London Open Source Jam 15

Friday, December 18, 2009

On the 3rd of December we held the latest (and greatest) Google London Open Source Jam at our offices near Victoria. The Jam is a way to get like-minded Open Source contributors and users together and give them a chance to give a 5 minute talk on something dear to their hearts, all the while availing themselves of free beer and pizza!

This time's topic was the somewhat catchall: "the Web." Like always, the topic is more of a guide than a rule, so we had some pretty diverse talks.

Our very own Jon Skeet set the evening off to a good start by telling us all about Noda Time — a new Open Source library for handling dates and times in .NET, based on the Joda Time library for Java.

Simon Phillips on Google Wave

Simon Phillips is a consultant to the film business and gave a great presentation on how he uses Google Wave to help him work closely with directors, script writers, set designers and the like. He showed some great ideas for using Wave in this way and was canvassing for help in developing Open Source Wave robots to help this process.

Simon Stewart gave a rallying cry for making the web more accessible to the blind and deaf, especially in this modern era of HTML canvas and video tags. By ensuring your sites are accessible, you open them up to more users, and as a useful side effect you also make them more testable.

HTTP has started to show its age, and maybe it's time for a leaner, meaner protocol to come along. I took a brief break from my hosting duties to present a summary of SPDY, a project to develop a replacement protocol which will deliver data to our browsers faster.

Glyn Wintle Gets Comfortable

If you run a web site, you may have come to fear the "Slashdot effect" where you are linked from a popular website and get a spike of traffic. Glyn Wintle from the Open Rights Group (ORG) informed us that this is nothing compared to having a bunch of knitting forums link to you! His was a tale of Open Sourcing of knitting patterns and DMCA take-down notices. He also brought us up to speed on the latest from the ORG.

Sam Mbale gave us an update on his work bringing open source to Africa and told us all about BarCamp Lusaka which he'll be attending. We look forward to hearing how it went at another Jam.

Robert Rees gave us an experience report on using Velocity templates to divide responsibilities between engineers and web designers. It seems to work pretty well; contracts are enforced by unit tests, and designers know exactly what primitives they can use when laying out web pages.

Matt Savage on RESTful Acceptance Tests

Finally, Matt Savage talked about his ideas for RESTful acceptance tests, and Steven Goodwin gave us an update on his project to build a "Wallace and Gromit" house.

You can find more pictures of the event on Picasa Web Albums. To find out more about the Google London Open Source Jam, visit If you'd like to receive regular updates about future jams, sign up for our mailing list. We hope to see you at future jams!