OSDC 2009 Day 2 Wrapup

Day 2 of the OSDC conference, one talk delivered today with Paul King on Using Groovy for Testing. The following are my notes from the sessions that I attended.

Keynote: Simplicity

Marty Pauley delivered the keynote, my notes are as follows:

  • good code is easy to read, beautiful (aesthetically pleasing), useful
  • evil code is difficult to read, ugly, but it is still useful (otherwise you would have no code!) because unfortunately it is still in use
  • good code should be fast, concise, advanced, maintainable
  • “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” – Leonardo Da Vinci
  • comments are an indicator that you’re code is crap, documentation and comments are not the same (documentation is useful), ironic that some languages put documentation in comments (eg. JavaDoc)
  • always out your scripts in a module, makes it easy to read (the comment was made in relation to Perl) and makes it easier to test (one script that calls one module, that can then call other modules)
  • Google is good example of simple (as compared to Excite and Yahoo! at the time) – search engines started complicated and became simple
  • Example of simple first is that Americans used the Space Pen in space (highly engineered pen that would work on all surfaces and work in space), but when they asked the Russians what they used, it was a pencil
  • “Java was designed for stupid people! – was designed because it was deemed to hard to write code in C”
  • look outside your current toolset, we all have problems in common

How to get Rails Web Applications Accepted in Industry

Harley Mackenzie presented this talk, my notes are as follows:

  • why Ruby? – expressive language, object oriented as everything is an object in Ruby (lends itself to good, readable, maintainable code), dynamic allows to delviver scripts quickly and maintainable
  • hard to find Ruby people? – many recruiters do not understand the roles they are recruiting for, Chuck Jones (of Warner Brothers cartoon fame) looked for artists knowing he could train them to animate, the same goes for quality developers
  • open source – lower initial cost, source will never disappear as will always be around in some way, don’t emphasise the FREE but the FREEDOM, dynamic languages you always have the source (not compiled)
  • efficient – productivity important to industry
  • elegant – write easy, maintainable code
  • reliable – “testing to oblivion approach”, everything has tests, commercial environments do not value testing, all say it is a good idea but will not pay for it
  • expressive – easy to understand what the code is doing
  • why is Rails not adopted? – management are risk averse (don’t want to go outside the Microsoft norm), corporate IT motivated by fear and uncertainity (like to do things the way they are always done), loss of control (don’t understand and don’t like when you know about things they don’t), outsourced IT providers (only in it to make a buck so resistance to change)
  • solutions and adapt (know what you can change and what you can’t)
  • demonstrate – give them a VM (“take the puppy home for the weekend), find the champion
  • cloud solutions – if you can’t deal with anorganisation and their infrastructure, bypass it (use Amazon or similar)
  • draw the line – sometimes you have to walk away than comprimise (figure out where the line is), usually can deal with server operating system, web server and database but not the language it can be written in

Open Source Web Apps in Azure

Jorke Odolphi delivered this session, my notes are as follows:

  • software as a service (SaaS) – multi-tenant, pay as you go
  • platform as a service (PaaS) – applicationn frameworks, languages
  • infrastructure as a service (IaaS) – pay as you go, scale (like Amazon EC2, GoGrid)
  • Windows Azure is an operating system in the cloud, where you run applications, designed to scale
  • lots of servers sitting in shipping containers (2,000 servers per container, 7 hours to get up and running after delivered) with VM’s running Windows (called the Fabric)
  • components – web role (front end facing, static content, ASP.NET 3.5, WCF, Fast CGI applications such as Perl, http(s) inbound), worker role (like a Windows service), storage (blobs, tables and queues)
  • running PHP in Azure – Eclipse tooling available (WindowsAzure4E)
  • MySQL in Azure – run as a worker role (configure ports and storage)
  • Tomcat running in the Azzure Cloud (http://oss.cloudapp.net/)
  • No environment yet in Australia, but Singapore coming soon, pricing

Desktop Applications for Web Developers

Ben Balbo presented this session, my notes are as follows:

  • cloud issues – network outages, working offline, server outage, application failure affects everyone, access/ownership of data, dependence on third party to fix bugs
  • Google Desktop Gadgets, Adobe Air, Windows 7 – just HTML, all the information stored in the gadget or via a web service
  • Mozilla Raindrop – Mozilla’s reaction to Google Wave, pre-alpa, a local web service
  • WordPress + Google Gears
  • iPhone applications
  • XUL – XML User Interface language from Mozilla, load any interface around Firefox (use Firefox as a framework)

Using Groovy for Testing

Presentation I gave with Paul King, and was an interesting experience on how to break down a 3 hour presentation to a 30 minute talk (which we started about 20 minutes prior to the talk commencing)!

Business, Law, Open Source

Brendan Scott presented this talk and these are my notes from the session:

  • each decision you make limits your subsequent decisions
  • Starting a business has effect on how easy it be to sell down the track (setting up within a corporate vehicle) – selling of shares make this easy as the legal person transfers. Most businesses are setup where the owner owns all the assets and personally signs up to all the contracts such as phones where their name is on the contract (makes it hard to transfer later on)
  • stay away from partnership (and the use of the word partner)
  • Pov Ray had pre-open source licencing, wanted to sue someone who was bundling it and selling it – needed copyright ownership to sue but had to go and find all of the contributors first
  • code consents in case somebody takes code and uses it in breach – keep records of who, what, when
  • IP Ownership – once you have transferred rights, it is very difficult to recover these rights, you need to get legal advice early
  • dispute resolution – usually because people not speaking to each others, lawyer can help you identify issues, send the nasty letters, courts look favourably if you have tried to sort out the issue
  • negotiations – lawyers familiar with the lines of argument
  • legal arcana – knowing the legal secrets and finding holes in contracts, etc…
  • copyright – owned by employee unless agreed otherwise
  • don’t lie about your products and services (Part V 52 Trade Practices Act)
  • Part V, Dvision 2 Trade Practices Act – don’t exclude warranties, limit recourse to repair or replace, it is illegal to exclude warranties

Lightning Talks

An extended session of lightning talks. here are the notes:

Make my PHP 66 Times Faster

  • slow code read in a really big library everytime it is run
  • idea is to make a socket call and run off the server, loading only once

Something About Cars

  • entertaining comparison of programming languages to cars

The Coming Programming Language Crisis

  • entertaining look at new programming langauges, recruiting for the Australian LOLCODE Developers network! (see http://lolcode.com/)

OSDC – Open Source Developers Club

  • parent organisation for the conference
  • like meetings (found about every third session, people attend a session that is not their usual language)

Hosting Web Sites In The Cloud

  • created Grocery Choice, wanted something that had scale initially but assumed would not need it going forward
  • Amazon EC2 – virtual machine farm, upload your VM to the cloud (takes about 3 hours)
  • using commercial, licenced server so limited to CPU’s that coule be run
  • can move your instance onto a larger virtual machine
  • pay as you go, for what you use

Geography, Databases & Government


Phoebe’s Netbook

  • Phoebe is 4, has an original eePC
  • the distribution is very easy for children
  • TuxPaint and other programs in Linux that are good for kids

GMT (Generic Mapping Tools)

  • set of command line tools
  • pscoast – will show a map, can then map cyclones as they move down the coast

Byte code optimisation using Promise

Open Source Licencing vs Microsoft


  • starting a business with no money
  • do something disruptive – is a potential client trying to solve a problem that your product addresses
  • low-end disruption – easier way of doing something that already exists (eg. MySQL vs Oracle)
  • new-market disruption

Handy Python Functions

  • if building libraries, pleause use doc tags!


  • open source SMS gateway
  • written in Ruby
  • will be released shortly


  • written in Python using pygame
  • open source, GPL
  • team based, strategy game

Google Wave Bots

  • Wikifiy
  • Piratify
  • Flippy

Barcamp Brisbane IV Wrapup

Barcamp BrisbaneLast weekend I got along to Barcamp Brisbane IV (held at the East Brisbane Bowls Club), and once again it was a worthwhile meetup of locals willing to share their skills with others.

From the lightning talks that I attended:

Speed Networking

One minute to introduce yourself to someone you don’t know. Worked well, although I knew more people this time around (after last BarCamp and other meetups).

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Michael Smale led this discussion on SEO (unfortunately it started a little late and lost a bunch of attendees, including myself, at the end due to a Google Wave presentation following it!). My notes from the session:

  • SEO is optimising for Google (& Yahoo!)
  • 9 out of 10 people search for content, very few click the sponsored search
  • keywords – on page (to help Google index) and off page
  • stem analysis – trunk and branches (eg. golf and balls, clubs, shoes) then leaves (buy golf shoes and Brisbane) – before SEO, find out what target audience is looking for
  • tools to analyse keywords – Google Adwords Keyword Tool (slightly out of date, monthly), worldwide but narrowed down to regions
  • to know backlinks, etc – Traffic Travis, Market Samurai (free and paid version)
  • not your trunk and branches, but for your leaves you may want to buy keywords, you can optimise different landing pages (separate URL but not a duplicate of pages as Google will drop prioritisation)
  • car rental very competitive for SEO
  • Google Trends for search – can see if things are trending up and down or compare
  • on page optimisation – Firebug for Firefox – drill down and inspect code, JavaScript debugger
  • YSlow – tell you how page is loaded and report on how to optimise page loading
  • each page needs to be optimised with its own title – what’s in the title is what the link on Google says
  • meta description after link is the blurb on Google – not visible to users on site, Firebug will help you see competitors meta tags are, but will not get you up in the ranking
  • meta keywords – does not mean anything anymore
  • care about content on site using LSI (Latent Semantic Index)
  • link text important, add href no follow so Google will ignore

Google Wave

Paul O’Keeffe and Steve Dalton led a live demonstration of Google Wave.

  • collaborative tool, still in preview, crashes, interface still weak
  • proliferated from developers in Google sandpit, only give 8 invites to each user
  • a wave is a single collaboration / conversation
  • has Gmail feel, add and save searches, folders, etc…
  • have a wave inbox
  • with:public – see any waves that are public
  • search with:public gardening
  • new wave by default is not public, add public@a.gwave.com
  • to start, drag contact in, give wave a name
  • drag and drop seems to depend on Google Gears, works out of box with Chrome
  • bots and plugins eg. pirate speak or add a Google Map / Twitter in
  • open source version of Chrome – Chromium
  • Sweepy bot – remove the empty conversations
  • can mute conversation and replay, has version control so you can see how it was and then fork it off

Business Structures

Malcolm Burrows from Rostron Caryle gave this presentation. I hope the slides are made available, as this was a large topic for a 20 minute slot. These are my notes but should not be relied upon an advice or for accuracy!

  • sole trader – liable for own debts, etc, house on the line, no protection freom risks, okay if you have little risk
  • partnership – not sure why anybody would do this now, agreement and governed by those terms, in Queensland partners are liable for acts of the other, everything has to be tailored, risks
  • company structure Pty Ltd – level of risk reduction such as corporate veil, shareholders only liable for the capital put in as long as you don’t do stupid stuff like trading insolvent, as directors do not profit from position of power, need to disclose, 12/20 rule can’t make more than 20 offers in 12 month period, no more than 50 shareholders, replaceable rules (eg. regulate by ASIC or regulate yourself in your constitution)
  • company structures – Limited – Public – all of baggage of public company without the good stuff, horrible!
  • trust – discretionary and unit
  • joint ventures – used a lot in mining, in IT where people agree to do stuff, like a trust is a feature of contract, rights of joint ventures can get very long
  • income distribution structure and IP protection structures
  • options for IP – spin out trading company, spin out company owned by trusts, spin out company licences another

Smile! Say Cheese!

DJ Paine from Studio Promise dropped by, and offered attendees a free portrait, which I certainly took advantage of. Just wished I had of known, and I would have had a shave and worn a nicer shirt!

All of the shots from the day are here and if you need professional photography, support those that support BarCamp!

Symphony – Open Source Content Management

Allen Chang and Alisair Kearney led this session on Symphony:

  • originally called TypeWorks
  • 2.0.6 out now, 2.1 on the way
  • uses XML as data format, output format standards compliant
  • Drupal and Joomla! cores are huge, they wanted a small footprint and control over data structure
  • use XSLT to transform XML to any format you like (eg. HTML, CSV, JSON, etc..)
  • native intergration REST API for Twitter, RSS, etc…)
  • uses open standard templating language, as per all CMS systems
  • a number of data sources for which you can apply rules
  • around 8,000 members, 10% of these contribute
  • users include Australian Museum of Democracy, Heineken and City of Westminster (London) amongst many others
  • ensemble – fully functional website package, Symphony itself is an ensemble

Agile Overview – The Three T’s

It occurred to me in the speed networking session that a number of attendees did not know what this agile hype was about, so I decided to on short notice to propose the talk I gave at Agile Australia 2009 to try and give that overview. Not sure if I succeeded, but got some questions afterwards nonetheless.

Had to laugh at one of the tweets from @funkygorilla (Simon Griffiths): “Agile web development in a 10 min presentation. That’s agile!”

Overview of Agile 2009 / Agile Australia 2009 / AAFTT Workshop

A couple of people decided they wanted to chat about some of the learnings and trends from the conferences I had recently, so a couple of us sat around and chatted about agile testing mainly.

New Hotness

Greg Luck led this discussion as he mentioned to me he came to Barcamp to hear about the new hotness. He has written the notes, but here were the notes I was taking at the discussion:


Paul and Steve reminded everybody about the Queensland Legion of Tech and Greg Luck announced the inaugural Brisbane Jelly (adhoc working together at a location)