London OS Jam 17: Speeeeed

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Just over a week ago, we hosted Google London Open Source Jam 17. The event is an opportunity for open source developers to give five minute presentations to their peers, socialise, eat pizza, and drink beer. The topic for this Jam was “Speed” and — unusually for us — many of the talks were on-topic:

Simon Stewart, pondering

Simon Stewart started off by telling us how to measure things: using tools like Firebug and Speed Tracer to break down client-side latency.

Matt Godbolt gave us some tips for making speedy Android apps, and Tim Cox presented a “Rant at Speed” that covered everything from CPU cache latency to the speed of light, all in five short minutes!

Glyn Wintle gave a quick rundown on common exploits: “How to break into a computer — fast”, covering the top five security mistakes made by web developers. You can try out some of these attacks yourself using the Google Gruyère codelab.

Ade Oshineye gave an impromptu (and not entirely serious) plan for “Making it faster.” Mike Mahemoff talked about speeding up web applications with the new shiny features in HTML5, and chatted briefly about the ever-blurring distinction between web applications and web pages. Paul Downey gave us an overview of TiddlyWiki, and TiddlySpace, where he hosted his presentation.


Squirrel gave a talk about Performance Secrets, which — uniquely for a Squirrel presentation — didn’t involve a flipchart.

Matthew Wild told us about Prosody, an XMPP server written in Lua. Apart from praising Lua as a great language, he also showed us how his continuous build generated annotated performance graphs on each commit to the repository.

George Cox proposed a need for making operational changes at speed — new deployments, and so on, while Luca Colantonio discussed his experiences implementing, a cloud-based web application for sending SMS messages via your own Android phone.

Tom Quick talked about the open source stack he’d used to develop GlastoTag, using Redis as a fast, persistent storage layer, and how using Django had helped to speed up their development process.


Last but not least, OS Jam favourite Jag gave us an overview of some of the performance decisions he’d made while developing Din.

As always we retired to the pub afterwards to continue our discussions. If you’re around London you’re welcome to join us for the next Jam. Join the mailing list or keep an eye out on the Jam site to find out more.

By Malcolm Rowe, Software Engineering Team