  as an alternative to IIS and just how easy it is to setup and use, then Chris demonstrated haproxy in conjunction with Node.js effectively giving you a free load balanced multiple web server setup with little or no configuration.  What was especially interesting was the people that are currently using haproxy in a commercial environment e.g. Stack Overflow.
Chris continued to show us the various techniques you can use in relation to scaling covering still move web servers (such as nginx), CDN’s, Reddis and more.
My only issue with the session is that Chris jumped forwards & backwards through slides a lot and seemingly missed out a few demo’s of what he was talking about but looking at this tweets afterwards it it appears he only skipped 2.

Close & Swag

After all the sessions were completed we all gathered in the largest room for Guy to thank us for attending and for us to thank the organisers.
Then it was time for the great swag give away with 60 items of swag work in excess of £9000 with the normal method of allocation i.e. if you can get to the swag before somebody else you pick what you want.

The Geek Dinner

As per last year the post conference geek dinner was held at the Water Sky chinese restaurant where there was a lot of discussion of the day, sessions see, new tech, new approaches, etc matched with excellent food.

And finally….

Well that was the day as was, I meant to blog about it sooner but things got in the way.
A big thanks and congratulations has to go to Guy, Chris, Martyn, Jose and Ross for organising another fantastic DDD SW and this year managing to work out the kinks with the food delivery, well done chaps!
Here’s looking forward to DDD SW 4 next year Smile

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