Below is a debriefing document concerning the Dev8D JISC Developer Days (links included).

London Dev8d De-Briefing


1. Yahoo Pipes

User Interface Observations:

• Canvas as buttons for layout options - Layout, Expand All, Collapse all

• Saving a pipe - perhaps for workflows, once the user is happy and all services/components are configured, allow saving to myExperiment or workspace or both?

• Results by E-mail or Phone - when a workflow run is finished, successful or not - notify the user automatically.

• Arbitrarily collapsing a collection into a pipe - same for components

• Results and Provenance - when the pipe is run more than once, it tells the user the changes from previous results - e.g. how much new data - "+68 more....". Display provenance information when running the same workflow where the output is different.

• Filtering node:
o Allow or Block items that match All or Any of the following
+ Rules -----
+ Rules ----

• Pipe border colour conventions represents status - green - configured & ready, orange - needs configuring

• Pipe options (outside editor) - New, Save, Save a Copy, Properties

2. Clojure

Learn't how to setup a Clojure environment in a few seconds (download clojure, java -cp clojure.jar clojure.main).

Programmed a series of functions to express and solve mathematical problems using: simple operators, recursion, conditionals, calling/finding functions.

Programmed a series of functions to increase the accuracy of an operator expression, symbolic differentiation and finally made them 'packaged' as an application.
3. Ruby On Rails

Hit & miss workshop. The speaker intended the workshop to be for people that were already familiar with the use of Ruby on Rails; the session ended up turning into a "Ruby on Rails tutorial".
4. iPhone Application Development

This was a well planned out session which catered to the different user levels and familiarity with XCode (the Mac IDE) and the iPhone SDK.
Created a simple app to do a Twitter search using the Twitter search API. This example outlined a few issues with the use of the Cocoa framework on its own e.g. for handling server responses with xml and JSON representations; this meant that we had to plugin other frameworks into the app.
The session did not go into painstaking detail as a textbook would, but at the same time not missing out on the key principles of Cocoa development.

5. Google Apps Engine

Google Apps Engine is a free programming environment/framework which also has support for hosting apps. The engine currently supports Python, Java, and other languages that can run on the JVM (JRuby, Scala, Clojure, etc).
Has a Dashboard (management system) for the owner's apps; each google account may have up to 10 Google apps.
Apps must have a unique name when deployed onto the WWW.
Google Apps are based on the MVC architecture.
Has a lot of conventions much like Ruby on Rails, such as view templates, folder structure (though different from Rails Apps), etc
The session was well laid out, but due to it being 4 hours long, fatigue will play it's role in attention draining.
Hacked/Tweaked a series of apps, learning the structure Google Apps. No excessive background tutoring and learning the fundamentals of Python, just enough tutoring to help one understand what an app is doing. Any "silliness" of the programming language was addressed as per request.
6. Python

Another hit & miss workshop. Learnt about the basics of Python, the advantages it brings, setting up an environment, practical example was inadequately chosen.

Lightning Talks:

Interesting Talks:

1. OSSWatch

Open Source Software Advisory.
Mailing List on
Gnome Accessibility a11y -

2. OSSWatch - Sander Van Der Waal

2. Social Science for Software Developers

Works here at the University of Manchester.

3. Unlock - Geological web services

4. Linked Data - Hugh Glasser - University of Southampton

5. Linked data in the web

6. Mendeley

6. The collaborative Tools Project - University of York

7. The Open University

Mistakes made.

8. Visualising data with Processing.

9. Hudson - Jim Downing.

10. Agile Development