London Open Source Jam 9

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Post by Neil Dunn, Software Engineering Team

For the past 2 years, every two or three months, at the Google London Engineering offices, on a Thursday, around 6:30pm, something happens.

That something is the London Open Source Jam!

OS Jam is a free for all, open to anyone, geek night where open source hackers get together to discuss a topic close to their hearts. Last week we hosted the 10th event. The topic was Performance and Scalability. The pizza was hot, the beer was cold and the 5 minute lightning talks came thick and fast.

Here's a summary of the talks:

  • David Beaumont - What's in an API? - David talked about Java's CharSequence and Appendable APIs and use cases that can kill application performance. His takeaway message - Sometimes the standard APIs just don't fit. It's ok to roll your own.
  • Tim Cox - Scalability in an ad serving system - Tim discussed the iterations his team went through when building a fault tolerant ad serving system. He concluded that sometimes scalability comes at the cost of precision.
  • Zoe Slattery - Profiling PHP and Java with open source tools - Zoe discussed the tools she used to compare a PHP and Java implementation of Apache Lucene: XDebug for PHP and Eclipse TPTP for Java.
  • Douglas Squirrel - 5 minutes of monitoring - The second in a fantastic series of mega lists. Everything Douglas' company monitors and why they do it.
  • Manik Surtani - Publishing internal benchmarks? - Manik discussed the performance benchmarking framework he has built for JBoss Cache and put a question to the audience: Would it be useful if he published the benchmark results?
  • John Ripley - Building software for small devices - John asks, can it be done on a small device? Decoding MP3s? Watching MPEG videos? Playing Doom? Will it blend? Yes it can. As long as you know the platform.
  • Ade Oshineye - Beyond REST - 3 million HTTP requests for 6 thousand photos? Ade weighed in on the issues of RESTful architectures and suggested a few alternatives such as XMPP, the hanging GET, the never ending resource and HTTP callbacks.
  • Simon Stewart - Perfomant Selenium tests - Don't write them! - Simon says you could you use Selenium RC or Selenium Grid, or maybe HTTP unit, or maybe you could write smaller, faster unit tests instead.
  • Jonathan Chetwyn - Visual metaphors for missing images and static vs. dynamic content - Jonathan brought some questions to the table from his work on
  • Darren Hobbs - Caches! - Rip out all the caches and fix your architecture instead!

If you're near the London area and want to hear about future Open Source Jam Events, join our Google Group or monitor the feed on the OSJam page.

Rock on OS Jam!

Ed. Note: Updated post to correct spacing.