Web Essentials Tackles the Technical Essentials
“We’re geeks, we love to know how to solve the problem, we love to see the code,” says Ken Burcham, Production Manager at Web Essentials.
Technical Essentials is the answer to the question: How can web developers, busy with the day-to-day of coding and programming, find time to share their successes and pass on their technical knowledge to each other?
It was a problem Ken identified few months ago. “There are 22 developers in the Production Team. There wasn’t a dedicated platform to share what they were learning in their projects or share their finished work.”
As a result, Ken established Technical Essentials, held every Friday. The format is simple: three staff speak in “Lightning Rounds” of 10-15 minutes about a technical tool or technique, or about a finished project.
At recent Technical Essentials sessions, staff:
Viewed a demo on Docker and how it could fit into the Web Essentials Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery development process
Learned about customizing a Kickstarter package to reduce the amount of code manually created in TYPO3 Flow. This could help developers to focus on business logic instead of wasting time on simple tasks like localization, etc. To showcase the effectiveness of Scrum, we are always on the lookout for methods to increase the efficiency of our development cycles.
Heard from a team that had just finished a TYPO3 6.2 upgrade project with automation techniques to speed up future upgrades.
Viewed a demo of the Opensource debugger Xdebug for code inspection locally or remotely. Note: Here is an article on "Xdebug and You: Why You Should be Using a Real Debugger”
Ken points to a recent demo where a developer showed a script he had been working on. “It represented probably 100 hours of work. Now we have this script, and by sharing these techniques, it multiples our time. That’s a real key aspect of of continuously improving the efficiency of our sprints.” In order to prove the effectiveness of Scrum, we are always on the lookout for methods to increase the efficiency of our development cycles.
The short presentations are meant to make developers interested in different technical topics and encourage them to learn from one another, says Visay Keo, Quality Manager at Web Essentials.
“The idea of Technical Essentials is not to teach people, but to show them what is possible and show them to ask questions and learn.”
Ken agrees and adds, “Plus, we wanted everyone to grow in their ability to do public speaking, because our teams are increasingly collaborating with our clients and also are sharing their knowledge in the community on conferences and tech events.”
Visay says he will continue to present on more advanced Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment in future Technical Essentials sessions. He also expects Technical Essentials will cover TYPO3 Neos as it continues to mature, and says he thinks others will share various best practices.
Whatever the topics, it’s certain Technical Essentials will continue to be a useful forum for Web Essentials staff to share their knowledge and learn from one another.
As Ken says, “I’ve learned every time.”