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Beth demonstrating Visual Lint at the ACCU Conference 2008  Anna taking part in a discussion panel at the European Software Conference 2007 

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Visual Lint 4.0.8.210 has been released
Monday, September 30, 2013

This is a maintenance update for Visual Lint 4.0. The following changes are included:

  • Reduced the memory usage of VisualLintConsole when the /exportformat switch is used to export large data sets.
     
  • Duplicate issues are now filtered out from the Analysis Results Display "All files" view.
     
  • Column widths in the Analysis Status, Results, Statistics and History Displays are now persistent, with the rightmost column autosized to fit the width of the control.
     
  • The CppCheck analysis results parser can now recognise issues of the form "cppcheck: warning: Couldn't find path given by -I '<path>'".
     
  • Fixed a bug which could cause include directives for an unexpanded environment variable (%IncludePath%) to be used in the analysis configuration for a Visual Studio 2010/2012/2013 project.
     

Posted by Anna at 15:40 | Get Link

 

Agile on the Beach 2013 - photoblog
Thursday, September 19, 2013

The third Agile on the Beach conference was held on Tremough Campus, Penryn (near Falmouth in Cornwall) on 5th and 6th September 2013. As last year, the event attracted not only tech businesses, but also non-tech organisations (e.g. a legal practice and a university department) who are applying the principles of agile software development to run processes and workflows within their own organisations. Done well, agile thinking and principles can be applied to just about any workflow - it doesn't have to be about software.

This years conference was a great success by any metric. It sold out several times (with the organisers somehow managing to squeeze in more places each time as more people kept trying to register...) and that was certainly reflected in the energy visible at the event. I think in the end there were something like 170 delegates, which is a big increase on last year and compares very favourably with the 350-400 or so you can expect at the (far more established) ACCU Conference which we also take part in.

As others are writing far more eloquently than I about the detail of some of the sessions presented at the conference, I'm going to present more of a visual overview of the event - call it a photoblog post, if you like.

The conference was scheduled for Thursday and Friday, so we arrived from Bournemouth on Wednesday afternoon, car fully laden with demo stuff for the Riverblade stand (if you've seen us at the ACCU Conference you'll know the drill).

After some initial niggles (mainly down to uncertainties about the details of the newly installed automated car park barrier system on the Campus, it has to be said) we were all set up by 6pm or so. While Beth went over to sort out our accommodation (see the pictures below) I retired to the bar to work on my Code Analysis in an Agile World session for Thursday lunchtime.

Conference delegates were housed in student accommodation on the campus, which kept costs far lower than using hotels

Conference delegates were housed in student accommodation on the campus, which kept accommodation costs down


A typical room on the campus

A typical room on the campus. There was also a shared kitchen down the hall (which we didn't use much as breakfast was laid on in the campus restaurant)

Pizza and beer then followed as the evening warmed up. Sadly they didn't have any real ale on the bar (apparently they don't stock it until term starts) but Guinness, Addlestones and Crabbies were all available to lubricate the pizza.

Registration the following morning was the usual mix of delegates milling around, renewing acquaintances, examining the stands and (more importantly) hoovering up the caffeine.

Registration time is coffee time!

Registration time is coffee time!


Our stand at Agile on the Beach 2013

Our stand at Agile on the Beach 2013

When everyone piled into the main auditorium for Dan North's opening keynote it started to become obvious how many delegates were here:

A full house for Dan North, as Allan Kelly welcomes everyone to the conference.

A full house for Dan North, as Allan Kelly welcomes everyone to the conference

Dan's "Software Craftsmanship" keynote [Slides] [Video pt 1] [Video pt 2] was (as expected) awesome. The central theme was a discussion of the concept of mastery and how it relates to software development.

One of the slides from Dan North's keynote.

One of the slides from Dan North's keynote

Steve Parks has posted a detailed write-up of Dan's talk at http://www.wunderroot.co.uk/blog/dan-north-software-mastery.

After the break, I headed into Jim Barritt's "Why you need to learn Clojure, right now" [Video], which despite not being as hands-on as I expected I found very interesting. For some reason the thought of trying to write an Eclipse plug-in in Clojure appeals...

Jim Barritt presenting 'Why you need to learn Clojure, right now'.

Jim Barritt presenting "Why you need to learn Clojure, right now"

Afterwards a late morning break provided essential re-caffeination opportunities before the sessions resumed.

When they did, I put my Business Hat (for those who don't know me that's the purple one with the floppy ears) on and joined the folks in the main auditorium for Allan Kelly's "Do It Right, Then Do the Right Thing" [Slides] [Video], which turned the management adage of "Do the right thing, then do it right" on it's head and illustrated the point with a selection of nasty looking weaponry (I know it's retro of me but I still prefer a halberd...).

Allan Kelly presenting 'Do It Right, Then Do the Right Thing'.

Allan Kelly presenting "Do It Right, Then Do the Right Thing"

Lunch (which could also be accurately described as a mega-sandwich session) followed, then then it was my turn to present a sponsored 30 minute session titled "Code Analysis in an Agile World" [Slides] [Video].

Although a sponsored session, the content was completely generic - I wasn't there to do a product pitch (in fact, I'm pretty sure I didn't even mention any of our products by name). The idea was to look at how code analysis tools are typically used in "traditional" team environments, why this is suboptimal, and how agile teams can do better. The concepts presented build on the techniques described in the "Effective Code Analysis" booklet we distribute at conferences.

The central issues covered were:

  • How to make analysis practical in continuous integration scenarios
  • Why you should also put analysis tools in the hands of developers rather than just on a centralised server
  • How you can use pre-commit hooks to make it less likely that developers will commit code which may degrade the quality of the codebase
  • How to define (and more importantly, evolve) warning policies to reflect changes in priorities or the quality of a codebase.

I wound up the presentation by presenting some principles for Agile Code Analysis (see the slides), which I hope isn't too presumptuous of me!

Anna-Jayne Metcalfe presenting 'Code Analysis in an Agile World' at Agile on the Beach 2013

Anna-Jayne Metcalfe of Riverblade presenting "Code Analysis in an Agile World" at Agile on the Beach 2013
(photo by Toby Weller; reproduced by kind permission of the Conference organisers)

Despite the nerves I was feeling immediately beforehand, I'm very happy with the way the session went. It's a huge subject so I could barely scratch the surface in 30 minutes, but I hope delegates found the material I presented useful. The room was packed (that was unexpected!) so there was clearly an appetite for the subject among the conference delegates.

I was however very surprised at how few delegates in the audience had any experience of code analysis tools (I asked them to put their hands up at the beginning). Clearly as an industry we are still not doing enough to make code analysis tools accessible and affordable - or indeed in educating developers to use them. That's a real shame, and reflects poorly on us all.

After lunch Rachel Davies presented "The Art of Slicing and User Stories" [Slides] [Video], which was interesting and hands on, and then it was time for another break, following which Chris O'Dell presented "Continuous Delivery at 7digital - an Experience Report" [Slides] [Video], which provided enlightenment, dinosaur skeletons, an always useful motto ("Keep Calm and Ctrl-Z") and the occasional Mexican Wave.

From personal experience deployment is one big, horrible #fail area in far too many organisations, so it was good to hear an upbeat discussion on the subject.

Chris O'Dell presenting 'Continuous Delivery at 7digital - an Experience Report'.

Chris O'Dell presenting "Continuous Delivery at 7digital - an Experience Report"

The main sessions on day 1 completed for me with Michael Rawling's "eXtreme User eXperience" [Slides] [Video] which described how a team melded user experience (UX) design with extreme programming (XP).

Michael Rawling presenting 'eXtreme User eXperience'.

Michael Rawling presenting "eXtreme User eXperience"

After the main tracks ended for the day, everyone filed back into the main auditorium for the Lightning Talks [Video].

For me the one which stood out was Allan Kelly's rant at the news that the UK Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has mucked up their "flagship" Universal Credit project, and are blaming the fact that it was an "agile" project for the failure.

If in doubt, blame agile rather than the real culprits

If in doubt, blame agile rather than the real culprits (while wasting massive amounts of taxpayers money, of course)

Better commentators than I have blogged about this (agile...? a project with 1000 people...?), but personally, it's clear to me that the DWP couldn't manage it's way out of a paper bag, and wouldn't understand what agile meant even even if we pounded it into their thick skulls with a large lumphammer (iteratively, of course). #fail indeed.

After that excitement, it was time for the Beach Party (without which the conference would just be "Agile near the Beach"). The organisers had shuttle buses running from the campus to Falmouth beach with beer, food, beach games and live music laid on.

The Agile on the Beach Party gets underway

The Agile on the Beach Party gets underway


Ping Pong on the Beach

Ping Pong on the Beach


Jenga on the Beach

Jenga on the Beach


Beer on the Beach, courtesy of Atlassian

Beer on the Beach, courtesy of Atlassian

And that was it for day 1. Day 2 kicked off with Gabriel Steinhardt's keynote on Market-driven Product Management, which was arguably the most controversial session of the conference:

Gabriel Steinhardt presenting his 'Market-driven Product Management' keynote.

Gabriel Steinhardt presenting his "Market-driven Product Management" keynote

Rather than go into the arguments here, I'll point you at a blogpost by Gabriel in which he describes his experience at the conference, and some of the issues he raised. I found it useful, anyway.

Next up was Rich Quick on "Bringing Agile to a £2bn company", in which he described his experiences single-handedly re-inventing the methods his employer used for their software development. This was a brilliant example of Fearless Change - you just can't succeed in this within an organisation unless you are very sure of your ground and build the right relationships with others.

This was a very popular session, so I ended up sitting on the floor at the side of the room (hence the viewpoint in the photo below):

Rich Quick presenting 'Bringing Agile to a £2bn company'.

Rich Quick presenting "Bringing Agile to a £2bn company"

After the break, Martin Rowe's "Scrum: Easy to Understand, But Difficult to Do" [Slides] [Video] described introducing agile principles to an academic organisation (the phrase herding cats springs to mind), and then it was time for more the second part of the sandwichfest.

After lunch Beth and I both headed for Judith Andresen's "Company Culture Under Pressure" [Slides] [Video], in which she described how the dynamics of groups change with size, and techniques which can be used to overcome the communication difficulties which bedevil larger organisations. Her key recommendation was that no group should be larger than 8 people.

Judith Andresen presenting 'Company Culture Under Pressure'.

Judith Andresen presenting "Company Culture Under Pressure"

Next up were Wouter Lagerweij & Ciaran O'Neill presenting "The 'Just Do It' approach to Change Management" [Slides] [Video]:

Wouter Lagerweij presenting 'The 'Just Do It' approach to Change Management'.

Wouter Lagerweij presenting "The 'Just Do It' approach to Change Management" with Ciaran O'Neill


'OK, we're doing it. Now what?'.

"OK, we're doing it. Now what?"

That was the final session of this year's conference, so afterwards it was back into the main auditorium for some very upbeat closing thoughts from the conference organisers. What a couple of days!

On Friday evening there was a gathering for sponsors and speakers at the Wheelhouse, a quite simply amazing shellfish restaurant in Falmouth. Our thanks to Toby Parkins for organising this memorable conclusion to this year's event.

Agile in the Wheelhouse.

Agile in the Wheelhouse

I'm normally a bit squeamish about shellfish, but this was something else entirely. If I had to pick a favourite dish, the mussels in chilli would win hands down!

Beth and I spent the following day exploring the coastal path around Falmouth (I won't bore you with the details, save to suggest that if you go to the conference next year do take the time to wander up to Swanpool and try the ice cream...) and generally winding down. As last year, we rounded up our visit to Cornwall with a conference retrospective over fish & chips from Mariners, a fabulous chippie we discovered in Penryn last year. This year we even remembered to bring the Worcestershire Sauce (if you've never tried it it goes great with fish & chips) and accompanied the meal with a bottle of bubbly...

Riverblade's conference retrospective

Riverblade's conference retrospective was served with line caught Haddock & Chips from Mariners

As a postscript there has since been talk (prompted by my tweeting the above photo) of the Friday night pizza being supplanted by fish & chips next year - cross your fingers!

To sum up: it was a great conference, and here's hoping that Agile on the Beach goes from strength to strength in the future. For more information, please see the links below:

Finally, if you would like to read even more about this year's Agile on the Beach, Chris O'Dell has written a couple of quite detailed blog posts describing her experiences at the conference:

There are links to other blog posts on the Agile on the Beach website at http://agileonthebeach.com/news-2.

Agile on the Beach 2013 Speakers and Sponsors

Agile on the Beach 2013 Speakers & Sponsors
(photo by Toby Weller; reproduced by kind permission of the Conference organisers)

Agile on the Beach 2014 is scheduled for Thursday 4th and Friday 5th September 2014. We hope to see you there!


Posted by Anna at 12:52 | Get Link

 

Agile on the Beach 2013 - #agileotb
Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Agile on the Beach

We are exhibiting at the Agile on the Beach Conference in Falmouth this week (the photo above is from the Beach Party at last year's event).

I'll post some more pictures and info in due course, but in the meantime a glance at the #agileotb Twitter feed should give a feel for the event:

I should be doing a lunchtime session titled "Code Analysis in an Agile World" on Thursday.


Posted by Anna at 21:49 | Get Link