Sunday, 25 September 2016

Humanizing Tech & The evolution of SEO and is it dead?

What: Humanizing Tech & The evolution of SEO and is it dead?

When: Wednesday, October 12, 2016 - 6:30pm to 9:00pm

Where: The King's Centre, King Street, Norwich, NR1 1PH

How much: Free


Humanizing Tech 
Karen Longdin

Being brilliant technically is only half the battle when it comes to being successful within a business. An exploration of how to humanize technology to two ends:

To converse with your business, get your point heard and your projects sponsored.

And to manage and lead other technical people and teams who may know more, better or different to you; what happens when your technical knowledge is no longer enough?

Karen Longdin 

As Head of IT Development and Architecture for Wyndham Vacation Rentals UK, Karen heads up a team of developers and QA engineers working across Web, back end, reporting and third party systems. Previously having been Head of IT at Stansted Airport and Acting IT Director of Suffolk Police Karen has worked across a variety of industries both private and public sector with a mix of internal and outsource arrangements and across the breadth of technical disciplines. Beginning her career in software testing and moving through various process disciplines most of Karen’s work has been enabled by great business relationships looking for outcomes that work on both sides of the fence. Having been responsible for some heavy weight austerity driven programmes and then the technical separation of Stansted Airport from Heathrow post sale, working now in an environment that is driving investment for profit is a breath of fresh air and allows some much needed time to reflect on, and share, some of the skills and tips Karen’s gained over the years.

The evolution of SEO and is it dead? 
Ellie Morgan

It’s 2016 and once again SEO is dead. We review why SEO is still important and look at the evolutive journey SEO and digital marketing practices have taken over the past 10 years.

Ellie Morgan

Ellie heads up the dedicated search division at Studio 24 and is a, dedicated digital marketing professional. An Illustration graduate from Anglia Ruskin University, she fell down the rabbit hole of online marketing at the Norwich-based empire Jarrold & Sons. Following this, she moved to Westland Horticulture group working over several websites mainly with SEO, content management, email design and marketing.Since being at Studio 24, Ellie has worked with a variety of brands giving her and the search team a wealth of knowledge to work with budgets of all sizes, while providing the best possible results. For Ellie the most important thing about SEO and digital marketing is to consider the user above all else.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Spring Boot in Action

by Craig Walls
ISBN-13: 978-1617292545

You can be pretty sure of what you’re going to get with a Manning ‘In Action’ book and Spring Boot in Action is no exception.  It’s clear, friendly while not being over familiar and above all a pleasure to read. In fact I struggled to put it down. I’ve got back into reading recently, but this is the first technical book I have fully read for quite a while.

The thing is I’m a huge fan of Java. This brings me into a lot of ridicule. There are lots of other software development technologies such as Ruby on Rails and Node.js which are arguably more productive because they do a lot of the standard web application boilerplate for you. The Spring library provides the Java developer with a lot of web application boilerplate as well, but there is no getting away the fact that Java is more verbose than some of the other options and you need a lot more code and configuration to wire the boilerplate together.

Enter Spring Boot. Spring Boot is about taking away a lot of the pain of developing Java web applications with Spring. Spring Boot automatically configures most of a Spring Web application for you. It takes care of most of the dependency management and servlet configuration and creates and injects commonly used beans into the application context as, when, and if they are needed. This drastically reduces the amount of code and configuration you need to write and it’s clever enough to work out which dependencies you need and employs tested configurations to make sure they play nicely together. Plus you can reduce the amount of code further by writing your application in Groovy or a combination of Groovy and Java. You can even take advantage of Grails.

Suddenly Java becomes a lot more competitive in terms of productivity with Ruby on Rails and Node.js, with the added advantage of a statically type, non-interpreted language running on the JVM. I’ve frequently seen Java Spring web applications outperforming similar Ruby on Rails applications. These are very exciting times indeed for Java.

Spring Boot in Action clearly explains all of this and more including running an embedded tomcat and testing with Selenium. It’s not a long book and the last 35% or so is appendices, but it’s the sort of useful information you need as a Spring Boot developer. Being short also means that Spring Boot does feel like a massive mountain to climb and conquer.  If I had one criticism of the book, it would be that the chapter on deployment should be near the beginning, not right at the end.

Naked Element will soon be developing their first Spring Boot application and we’re really looking forward to it.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

The New One Minute Manager

Kenneth Blanchard & Spencer Johnson
ISBN-13: 978-0008128043

I'm not and have never been a people person, but I try. I am and have always been a techy. I managed teams at two different companies before I formed Naked Element. In both cases I was as green as I was cabbage looking. I had a lot to learn about managing up and down and what encourages and discourages people. Unfortunately I didn't have the best guidance either.

When I want to get better at software development or Agile or something else technical, I consult experienced people to learn. In most cases, for me, this involves reading a book. So why should it be any different for people? Well, people are more complex than software development, Agile or any other tech, but that doesn't mean we can't learn from other's experience.

The One Minute Manager is a book about people and how to get the best from them. It describes three practices to help. One of the best things about the book isn't just the excellent advice with clear examples and explanation, but the fact it's easy to read and takes only a few hours. I read most of it one evening and finished it the next morning.

I'm not going to list the practices here - go read the book. It showed me what I was doing wrong, why what I was  doing didn't work and how I could improve. It's not a silver bullet, there is work I am going to have to do to get better.

The only criticism I have, other that some of the cheesy dialogue, is that there are no written examples of the first practice. I'm having to go to other sources for this, but at least they're readily available.

If you feel you could be better at managing people, and even if you think you're already good at it, start with this book and get better. I've already started doing the practices and I'm looking forward to the results.