Sunday, 24 November 2013

The LJC Open Conference 2013

Yesterday I attended my 5th LJC open conference, and as always it is one of my favourite times in the year. Most of the major conferences have been and gone and people are winding down ready for Christmas. However, the combined knowledge and enthusiasm of the community doesn’t reflect this slower time of year. 

This year I got a lot more involved with helping in set up and planning board activities, as well as giving a talk on TDD primer. The session board looked like this first thing in the morning:

There are roughly 5 streams of topics at the conference, what interested me was the focus on development of people skills and testing of code - there was definitely a strong feel of craftsmanship in the air. 
  • Core Java
  • Java EE/Application Servers
  • Testing tools and processes
  • Community and soft-skills
  • Workshops
The slides I gave for my talk are below, it's based on a longer talk I gave at JAX London. The idea was to give people who haven't tried Test Driven Development before some guidance in getting started and what some of the pitfalls can be. Sadly I had a Mavericks and projector based issue, which meant I lost about 10 minutes of the talk. However, the show must go on so I covered the first slides without a project whilst the hero of the day John Stevenson fixed the projector. Minstrels will write songs about this day...

Test Driven Development Primer LJC Open Conference from jpgough

I got some good feedback on the talk - I need to refactor the examples in the slides a fair bit, this will be done when I put the information I presented at JAX into a blog series.

I also went to a talk on testing with Spock. It's not usually something I'd be particularly interested with it not being core Java, however it was interesting to see a different take on testing. I quite liked the way you can be verbose in your tests and get a lot of boilerplate you require in JUnit for free. The final talk I went to was on progressing your career without losing technical focus. A lot of people looking for mentorship and guidance at a senior level on how to remain technical. It was a good session, but only touched on a few issues in the time - it looks like something that could be run as a bigger round table.

It was great to catch up with old friends and people I've worked with in the community over the years, especially now I am not in London as often. It's also helped me start to focus on my own learning plan for next year. It's always a motivating weekend and if you didn't get chance to go this year I can't recommend it enough. As always thanks to the sponsors IBM for a great venue and beer from Zero Turnaround and some dodgy car salesman Simon Maple for organising the event.

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