Java Posse Roundup – A winter trek

Matt Brandt

Crested Butte, Colorado

By several orders of magnitude this year’s Java Posse Roundup was more interesting and engaging than the previous year. In large part due to my increased comfort attending an OpenSpace event, primarily, as a participant it is up to me to infuse energy into the event even when I am not a subject expert, let alone a novice on a topic.

Definition of a participant

I’ve learned to respect the law of two feet, to be a participant in each discussion I attend or leave and find a session that does interest me.

Why attend:

I enjoy working with driven people who are drivers in technology who want to push the envelope on technical topics. Pushing the envelope often means making a lot of mistakes while moving forward and trusting the group your working with to support mistake making in order to make relentless forward progress. Each person while not an expert – remember the goal is to break new technical ground – adds a small piece of vital knowledge when working towards solving a difficult puzzle.

I’ve learned over the years that small gatherings of self-driven people are fair more interesting to work with than attending events where I’m spoken at. I find that if I’m going to travel to an event my time is often better invested in events like this one. Events where participants are being spoken at are great for leaning and being exposed to concepts/new tech/etc, however I can usually find the talks online and watch them at my leisure.

To get the most out the Posse Roundup you must participate. This is an event that enables the formation of relationships.

Discussions wanted to have:

  • Continuous delivery vs. continuous deployment: risk analysis and measuring quality
  • Community engagement strategies and measuring success
  • Host a hack session on building and testing Firefox OS apps
  • Learn what others are doing: test plans, manual testing, automation, tools, definitions of community
  • Get involved in other participants hack sessions and be exposed to new frameworks, tools, thought processes, etc
  • Work with the local high school to involve students in the hack sessions
  • Learn how to build a snow cave

Snow cave building

Take aways:

  • Docker – Very cool containers! I have thoughts on how Web QA can leverage this, Docker coupled with PaaS has some interesting potential. Future blog post to come.
  • Continuous Deployment – None of the organizations I spoke with know how to do this well. At best, groups are comfortable with continuous delivery – delivery of artifacts that are in theory ready for deployment at any time. Netflix has convened a new team devoted to exploring this space. Future blog post to come.
  • Rust – Much enthusiasm for this language. Can Mozilla do more to engage the community outside of locations like Silicon Valley?
  • Monads – Definitely wtf .. I have no idea what they are and what the people in the room were talking about, but it was interesting non-the-less.
  • OpenSpaces Board – Rails has definitely matured since I last used it although once we moved into the realm of needing to do interesting things with it – web sockets & click binding – it got interesting. View code we worked on – OpenSpacesBoard
  • What makes a good development process – this was one of my favorite sessions; future blog post to come.
  • Web Mapping & GIS – Storing and querying Lat/Long data is error prone and inefficient; GeoHashing isn’t. The Mozillians project will directly benefit from this. There are many good apis.
  • Building a snow cave – it’s not for the claustrophobic

Session I attended:

(full listing of session)


  • Identify sessions and place them into time slots
  • Continuous delivery vs. continuous deployment: risk analysis and measuring quality
  • Take a break and build a snow cave


  • Working remote; the good, the bad, & the ugly
  • What makes a good development process
  • I hate logins – modern authentication
  • Open Sourcing corporate code

Wednesday Hackathon:

  • OpenSpaces Board web app
  • Introduction to Marionette
  • Haskell hacking
  • Cross-country skiing


  • New Organization Structures
  • Branching out – Venturing beyond the JVM (Rust, Go, etc)
  • Monads WTF


  • TDD Overrated?
  • Continuous Deployment: putting it all together – CI, Puppet, Chef, orchestration, metrics
  • Web Mapping & GIS
  • What now for the Web (HTML 5, CSS, Javascript etc)

More to come in future posts.