Barcamp Belfast 2008

In a reminder that it’s now been more than 1 year since Barcamp Dublin, Barcamp Belfast is on this Saturday, 21st June. Looks like it’s going to be bigger and better than last year’s event.

Barcamp Belfast Logo

Belfast hasn’t moved any further away from Dublin in the last 12 months, so I can safely recycle last year’s plug for the event.

For most people in Dublin , the Belfast Barcamp is nearer than the forthcoming Galway and Tipp events. It’s 2 hours by train from Dublin (with the venue pretty close to both the Central and Botanic rail stations) and about the same by Car , with Motorway for all but 15 miles of the journey.

Spring Belfast and Spring Dublin – two of the biggest Java events of the year

No apologies for over simplifying this :

  1. If you’re in business you need computer systems to support your team. Systems to find previous dealings with a customer, systems to allow your team to work together, systems to stop people finding out things that they shouldn’t.
  2. Once your business passes the 100 employee mark and is heading for ‘Enterprise’ scale, chances are you need custom software written just for you, in addition to he ‘shrink wrap’ stuff you’ve been able to get away with until now.
  3. Most custom Enterprise software is written in (or uses a large element of) Enterprise Java.
  4. Enterprise Java is hard to get started with – it’s a big and complex framework because it solves big and complex problems. The Spring framework makes it easy.

spring logo

OK, so we’re Spring nuts. But nuts only because it’s solved problems for FirstPartners over the last 4 years. What we like:

  • Spring allows you to use just enough Enterprise Java to solve your problem
  • Spring complements Enterprise Java, not replaces it.
  • Spring gives you a gentle slope to using Enterprise technologies.
  • Spring works well with Java, Oracle, .Net , (J)Ruby and pretty much any mainstream technology – including most of the widespread Java Frameworks like Struts and Hibernate.

So you wait ages for one Spring Event in Ireland, then two come along at once. We’ve written about Rod Johnson speaking in Dublin on Tue March 11th. Now there is a full day Spring Event in Belfast the day before (March 10th). And it’s sponsored by Momentum NI, so it’s free. And the Hilton Hotel is right beside Belfast Central train station, so it’s easy to get to from Dublin.

The full agenda is here (more details below), but given the importance of Spring to the Enterprise world, and the fact that the top four Spring guys are speaking, we reckon that it the Enterprise event of the year. The booking form is here.

Spring Ireland 2008

10th March 08:30 10th March 17:30
Hilton Belfast, 4 Lanyon Place, Belfast (Beside Central Train station)
SpringSource is proud to announce Spring Ireland 2008. Join us for a free one-day conference with presentations from the SpringSource team including a keynote from Rod Johnson.

Keynote: Spring into the Future – Rod Johnson

The Spring Framework began in 2002 with Rod’s best-selling Expert One-on-One J2EE Design and Development; one of the most influential books ever published on J2EE, Rod is recognised as one of the world’s leading authorities on Java and J2EE development.With the rapid expansion of SpringSource and move to new corporate HQ in Silicon Valley, this is a rare UK opportunity to hear Rod provide his views and explore the future of J2EE application development.

What’s New in Spring 2.5 – Sam Brannen

Sam is a lead architect at SpringSource and one of the most experienced developers within the organisation.This session provides delegates with an overview of the new features available in Spring 2.5. Specifically, highlighting the simplified and extensible configuration support provided via configuration annotations and new XML configuration namespaces, new Java 6 support, updates to Spring AOP, improved JDBC and JPA support, annotation-driven web MVC controllers, the new annotation-based TestContext framework for unit and integration tests and more!

SpringSource Professional Services – Greg Southey

Greg has built SpringSource’s UK Professional Services organisation into the leading Spring consultancy business in the world.

This is a brief resume of some of the 97 major projects completed by the UK Professional Services team in 2007. Delegates will hear about the business drivers behind some major development projects, the business issues faced and how they were resolved in partnership with the client.

Spring as a Full Stack Web Framework – David Syer

As Principal Consultant at SpringSource, Dave leads the way in the understanding of satisfying business requirements using the Spring Portfolio. His easy manner cloaks a prodigious knowledge of application development.

This session explores the “full stack” web framework trend and answers the question: how does Spring stack up? This session defines what a full-stack web framework is, then provides a fair technical comparison between a Spring-centric web development stack and the alternatives. Delegates will head about the feature-set of modern “full stack” web frameworks, and what Spring has that differentiates itself from the pack.

Spring in Ireland – Ian Graham

Ian Graham, Momentum, will explore the use of Spring in Ireland and introduce case studies from companies who are using the Spring family of products.

Round Table Discussion – Rod Johnson, Rob Harrop, Dave Syer, Sam Brannen & Greg Southey

Your chance to ask Rod and his team anything that’s on your mind regarding Spring!

OpenIsland – showing free software means business – Belfast

If you’re interested in Open Software, and you’re around Belfast next Friday (Feb 1st) , you could do worse than go to this OpenIsland– it’s in Spires, opposite Jury’s Inn , right next to the Europa Bus Station (i.e. it’s pretty easy to get to).

Open Island Logo

Title: OpenIsland – All-Island Conference on Free and Open Source Software

Location: Spires Conference Centre, Belfast

Time: All-day Date: 1st February, 2008

Cost: Free Web: http://openisland.net

The event will include talks from Bruce Perens, author of the Open Source Definition, and a senior speaker from Sun Microsystems, as well as a number of local case studies. Please note that the website says that the closing date for registration is 24th January, but if people wish to attend they can still do so by sending an email to info@openisland.net Registrants should include the following information: Name, Company, Job Title, Email, Special Dietary Requirements

Anybody up for Seedcamp Ireland (Dublin | Belfast | Newry | Dundalk)?

At a recent OpenCoffee Dublin event Brian Cleland of InterTrade Ireland mooted the idea of a Seedcamp Ireland. He’d love to see it be held in Newry or Dundalk (as cross-border networking is really his thing), but is realistic enough to consider other locations.

Seedcamp logo

To quote the main Seedcamp website:

Seedcamp is where Europe’s top young founders can come together in one place.

From securing funding to developing the right network, young entrepreneurs in Europe face challenges in building globally competitive technology businesses. Through the provision of seed capital and a world class network of mentors, we want to provide a catalyst for Europe’s next generation of entrepreneurs.

We might need to use a different name, but would you be interested in an informal meetup of startups and investors? Given the turn in the property market, would investors be ooking to put their money into the startup technology sector? Where would you like to see it held?

BarCamp Belfast – Business Startup – Java – GIS – Semantic – Internet Marketing presentations

Summary of BarCamp Belfast – on the day presentations about Business Startup – Java – GIS and the Semantic web .

Link to slides for our presentation ‘Java Bites Back’ – what’s bad and good about Enterprise Java, e.g. compared to Ruby.
Barcamp Belfast Logo

Grainne Lennon from Intertrade Ireland talked about the Seedcorn Business Startup competition. More details on the competition are here. Probably good to enter to help knock your business plan into shape, rather than expecting to get the Eur100,000 prize.
Matt Keenan- from OpCode solutions (and one of the Barcamp organisers) – Starting your own tech business. Key points:

  • Cash is King.
  • Have a Business Plan – and don’t forget about your cashflow (spot a theme here?) as well as the usual revenue projects.
  • Remember your exit strategy when talking to investors – they will want their money back!
  • Enterprise Centres in Northern Ireland (38 of them)
  • Subcontract rather than Employees – reduces your exposure / liabilities.
  • Professional Contractors Group – free tax audit insurance , advice for members
Con Hennessy from OpenApp.ie – Open Source GIS (Geographic Information Systems), particularly in the Health sector.

  • (Open Source) Technologies used : Mapserver , PostgreSQL (Database), PostGIS , RProject (Statisical Analysis), GRASS , ZOPE (application framework) and Python
  • GIS Data is very expensive
John Breslin – Cloudlands – Presenting on the Semantic Web as part of Web 2.0.

  • What is Web 2.0 (second generation Web Architecture)
  • Users – Content – Tags – Comments
  • Sematic Web – Meta data (describes things on the web) and Ontologies (Dictionaries explaining the meaning of the meta tags)
  • Freebase – open , shared database of the world’s knowledge.
Colin Turner – Spreading Open Source Software via the Education Community.

  • Not everybody understands or agrees what is Open Software
  • Why isn’t free software used more in Education?
  • People reasons (lose budget , free = bad , software is flakey , where’s my supported)
  • Refuted (e.g. Quality, can get support , using software already)
  • Teach students how to work in distributed teams.
Alastair – Logon.ie

  • Blogs and SEO
  • Ezines – use Feedburner to deliver blog content via email
  • SEO Title Tag – manually set titles
  • URL rewriting
  • RedFly Marketing – PHP script – to test landing page options
  • Use subdomains (e.g. http://blog.firstpartners.net)

Barcamp Belfast – easier to get to than Barcamp Cork or Galway

Fresh from Barcamp Dublin , we’re glad to hear that Barcamp Belfast has been announced. I can only hope that the organisers are a better looking crew than this (apologies to With the exception of Elly). But will they have better T-Shirts?

Barcamp Belfast Logo

For most people in Dublin , the Belfast Barcamp is nearer than the forthcoming Galway and Tipp events. It’s 2 hours by train from Dublin (with the venue pretty close to both the Central and Botanic rail stations) and about the same by Car , with Motorway for all but 15 miles of the journey.

If you haven’t been to Belfast before, this could be the reason you need to visit. And the excuse ‘I’ll wait until Gerry and Ian sit in the same room together’ no longer holds water.