Monday, 30 September 2013

Norfolk Developer's Conference (NorDevCon) 2014

Naked Element Ltd. is proud to present NorDevCon, the Norfolk Developers one day Agile and tech conference. The conference will take place on Friday 28th February 2014 at the Kings Centre in Norwich. Building on the hugely successful Agile and technical tracks from this year’s SyncConf, NorDevCon will also feature a cloud and big data track, a workshop track and a combined local speaker and SyncDevelopHER (bringing together women in IT) track. The hugely successful conference dinner will be back as well as a reception hosted by Virgin Wines.

To be kept up-to-date with NorDevCon, please join the mailing list and follow the conference on twitter: @nordevcon

The Speakers

NorDevCon has a fantastic speaker line up in 2014. Some of the most popular speakers from this year's SyncConf will be returning along with plenty of new speakers from around the country and from the local area. We're still working on the opening keynote speaker and hoping to secure a popular figure from the software craftsmanship community.

Nat Pryce and Steve Freeman, the authors of Growing Object Oriented Software Guided by Tests, will be closing the conference. Their book took the software community by storm with it’s outside in approach to automated testing.

After speaking at SyncConf, Kevlin Henney, Phil Nash, Ian Robinson (Neo Technology) and Norwich favorite Liz Keogh will all be returning to Norwich for NorDevCon. Local speakers include Danielle Ashley, Dom Davis (Virgin Wines), Janet Randall (Aviva) and Pete Roome (ex Pandr).

The workshop track will see the return to Norwich of Jon Jagger's CyberDojo, an F# workshop from recent Norfolk Developers speaker Phil Trelford (Trayport), who will also be doing a presentation session on F#, and Russel Winder who will be providing hands on experience of the Spock testing framework.

Chris O'Dell (7digital) will be speaking about continuous delivery, Anthony Saxby (Microsoft) will be speaking in the new cloud & big data track, Rachel Davies (Unruly Media) will be returning to Norwich to tell us about Agile at Unruly Media and Jon Skeet (Google) will be speaking about C#.

More speakers will be announced as they are confirmed.

The Venue

The King’s Centre is a high quality conference venue in the centre of Norwich with 14 different rooms to suit individual requirements. The centre offers conference rooms, meeting rooms, breakout rooms and a 650 seater auditorium.

The Conference Dinner

The conference dinner will be held at the venue in the evening following the conference. In this unique experience the speakers remain seated while the conference attendees move round between courses. This is your opportunity to speak to your favorite speakers of the day. The price includes three courses and two glasses of wine per person. There will also be a bar.

Last year the conference dinner was one of the highlights of the conference and sold out! Please make sure you purchase your dinner ticket at the same time as your conference ticket.

The Virgin Wines Reception

Virgin Wines will be hosting a reception at the venue between the end of the conference and the start of the conference dinner. As well as a glass of wine courtesy of Virgin Wines there will also be a bar. Places are limited so please make sure you get your free Virgin Wines reception ticket at the same time as your conference ticket.


Once again we are getting a lot of support from technical organisations in the form of sponsorship. Confirmed sponsors for NorDevCon include:

Virgin Wines
Neo Technology
Norfolk Tech Journal

There are currently still some sponsorship packages available:

Associate £250

  • Logo on slide and mention during intro
  • Tweets & Mentions from @NorDevCon and @NorfolkDev
  • Logo on website

Partner £1500

  • Logo on slide and mention during intro
  • Tweets & Mentions from @NorDevCon and @NorfolkDev
  • Logo on website
  • Banner
  • Exhibit

Elite £3000

  • Logo on slide and mention during intro
  • Tweets & Mentions from @NorDevCon and @NorfolkDev
  • Logo on website
  • Banner
  • Exhibit
  • Speaking Slot (to all conference attendees)

If you are interested in sponsoring NorDevCon, please email

Norfolk Developers

We are very lucky in Norwich to have a thriving and highly active tech community.

Complementing the existing tech community, Norfolk Developers is peeling back the high level and going straight to the heart of software development practices and processes. It has already brought a number of national and international speakers to Norwich and there are plans for local speakers and workshops in the near future.

You might want to try something new or wish to take your software development up to the next level. Norfolk Developers is jumping depth-first into the detail and bringing you practical value. We make it easy for you to access knowledge, progress and prosper in the highly specialised and valuable field of software engineering.

Norfolk Developers was founded by Paul Grenyer (Director at Naked Element Ltd, SyncNorwich co-founder and Norfolk Tech Journal founder), Dom Davis (lead developer at Virgin Wines) and Ben Taylor (CEO at Rainbird Technologies Ltd.). Meetups usually take place on the first Wednesday of the month and are usually held in the offices of sponsors Virgin Wines. Each meetup boasts two 60 minute presentations.

Naked Element Ltd.

Naked Element Ltd. is a made to measure software development services provider. Whether you need complex, enterprise-level software integrations, a made to measure web application or a mobile app, we have the experience and skills to meet your needs.

We work with clients at all organisational levels, to advise on strategies and to implement solutions.

NorDevCon promises to be even bigger and better than this year's SyncConf. I hope you’re looking forward to it as much as we are! Tickets go on sale on the 1st of November 2013 here.

Twitter: @nordevcon
Mailing list:

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Andy Parsons

I first heard of Andy Parsons when he was on Radio 2 in the early naughties with Parsons and Naylor’s Pull-out Section. That’s also where I first encountered the marvelous Lucy Porter. I have of course since seen him on Mock the Week, etc. and he’s a very funny guy.

Tonight at the Playhouse in Norwich, Andy Parsons had the whole audience laughing from beginning to end. I really like the fact that at the moment most comedians seem to be out on the road on their own. This means you get two halves with the same comedian and don’t have to suffer some unknown before getting to a set that isn’t long enough from the main act after the interval. It also appears to be the done thing for comedians to do their own intro from off stage as well. This feels rather narcissistic to me, but is often very funny.

Observational humour is so much better when you can relate to it and Andy Parsons described much that I could relate to. He’s more than just an unusual voice. I have often been frustrated by so called security measures when phoning banks, especially if they’ve called me! And I recently had a trip to the doctors where he told me plenty I didn’t want to hear. I wish I had a quiet place where I could hide, like Andy does. The only criticism I have of Andy Parsons is that he uses the F word far too often (which at least one friend of mine has said is a bit rich coming from me). There was of course the obligatory single use of the C word as well and he did a joke about car number plates that was identical to part of Lucy Porter’s set the week before.

When Andy Parsons comes back to Norwich, I think we’ll be back to see him.

NorDevCon 2014: Call for Papers

Conference: 28 February 2014
Submission Deadline: 1st November 2013
Where: The King's Centre, King Street, Norwich, NR1 1PH
If you would like to be kept up-to-date about NorDevCon, please join our email list here and follow the conference on twitter here.

Call for Papers & Speakers

Naked Element Ltd. is proud to present NorDevCon, the Norfolk Developers Agile and tech conference in the heart of Norfolk.
NorDevCon will take place on Friday 28th February 2014 at the Kings Centre in Norwich. Building on the hugely successful Agile and technical tracks from last year’s SyncConf, NorDevCon will also feature a cloud and big data track, a workshop track and a combined local speaker and a SyncDevelopHER track.
We are looking for submissions for the local speaker, SyncDevelopHER and cloud & big data tracks,
Submissions should be made by the 1st November 2013 to and include the following information:
Session title
Session description (max 500 words)
Speaker name
Speaker email address
Speaker profile (max 500 words)
Indication of whether you are happy to have your session filmed
Indication of whether you are able to attend the speakers dinner
If your submission is accepted you will be notified by the 1st of December 2013. Having a session accepted entitles the speaker to free entry to the conference and, if appropriate, free travel to the conference and one night’s accommodation booked by us. It is also expected that you will attend the conference dinner in the evening, which will also be free to speakers.
We hope to have as many sessions as possible filmed and published freely on the web. Please let us know if you do not want to have your session filmed.


For the local speaker track we welcome submissions on any topic related to software development or Agile. To qualify for the local speaker track you must be working and preferably living in or around Norwich. This track is intended to help local developers and agilists take their first steps into speaking. If you haven’t tried it before submit a session and come and give it a go. The room used for the local speakers track holds about 30.
For the cloud & big data track we’re looking for technical sessions on the topic of cloud & big data. It’s as simple as that.
For the SyncDevelopHER track we are looking for speakers who are passionate about getting more women into technology and who would be willing to share their views on the topic and how they feel their gender has affected them within their own career to date and what they think the future should hold, how can we solve the current issues? Is education to blame? Or society?  Alternatively if you are a woman working in technology we'd love you to come and speak about any tech related topic. Being one of the smaller tracks of the day it would be ideal for anyone new to speaking.

Type of Sessions

All available sessions are 45 minutes long and are best suited to a presentation with slides.
All sessions must be entirely technical in nature. Any session that appears to be a sales pitch will not be accepted.


NorDevCon has a maximum capacity of 500 delegates. We expect to attract predominantly developers, but you should also expect to find entrepreneurs, managers, testers, enthusiasts and all sorts of other people, even agents!

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Lucy Porter Northern Soul

Lucy Porter touched my bottom!! Ok, so it’s not because she fancied me and I really must stop pretending that it was. It was because I hugged her and she’s a little bit shorter than me and I’m sure it was unintentional. Still, I can dream….

Lucy Porter is by far my favorite comedian. I’ve seen her a few times before and I was thrilled to meet her on this occasion and to tell her my story. We were quite early and she’d only just arrived at the venue. I’d seen Lucy at the Norwich Arts Centre in 2005 and part of her act then was complaining she was single. I am sure had I not gone with a friend of mine that I really fancied at the time I would have asked her to marry me! Lucy laughed, smiled and asked Charlotte how long we’d been married when I told her. Lucy was lovely and I really appreciated her taking the time to stop and talk to us.

When I meet celebrities (don’t get me wrong it doesn’t happen very often and please don’t ask me about the time I met Joe Elliott from Def Leppard) afterwards I get quite shy and start feeling they must think I’m a stalker! To avoid this as much as possible we sat in the second row. Until someone from the venue came and asked us, and the people next to us, to sit in the front row. Luckily Lucy decided to pick on the guy behind us with a beard! Although that may of been because she thought I was a stalker!

Lucy’s show was of course brilliant. For me at least it was all new material, except for the hen and stag party joke she does. There was nothing about Mother Teresa moisturising this time! It was interesting to hear how she’d got herself into trouble with the people of Derby! Sadly I suspect the threats to move to Norwich were just that. There were two halves and all too soon it was over and we were heading off back into the cold and rain. I’ll certainly be making the effort to see her next time in Norwich and maybe one day I’ll get to Edinburgh.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

SyncNorwich passes the February Tech & Agile conference baton to Norfolk Developers

Anyone who attended this year’s SyncConf, presented by SyncNorwich on 15th of February at the Open Venue will know just how successful the conference was and just how important it is that it continues year after year.

SyncNorwich is passing the February Tech & Agile conference baton to Norfolk Developers, the new tech group in Norwich for developers, created by Paul Grenyer, Dom Davis and Ben Taylor. The February conference will be known as Norfolk Developers Conference or NorDevCon for short.

NorDevCon will take place on Friday 28th February 2014 at the Kings Centre in Norwich. Building on the hugely successful Agile and technical tracks from last year’s SyncConf, NorDevCon will also feature an infrastructure track, a workshop track and a combined local speaker and equality in IT track.

You can follow NorDevCon on twitter, @nordevcon and the web site is If you attended this year’s SyncConf you will automatically be included on the mailing list for NorDevCon, so you won’t miss any of the announcements or the chance to get super early bird tickets. If you didn’t attend, you can join the NorDevCon mailing list below.

NorDevCon promises to be even bigger and better than this year's SyncConf. I hope you’re looking forward to it as much as I am!

Subscribe to the NorDevCon mailing list

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Continuous Integration 101 (Express) come to Norwich

What: Continuous Integration 101 (Express)

When: Wednesday, 18th September 2013, 8pm to 10pm

Where: The Reindeer, 10 Dereham Road, Norwich, NR2 4AY


On Thursday 26th September I will be presenting Continuous Integration 101 (Express) at Agile Cambridge. As a warm up I will also be presenting it for Norfolk Developers. The details are below. Please come prepared. 

Continuous Integration 101

Continuous Integration is a software development practice where members of a team integrate their work frequently, usually each person integrates at least daily - leading to multiple integrations per day. Each integration is verified by an automated build (including test) to detect integration errors as quickly as possible. Many teams find that this approach leads to significantly reduced integration problems and allows a team to develop cohesive software more rapidly. (Martin Fowler)


Continuous Integration 101 Express is a foundation continuous integration course for Java developers. It is a practical course that can be completed within one to two in most cases. After completing the course you will:

  • Understand what continuous integration is and why it is so important 
  • Be able to create Java projects and build them with Ant and/or Maven so that they can be run by Jenkins. 
  • Be able to create continuous integration jobs with Jenkins

If there is time you will also:

  • Be able to notify developers of changes to the build status 
  • Be able to monitor code quality with Sonar

Who should take Continuous Integration 101?

Anyone with a working knowledge of Java who would like to learn about continuous integration. This includes developers, testers, build engineers and anyone else who needs to create and/or maintain Java based continuous integration.


To get the most out of this course you'll require basic knowledge of:

  • Java 
  • A Java IDE (such as Eclipse) 
  • Source Control Management

To complete the exercises in this course you will need the following software installed before attending the session. There will not be time to install it in the session. Assume latest versions unless otherwise stated:

  • Java IDE (e.g. Eclipse) 
  • Java SDK (1.7+) 
  • Version Control System (e.g. Subversion and SubClipse for Eclipse integration)• JUnit (JARs only) 
  • Jenkins (Configured for SMTP, JDK and Maven) 
  • Version Control System (e.g. Subversion) plugin 
  • Sonar plugin (configured)

If time allows, the further exercises require the following:

  • Jacoco (JARS only) 
  • Sonar (default install locally)

Full instructions on how to install all of the prerequisites on Windows, Mac and Linux are included a downloadable lab sheet. Please come prepared.

Friday, 6 September 2013

C# Training in Norwich in November

What: C# Essentials & ASP.NET MVC 4 Using C# (Training)

When: Monday November 11th to Friday November 15th 2013

How much: C# Essentials, £365 + fees & ASP.NET MVC 4 Using C#, £530 + fees

Requirements: Laptop with Visual Studio 2012, IIS, SQL Server

These courses each require a minimum of 16 delegates to run. If the target is not reached for either course, that course will be cancelled and a refund issued.

Delegates must supply their own laptop with Visual Studio 2012, ISS & SQL Server. Professional versions would be ideal, but Express versions should work.

Lunch and refreshments are included in the price.

C# Essentials

This course will run from Monday 11th to Tuesday 12th November 2013. This two-day intensive course is designed for the experienced programmer to help you quickly come up to speed on the C# language. It is current to Visual Studio 2012 and .NET 4.5. Important newer features such as dynamic data type, named and optional arguments, the use of variance in generic interfaces, and asynchronous programming keywords are covered in a final chapter. An appendix covers the fundamentals of Language Integrated Query (LINQ).

This course concisely covers the essentials of programming using Microsoft’s C# programming language. It starts with a brief chapter, ".NET: What You Need to Know," which gets you up and running in the .NET environment with a minimum of fuss.

The next two chapters cover C# language essentials and object-oriented programming in C#.

The next chapter discusses how C# relates to the .NET Framework.

The following chapter covers delegates and events. The course includes a succinct introduction to creating GUI programs using Windows Forms.

The course concludes with a chapter covering the newer features in C#. Appendices provide a tutorial on Visual Studio 2012, an overview of LINQ and a discussion of Visual Studio 2012 with Visual Studio 2010 solutions. The course is practical, with many example programs and a progressively developed case study. The goal is to quickly bring you up to speed in writing C# programs. The student will receive a comprehensive set of materials, including course notes and all the programming examples.

ASP.NET MVC 4 Using C#

This course will run from Wednesday 13th November - Friday 15th November 2013. This three day course provides a practical hands-on introduction to developing Web applications using ASP.NET MVC 4 and C#. This new Web development framework from Microsoft emphasizes separation of concerns in the architecture and testability of applications.

The course covers the fundamentals of the Model-View-Controller design pattern and its implementation in ASP.NET MVC. This technology is compared with classical ASP.NET Web Forms. The two technologies share a common ASP.NET infrastructure.

Visual Studio 2012 with .NET 4.5 is used as a productive platform for creating ASP.NET MVC applications. After presenting the fundamentals of the technology with several examples, the main components of Model, Controller and View are covered in detail.

The discussion of the Model incorporates modern Microsoft data access technologies, including LINQ and ADO.NET Entity Framework 5. The routing mechanism of ASP.NET MVC is covered. The course introduces automated unit testing of Web applications, one of the chief advantages of the new technology.

Security is covered, with some hands-on illustrations of attacks and defenses against them. The course includes a discussion of how ASP.NET MVC and Web Forms can be used together in the same application. The course concludes with an introduction to ASP.NET Web API. Appendices cover scaffolding, code first data modeling, and deployment on IIS 7.5.