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Spikey hair and Spikey events - Shazam’s Tech Evangelist Colin Vipurs goes under the hood

If you were at JAX London last week you may have seen or met a guy strutting about sporting a pink mohawk.  That guy was Tech Evangelist for Shazam and all round nice punk (!) Colin Vipurs.

Yesterday Colin featured in an interesting blog post from the people at RecWorks (yep, them ones that help power the LJC).

'Java Development at Shazam Under the Hood' is a good post and refreshing to see a recruiting company actually focus on what life at a company is all about.  

There’s a fresh perspective here.  Barry Cranford of RecWorks comments in the post that some devs have this misconception that ‘all the interesting work is done in boring companies’.  Vipurs paints a picture of Shazam that is anything but boring, a place where they don’t do things the traditional way, a place where it seems there is an ethos of innovation through inidivdual and team empowerment.  He goes through the ins and outs that the dev team use when approaching ‘spikey’ events such as bottleneck traffic and data efficiency, whilst stressing that it’s not all about being cutting edge,  sometimes simplicity is enough.

A nice piece we thought we’d share - enjoy!


No pain, all gain at JAX London’s free community events - Have you registered?

Whether you are attending this year’s JAX London or cannot make it for the full conference we wanted to make you aware of the great free-to-attend evening activities taking

So even if you can’t make the main event but are in London on 28th or 29th October, check out the night time activities you can take in.
BIRT ‘n’ Beer night @ JAX London

Eclipse OS BIRT Project founders Actuate will join forces with JAX London on Monday 28th October to offer developers a free tour of BIRT.  Meet Actuate’s BI experts, who will deliver complimentary training with a cold beer and slice of pizza to help digest it all. Not only that but there are Raspberry Pis on offer for 10 of the registered attendees.  Places are limited though, so get in there now.

                        REGISTER HERE TO BOOK YOUR PLACE


  • Complimentary training on how to get started with BIRT
  • An understanding of the dynamic capabilities of BIRT, HTML5, Flash and Interactive Viewer to deliver exciting, interactive content
  • Raspberry Pis on offer for 10 of the registered attendees.
  • Prize draw: 1 BIRT - A Field Guide the eclipse series
  • FREE software evaluation licenses 
  • Access to BIRT Exchange Marketplace apps
JAX London 2013 Community Night
The JAX London Community Night will be a food, drink and code fuelled ‘taster’ of the main conference, in conjunction with UK user groups and sponsors. If you are attending the main conference you are automatically registered and this is a great way to meet the communities helping the Java ecosystem thrive, if you aren’t registered for JAX London but want to attend the Community Night on Tuesday 29th October, sign up now.



The JAX London Team


JAX London’s FREE Community Night | Tuesday 29th October - Beer, Code, Labs and Talks!


The JAX London Community Night is a beer, wine and code fuelled ‘taster’ of the main conference, in conjunction with UK user groups and sponsors.  If you don’t have the time to attend the full conference or can’t get a ticket, come on down to community night on Tuesday 29th October for an evening packed with activities.

You’ll get a flavour of the main event and the chance to meet up with other coders from UK, European and Worldwide Java, JVM and Big Data development scenes.


JAX London Community Night Schedule

6pm : Doors 

6pm - 7pm : Drinks

7pm : Sessions and hands-on coding

Special thanks to Community Night sponsors Actuate and Oracle. 

JAX Community Night activities

London Java Community Meetup

The LJC will host an evening of talks from some of the JAX London speakers as part of the conferences Community Night. Described as a beer, wine and code fuelled ‘taster’ of the main conference, the community night brings various user groups together and gives us a chance to hear from people not regularly on these shores.

We have 3 talks running:

Building Reactive applications for Java developers - Jamie Allen

Typesafe Director of Consulting and JAX London keynote presenter, Jamie Allen, jets in from Silicon Valley and talks about building reactive applications for Java developers, and how to do that with the Typesafe stack.  He will also compare and contrast how that is done with Java versus Scala.  

Confessions of a Startup CTO – Ted Neward

In this session, Seattle-based recent CTO and co-founder Ted Neward will talk about “making the jump” into the startup/entrepreneur world and the lessons he’s learned (and continues to learn) thus far about making that leap. He’ll cover the technical decisions and decision-making process, and how that relates (or doesn’t) back to the world he came from—enterprise business applications. Even if you’ve never thought about getting into a startup, come on by for a discussion of the “modern web app” architecture, what he’s discovered along the way that relates purely on an architectural level, and how some of the new “startup literature” can apply equally well to in-house enterprise applications.

Little words of wisdom for the developer – Guillaume Laforge

Through some famous quotes and pictures that will make you think, Guillaume Laforge, Head of Groovy Development for SpringSource, will illustrate some simple principles that he has followed on the projects he’s worked on, and walk through the lessons he’s learned throughout the journey. Guillaume is the official Groovy Project Manager, and the spec lead of JSR-241, the JSR that standardizes the Groovy dynamic language. He also initiated the creation of the Grails web application framework, and founded the Gaelyk project, a lightweight toolkit for developing applications in Groovy for Google App Engine. 

Google Dart Code Lab with Chris Buckett

In this self-paced, hands-on codelab, you’ll learn how to build a simple single-page app for desktop and mobile browsers using Dart.  Along the way, you’ll learn some of the Dart language and its libraries, create web components, perform client-side templating, use declarative dynamic DOM generation, bind data models to the UI, store data locally in your browser and optimize the app for mobile devices.  You should come along with some familiarity with HTML and CSS and object-orientated programming, but you don’t need to be an expert in web programming to enjoy this codelab.  You’ll also need a computer running Windows (Vista, 7, 8), Linux or Mac to run the Dart Editor.

Big Data Meet-up

On hand will be a plethora of experts from the UK Big Data scene, with a program of short presentations and the chance to offer up your own lightning talks.  Full line-up details coming soon………

Glassfish User Group - Code-driven introduction to Java EE 7, with Arun Gupta

The Java EE 7 platform focuses on Boosting Productivity and Embracing HTML5. JAX-RS 2 adds a new Client API to invoke the RESTful endpoints. JMS 2 introduces a new simplified API to align with improvements in the Java language. Long awaited Batch Processing API and Concurrency Utilities are now part of platform offering richer functionality. A new API to build WebSocket driven applications and JSON parsing and generation is now included in the platform. JavaServer Faces has added support for HTML5 forms. Several other improvements are available in this latest version of the platform. Together these APIs will allow you to be more productive by simplifying enterprise development. This session will provide an introduction to the Java EE 7 platform. The attendees will learn the design patterns of building an application using Java EE 7.

London GlassFish User Group (GUG) aims to distribute GlassFish related knowledge and provide a meeting place for GlassFish users to get information, share resources, expand GlassFish Technology expertise, and above all - drink beer, eat pizza and have fun. GUG is organised and sponsored by C2B2 Consulting- The leading Independent Middleware Experts.

Don’t miss out. Sign up now for free!

3 weeks to go! JAX London calling all devs!

Your apps are healthy, your boss is reasonably happy (just the one rant a day), and building that platform is less of a faraway dream - in short, things are pretty good.

But there’s always new stuff to know and new tools to start playing with. And your angry nerds T-shirt has faded, and you haven’t had any decent conference swag for months. Time to swap your four morning Red Bulls for some delicious conference coffee down at JAX London!

This year’s JAX London event is shaping up to be the best yet, and that’s not just hyperbole. As well as the usual outstanding mix of Java and JVM topics that typifies JAX London, we’re pleased to announce the return of Big Data Con, which will be offering up a mass of insights and best practice.

In all, there are more than 70 sessions, keynotes and workshops to choose from. There’s just too much to list in this email, so head on over to the website and check out the schedule of content and speakers on this year’s program.

  • Meet with speakers and experts from the Java & Big Data ecosystems
  • Keynotes presentations from Dwight Merriman, James Governor & Jamie Allen
  • 70 + sessions, workshops & keynotes to choose from
  • Take the chance to discuss your own projects
  • Evaluate current & future challenges
  • Network with friends and meet new people
  • Enjoy Community Night – code lab, hacks, social events and a coming together of user groups

See you there! 


Free BIRT Training - BIRT ‘n’ Beer @ JAX London 2013 

*Just confirmed*

JAX London will host a special evening dedicated to learning about all things BIRT, with a spattering of Beer and Pizza thrown in to help digest it all.

This free evening event runs on Monday 28th October and will help you overcome things like the dreaded app report your boss always demands.

You know the score. You’ve spent an age structuring and processing your data, but somehow the result is a sorry looking table or maybe even just a list. It just doesn’t do justice to all your hard work. In fact, just the thought of presenting flushes your face with a tinge of embarrassment.…

So enter BIRT, part of Eclipse OS BIRT project. Grab a beer and a slice of pizza, on us whilst learning how to make your reports stand out from the rest with top BI experts Pierre Richer and John Riglar of Actuate.

Join us for BIRT ‘n’ Beer @ JAX London for an evening, including:

  • 3 in-depth presentations
  • An understanding of the dynamic capabilities of BIRT, HTML5, Flash and Interactive Viewer to deliver exciting, interactive content
  • Raspberry Pi giveaways
  • FREE software evaluation licenses
  • Access to BIRT Exchange Marketplace apps

Check out the schedule and sign up here. Places are limited so we’d suggest early registration to avoid disappointment.

We look forward to seeing you!

Evolving database access for new programming models


ORMs have been accepted as the standard solution for database access in the Java enterprise world for a long time. Like other patterns in Java enterprise programming they are based on a traditional model of object-oriented programming with object identity, mutable state, behavior and encapsulation. In practice, this leads to two problems:

This programming model is inherently imperative, unlike the declarative languages used for database access which describe the constraints on the data that should be queried but leave the execution strategy up to the database engine. It is practically impossible to predict the data access patterns in an imperative, mutable-state-based application in an automated way so that a minimum number of efficient database queries could be generated, thus leading to the biggest part of the well-known “impedance mismatch” of ORMs. The usual work-around consists of annotating the data model with hints for fetching certain data, or writing performance-critical queries explicitly, thus foregoing the convenience of the imperative data mapping.

In recent years, however, the traditional object-oriented programming model itself has come under attack. As CPUs are gaining more and more cores and the performance of the individual cores is not increasing by much, multi-threaded programming has become a requirement for scalable applications but this is very difficult to do in imperative programming with mutable state.

The solution has been known for a long time: functional programming. Taken to its extremes, it completely eschews mutable state, object identity and eager evaluation. Much like in a database query language, you only state what data you need, but not when or in what order it should be computed. A more pragmatic solution is provided by languages like Scala which gives you the power of abstraction from both object-oriented and functional programming and avoids mutable state in many cases but still allows you to use it when you want.

This new approach to programming also requires a new way of thinking about database access. Instead of object-relational mapping we need something akin to functional-relational mapping that allows us to compose database queries the same way we can compose functions, and then materialize the data in the form of immutable objects in the application. This is the approach taken by Slick, Typesafe’s database library for Scala, which treats database tables like Scala collections and compiles queries to a single SQL statement. This is only possible by using a host language as powerful as Scala which is well suited to building expressive DSLs that can be verified at type-checking time.

Stefan Zeiger is a Senior Software Engineer at Typesafe and the tech lead for Slick, the Scala database library

Neal Ford Interview: ‘The future of the JVM is polyglot’

Can you sum up your JAX London session and workshops in 140 characters?

Continuous Delivery defines principles & technical practices enabling rapid,incremental delivery of high quality, valuable new functionality

Why is the theme of your session important to developers right now? What issues does it tackle?

All software must go to production eventually, and it’s the most painful part of the process in many organizations. Continuous Delivery provides practices, techniques, and tools to ease the pain of deployment.

What are you most looking forward to at JAX London?

London restaurants!

How did you get into coding and how old were you when you first started?

I was in high school and worked at Radio Shack as my summer job, and learned BASIC on the TRS/80 because I had computers sitting around me.

Which area, or specific projects, within the industry are catching your eye at the moment?

Functional programming generally and Clojure specifically – it’s the most elegant new language to come along in a decade.

What does the future hold for Java and the JVM? 

The future of the JVM is polyglot – there is no one true language to solve every problem. Instead, we’re going to get better at integrating language strengths within the same JVM.

What’s the soundtrack to your work?

Often, Philip Glass’ Einstein on the Beachor some other minimalist work. I find that it fits the cadence of programming nicely.

And finally, would you rather fight one horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses? Explain your reasoning.

N/A - I never pick fights with either ducks or horses regardless of size or demeanor.

Neal Ford is Director, Software Architect, and Meme Wrangler at ThoughtWorks, a global IT consultancy with an exclusive focus on end-to-end software development and delivery. He is also the designer and developer of applications, magazine articles, video/DVD presentations, and author and/or editor of eight books spanning a variety of subjects and technologies, including the most recent Presentation Patterns. He focuses on designing and building of large-scale enterprise applications. He is also an internationally acclaimed speaker, speaking at over 300 developer conferences worldwide, delivering more than 2000 presentations. Check out his web site at He welcomes feedback and can be reached at  

'Produce awesome software at a rapid pace, it's not a myth!'

Firstly lets start with the technical session, “Practical Garbage Collection tuning for the Hotspot JVM”. At this point even many hard core Java developers are running for the hills as fast as possible. Well, run no further! This is a really important topic for Java/JVM developers of any experience level, and it’s actually *fun* to do as well.

A common production problem that Java/JVM developers are facing to today is that their applications are freezing/pausing unexpectedly and/or dying from memory leaks. These issues have become more common place because Java/JVM applications are getting much larger in terms of their memory requirements (“Heap size”). Unfortunately, this means that the Hotspot Garbage Collector algorithms have to check more live objects as well as  pausing larger numbers of application threads.

This talk will help you dive into Hotspot’s Garbage Collection sub system learn to tune common performance issues to stop your applications from pausing, falling over and doing other strange things!

Habits of Highly Effective Teams" is a methodology talk that will give you the questions/ammunition/techniques you can apply to *your* team(s). For years, existing traditional and agile methodologies have tried to dictate how a highly effective team should behave. The reality is that they all behave very differently!

This talk will cover the core habits that world class teams exhibit, as well as anti-patterns that dog poorly performing teams. You spend most of your days at work - why not make them enjoyable ones? You and your colleagues can to produce awesome software at a rapid pace, it’s not a myth!

Martijn Verburg (CTO - jClarity) has over 10 years experience as a technology professional and OSS mentor in a variety of environments from start-ups to large enterprises. He is the co-leader of the London Java User Group (LJC), and leads the global effort of JUG members who contribute to JSRs and the OpenJDK. Martijn’s first book “The Well-Grounded Java Developer” with Ben Evans is being published by Manning. As a leading expert on technical team optimisation, his talks and presentations are in high demand by major conferences (JavaOne, Devoxx, JAX etc) where he’s known for challenging the industry status quo as the “Diabolical Developer”.

James Gough JAX Interview - ‘Java 8 is going to be the biggest change in Java for years’

Can you sum up your JAX London session in 140 characters?

The session will explore one approach to TDD, breaking down problems, how mocking comes into the process and what benefits there are.

Why is the theme of your session important to developers right now? What issues does it tackle?

TDD is a well known methodology, yet many people get put off by the test element or have not had time to demystify what advantages can really be gained. It often goes on the CV and not much more thought is put into it. The session is important to people looking to find out more in a condensed session from someone who this time last year did not practice TDD and find out practical advice on how to get started and decide if it is for them. The session is aimed to present facts and experiences so the audience can form their own opinion.

What are you most looking forward to at JAX London?

The community night. The community night was one of the best events at JAX last year bringing in everyone from the community for keynotes and networking. As I am no longer based in London it’s also always a great opportunity to catch up with some of the key members of the London Java Community.

How did you get into coding and how old were you when you first started?

I was 6 years old when I first used an introduction to Commodore 64 programming book to write a program to play a tune on the computer. After writing a few small programs I properly got into Objected Oriented programming at 16, writing Sweet Child of Mine in Pascal to be played on the sound card.

Which area, or specific projects, within the industry are catching your eye at the moment?

Adopt-a-JSR is a project that is close to my heart. After working on the original prototype project which helped defined the global program today is something I am very proud of and it’s amazing to see the diversity and number of people getting involved in driving Java forwards.

What does the future hold for Java and the JVM?

Java 8 is going to be the biggest change in Java for years, and it will be interesting to see how people react to moving to Java 8 and what the introduction of Lambdas, Java Date Time API and other features bring. For the JVM, it’s interesting to see how many languages have risen over the last 5 years - will these become stronger and have wider adoption or will some be lost at the introduction of Java 8? Timing is everything, as to how things will fall or rise - it will be interesting to see.

What’s the soundtrack to your work?

Currently it’s a bit like Iron Man 2, AC/DC on random.

And finally, would you rather fight one horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses? Explain your reasoning.

Probably 100 duck sized horses, better to break the problem down after all. But I’d have to write a test and get back to you on that :-).

James (Jim) Gough graduated Warwick University in 2007 with a keen interest in building communities and a passion for technology, Java in particular. After moving to London he became member of the London Java Community (LJC). He sits on both the Associates group and the Java Community Process group within the LJC. His recent focus has been on JSR-310 and Adopt a JSR to help target a release of the reference implementation in Java 8. Jim’s involvement began as a lightning talk, but has since grown to helping build the TCK and discussing critical design decisions for the new library. Jim is an expert in Java development in investment banks, and has worked for two of the largest global investment banks. Jim works closely with newer members of the community and is a mentor to new professionals and takes part in the Meet a Mentor program with the London Graduate Community. In the last year Jim has spoken at Java One, JAX London, LJC Open Conference and Open Crete on a variety of issues and technologies impacting developers on a day-to-day basis.

Brent Beer is here to ‘blow people’s minds’ about the enterprise world

The enterprise world isn’t likely going to go away. However, that doesn’t mean that people shouldn’t be able to have the flexibility of working. When most people think of enterprise they probably think of cubicles, isolation, clear focused job, and repetitiveness. I’d love if it if I could blow people’s minds about this frame of thinking.
If people were able to collaborate and communicate to each other through the power of GitHub and general open source practices, they’d have a less boring job, and people would also just have a less glum outlook on the enterprise world. I know when I was leaving university, I was struggling with two paths: Enterprise World or Startup World. One of these screamed security but boring, the other was about using cool new technology and also ran the risk of putting me out of work very fast. I’m young so I chose Startups, and I don’t regret it.
However, if enterprise companies were able to let me know of the type of work that occurred with in their company, of the workflows and philosophies they practiced, and the general day to day communications between developers, I may have been convinced to try it out.
This talk is important for both people looking for new jobs and in the same situation I was in, as well as enterprise developers wishing for a different and better way of working within their company and some clear steps on how to reach those goals.

Brent has been a passionate user of Git and GitHub for a number of years beginning in university where he constantly tried to adopt the way students collaborated. After graduation, Brent moved out to work in San Francisco to work as a web developer and later became a member of the GitHub:Training team.

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