The Agile Practitioners group recently held a pecha-kucha event at Zuhlke Engineering. The talks were great! The content was intriguing and the Pecha Kucha format added an extra edge to the presentations.

We learned a few lessons that will help improve the next Agile20x20 event.

Here are the talks

Christian Heldstab does a great job of presenting Getting Things Done

Abid Quereshi exlapins the core values of Scrum

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About a week ago I noticed some incoming links from Computer I assumed that someone had commented on one of my posts, so I browsed there wondering if it was a positive or negative comment. Once the page loaded, I was completely surprised. It turns out that this blog has been short-listed for the Computer IT Blog Awards! This came as a complete surprise to me.

This blog had really humble beginnings. In fact it was not even my idea to start a blog, it was my work that encouraged me to start one. Initially I felt that I did not have that much to contribute to the world at large. In fact I still don’t feel that my blog is as innovative as some others, although judging by the response to my ‘Routing In Rails Tutorial‘ it appears as if I do have a nice way of explaining things. I guess this is one of the main reasons I have been voted onto the shortlist.

The competition ends on the 31st of July 2008. If you would like to vote please go to this on-line voting page. This blog can be found under the ‘Programming and technical blogs’ drop-down list. It is a surprisingly painless exercise, it takes less then a minute and no registration is required.

Thank you to all of you who have voted for this blog.


Very High Level Language – So what?

When I first heard about Python I thought this is just great. I have had to listen to countless conversations about Java vs. C# and now we have to go through it all again with Python thrown in. I know Python is older than Java, but I only came across it after C++, Java etc. Python and Ruby are described as being Very High Level Languages (VHLL). When I heard that term for the first time I thought here comes another meaningless, yet ubiquitously used acronym. At first I did not pay much attention to these languages. I was very familiar with Java, C# and PHP. I figured Ruby and Python could not be too different from these languages. And sure, I may have been caught up in some Microsoft sales propaganda…

As with many developers, it was Rails that pushed me into learning Ruby. From the start, I really enjoyed Ruby – and still do. Dynamic scripting is a real eye-opener! Although I was enjoying this new dynamic paradigm, I still did not see much value in calling it a Very High Level Language.

This all changed at SPA. I attended “Agile Development for the Web and Elsewhere: A Tutorial in Python” presented by Nick Efford. In my opinion, this was the best session at SPA. Well organised and the content was spot on. It was a 6 hour session and Nick made many valuable points. He also explained the VHLL concept in great way. This was done with the use of this simple and effective slide.


This is when I had my first real VHLL a-ha! moment. Nick had placed Python and Ruby in a different class to Java and C#! I had realised that these languages were dynamically typed while Java and C# are (mostly) statically typed. I knew I was not comparing apples with apples, but I thought I was comparing apples with oranges. It turns out that I was comparing apples with apple pie.

When coding in C# you do not need to worry about the low level details that a C programmer needs to be concerned about. Similarly, when programming in Ruby you should not be concerned about the low level details that a C# programmer needs to worry about. Most of us are aware of the low level details a C programmer is faced with e.g. garbage collection. Now what low level details are there at the C#\java level? We can explore this with a simple example.

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Zuhlke Strategy Day on the HMS Belfast

We recently had our companies strategy day. Zuhlke treated us by holding the day at the HMS Belfast. Our meetings were held in the Admirals Quarters. We discussed the past, present and future of Zuhlke, focusing on the London office. Obviously I cannot give specifics about the discussions, but one common topic was our agile approach to project management. We have had great success in applying agile methods to managing projects. This combined with our Test Driven Development (TDD) has led to many successful projects.

Once the business part of the day was over, we were given permission to view parts of the war ship which are not usually accessible to the public. This was a wonderful experience, have a look at the slide show below to view some of the pictures. Unfortunately the images fail to capture the humbling feeling one gets from being on such a magnificent war ship.

I would like to thank Zuhlke and the staff at the HMS Belfast.