Web Applications with CakePHP

As August’s session didn’t get off the ground, I will present what was to be the second half of August’s session as a full session in September.

Details to follow. This will be a practical session, so bring your laptop. The language will be PHP.

Collaboration Review & View Testing with PHP

August with Agile Staffordshire will comprise two strands of concern. Firstly, we shall take some time to explain our external activities this year and share the value they have had in our practice. I will start the session with a review of the BCS SPA 2015, a conference that I attended at the end of July.

Additionally, as a show & tell exercise, I will follow on from Ruth Mills exceptionally interesting session last month by demonstrating something similar, but probably not as good! We can tear the process of testing views in web applications and apply it to software development at large.

I look forward to seeing you there!

P.S. There may be a room change with appropriate software available so that everyone may have a go easily. I will post updated information if appropriate.

Thymeleaf and Thymesheet

An introduction to the Java templating engines Thymeleaf and Thymesheet, and how these can be used in Agile projects in conjunction with Spring and Maven. This will be a hands-on practical session with examples you can go through on a Java IDE of your choice (e.g. Eclipse, STS or IntelliJ IDEA).

Agile Book Club

This month we are hosting a book club of sorts. We are opening the floor for our members to share highlights, give an overview, or empart something learned from book you’ve read recently or perhaps something that has stuck with you and had a positive impact on your programming or the processes you follow. The format will be informal 10 minute lightning talks with a projector, whiteboard & an audience. If you’d like a spot to talk, please get in touch on meetup, twitter (@AgileStaffs) or email (nyakeh@live.co.uk).

Hope to see you there,

Advanced Git on the command line

Back in January, Paul ran a Git on the Command line session where he demonstrated the transparency and learning benefits of using Git in bash. He also hopefully whetted the groups appetite in terms of branchless workflows. 

This month, Paul’s going to build on the previous session by digging deeper into branchless development, feature switches, and how to commit and push bite size changes with a practical workshop.

He’s also going to demonstrate using Git bisect to perform binary searching on a code base to demonstrate how to find bugs. 

As per the previous session, please bring laptops with Git along, and we assume basic knowledge of the Git CLI.

The Value of Retrospectives

An evening looking at retrospectives and why they are vital no matter what Agile process you are using. A short talk by Melinda Marsh, followed by the group sharing experiences of retrospectives.

We will then complete a retrospective of Agile Staffs over the last 6 months. Feel free to come prepared – get your thoughts together so we can create one word cards that for example cover:
– things were good at
– what we can improve
– future things we’d like to try

See you there.


vi with Agile Staffordshire

vi, and its more recent clone vim, is a tool that has a 30 year legacy and is still gaining new users. In our January Git session; upon committing code at the terminal, vi launched and confounded many of us. It was decided, by the group, to arrange a session on vim. It transpired that Agile Staffordshire already has a number of vim users of varying competency.


To begin, I will introduce vim and some of the basic features and ‘modes’ for simple editing. This is designed as a ‘noob-to-noob’ session. I have only been using vim for about 6 months and will be figuratively ‘a page ahead’ of the learner. I will explain some of the differences between standard GUI editors and some of advantages of the vim ‘way of things’.

Further vim

Jason Underhill will continue the session with some additional features; these include:

• Spell check

• Code formatting

• Regular expressions

• searchBuffers, windows and tabs

Plug-ins will also be introduced, demonstrating vim’s extensible architecture, some of which; Ctrl-P, Surround, SuperTab, Endwise and Markdown.

Alternative IDE

Consider notch turned up! Paul Williams will demonstrate why more developers are moving from full-blown IDEs to ‘legacy’ editors, such as vim. He will demonstrate a full terminal workflow using vim and tmux, automatic unit test execution and using a Clojure REPL. Imagine Repl + Test Driven Development without an IDE!

Tooling Up

This will be a practical session, so bring your laptops. Most operating systems have vim available; either installed or via a package manager. The notable exception is Microsoft(R) Windows(R). Visit vim download page. Wi-Fi Internet access has been provided by Staffordshire University in prior events and I expect they will be kind and do it again.

From Chaos to Kanban

There’s always a great atmosphere and discussion at Agile Staffordshire whenever we have a guest speaker. February did not disappoint. Craig Judson (Operations Manager at Codeweavers) presented Kanban in general and then elaborated on how Kanban is utilised specifically for continuous delivery of software.

Subsequently, a vibrant and energised discussion took place on working practices and project/product management. It was great to have such a varied mix of disciplines and roles present to contribute; consultants, developers, academics and managers. It was particularly interesting to note how various people were adapting well-known techniques to their work place and teams.

Thank you, Craig!

Craig Judson discussing Kanban and software delivery.

Craig Judson gave a presentation on Kanban and how it is used to deliver software at Codeweavers.

Also in February, Rosie Anderson and Rebecca Mycock stopped by to introduce Outsource. While Agile Staffordshire is primarily a group to share experience, expertise and good practice it is useful to network and learn about jobs, careers and opportunities in the Industry. I am sure that we will welcome them again at some point in the near future. Students may wish to pay attention to our blog for news concerning graduate recruitment (as well as all of the great professional experiences they can learn about). Thank you, Rosie and Rebecca!

The Kanban Boards


To start off the session, Rosie will introduce herself and the challenges she has recruiting developers into agile positions. We hope this might spark an interesting conversation, provide feedback and offer networking opportunities. Whilst there’s no such thing as a free lunch, there may well be free beer* at the pub afterwards. *other beverages available

In last month’s meet up a company adopting agile process asked if we could do a session on Kanban boards to understand how they help with the adoption of agile processes.

This month, we will be doing just that and treating you to an introduction into Kanban boards by Criag Judson @ Codeweavers. Codeweavers transformed from a chaotic software development process to agile, and Craig will be explaining how Kanban helped Codeweavers and how it evolved over time to meet the needs of the business.

This is a guest speaker session, so no need to bring your laptops.

p.s. Craig has presented this work previously, so see the comments section as I’ll be posting the published paper on “Chaos to Kanban”.

Git Introduction January 2015

Paul Williams presenting Git.

Paul Williams gave a great introduction to the group on version control basics with Git

There was a great vibe this January; our first meeting of 2015. Paul Williams opened the year with a great session introducing Git. The session served as a useful introduction to those new to Git as a version control mechanism and incorporated rebasing techniques for those with intermediate skills. We experienced a wide spread of issues related to version control; what else would you expect with up to 20 people trying to do the initial commit? We also had a sneak peak how others are using Git in professional ventures. It was a great fun! Agile Staffordshire enjoyed an enthusiastic turnout; it was lovely to see everyone. Thank you, Paul.

The session provoked some good discussion and even set the scene for our first quarter topics. In March 2015, Agile Staffordshire will hold a session on Vi (the editor that appeared mercilessly upon commits) and more advanced Git techniques in April 2015. February’s session will focus on project management, with a specific discussion on Kanban in relation to software development. Keep watching our blog for upcoming events or join our meet-up group.

Group working at Agile Staffs January 2015

Ad-hoc team trying to commit to repositories in ad-hoc ways! What could go wrong? Not much really!

Enjoying Git session - January 2015.

It’s amazing how a bit of Git can make people smile.

I would like to add special thanks to Staffordshire University for hosting our event and providing wireless Internet connectivity throughout the session. Super stuff! Another special mention to Mel for taking photographs!

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