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Getting there from here: Java, Scala and Service Orientation at the Guardian

Getting there from here: Java, Scala and Service Orientation at the Guardian

Technical leaders within the Guardian will provide a snapshot in thelife of the codebase of one of the UK's most popular news websites. Each day produces hundreds of articles, pictures, videos and podcasts that are read and enjoyed by millions of people. Currently we are in the unique place of having a hybrid Scala and Java codebase and being in the middle of a migration from a monolith architecture to one that is more service-orientated.

Our current position creates some interesting dilemmas in how we choose to implement things, some parts of the system are a tradition Spring/Hibernate/Oracle stack while other parts are pure Scala and there are other flows that alternate between Scala and Java.

-Michael Brunton-Spall, technical lead of the Guardian's Content API will be talking about pragmatic application of function programming principles.

-Robert Rees, technical lead of the public-facing website will be explaining how the code base is divided between Scala and Java, go through some of the decision making processes of how and where we make changes to the code and also offer practical advice about using the Google Guava library to do functional programming in Java.

-Phil Wills will be closing out the talks by giving the architectural roadmap as to how we are transforming our application.

Who should attend:

This talk is aimed squarely at senior, experienced practioners: lead developers, architects and team leads. We'll be talking about strategy, pragmatism and the realities of dealing with a big code base with a huge global audience. However it might well appeal broadly to
people who are interested in digital media and distributing content on the internet as well as Guardian fans who are curious as to how we actually get their daily news to them.


Phil Wills: Phil is a software architect at the Guardian who has spent long enough eating his own dog food to realise that it's not always someone else's incompetence that leads to an imperfect solution. Phil firmly believes that architects should regularly get their fingers dirty in code and hacks some Scala whenever he gets the chance.

Robert Rees: Robert is currently a development manager at the Guardian and has been a startup founder, agile consultant and SMS billing subject matter expert. Currently he is responsible for breaking the Guardian website every fortnight. He loves the opportunity to work in news and driving games.

Michael Brunton-Spall: Michael is the Developer Advocate for the Guardian. He has worked at the Guardian for five years now, helping to build and scale the website. He has helped setup and run the platform team that managed internal, behind the scenes, performance and scalability issues. Michael is now the Tech Lead for the Guardian Open Platform which ensures that he doesn't have to inflict his code on people very often anymore. He also speaks at conferences, organises conferences, supports users of the API's and plays various board, card, tabletop and computer games.


18:30: Doors Open
19:00: 'Getting there from here: Java, Scala and Service Orientation at the Guardian' presented by Michael Brunton-Spall, Robert Rees and Phil Wills (three 30 minute talks) Also lightning talks between the main talks - subjects to be confirmed asap
20:30: Networking at the IBIS

Please note:

This event is being held in the Medical Sciences AV Hill Lecture Theatre at UCL.

Please see this map:

The lecture theatre is in the Medical Sciences Building which is found at the very end of Malet Place, off Torrington Place.

Informal after event drinks will be held at: Hotel Ibis - London, Euston, St Pancras' - 3 Cardington Street, London, NW1 2LW - for networking and further informal discussion.

Event organised by RecWorks

Join or login to comment.

  • Emeka K.

    Thanks Robert. I guess this makes sense.

    October 12, 2012

  • Miguel G.

    Does anybody now how to find more information about the scala hack day they were talking about?

    October 11, 2012

  • Emeka K.

    While I have not done a lot of Scala, I did find this quite interesting to see what is out there and the different challenges other organisations are facing.

    However, I will say that I was expecting to hear more about Service Orientation. To find out (through a listener question) that it was simply decided not to use this and move on, is most disappointing, given the title of the lecture. No mention as to what was wrong with service orientation and why it didn't work for this enterprise was made.

    October 11, 2012

    • Robert R.

      Apologies if you felt the topic wasn't dealt with in enough depth. I think we were trying to say that we are deeply committed to the idea of service-orientation as a way of cracking our monolith. Our service orientation is based on the idea of the microapp. A microapp that provides, say TV listings, can exist separately from the rest of the site and provides a complete service to anything else that wants to consume it. Decoupling everything we do this way is an ongoing work of sometime daunting scale but it is what should solve our problems long term.

      October 11, 2012

  • nic

    ah think it might be this:

    1 · October 11, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Very easy

    October 11, 2012

  • Thomas M.

    Good talks, fun, could have done with more technical content, started earlier than advertised!

    October 11, 2012

  • Samantha h.

    It was a great turn out and a very enjoyable event

    October 11, 2012

  • nic

    I was also sorry to miss the first talk. Someone mentioned a longer version of the same talk was available online somewhere - anyone have the link?

    October 11, 2012

  • Emeka K.

    Good insight into issues in the organisation. Good case made of Java and Scala. Useful insight given as to the mindsets of scientists, engineers and pragmatists.

    However, not much mentioned with regards to Service Orientation. No mention as to why it was looked into, why the decision was made regarding this and what factors affected this decision.

    October 11, 2012

  • Anji C.

    Hi all, Please accept my apologies for this. We were expecting to have some lightning talks at the beginning of the event but we didn't have any sign up so started 15 minutes earlier. Unfortunately I didn't change the time on the event page/what to expect mail out. Totally my fault so huge apologies! I hope the rest of the event made up for this and it didn't ruin your night.


    October 11, 2012

  • Alain Q

    The talk started before 7PM like advertised, so I missed the first part. The talks were very interesting but I would have liked to hear a bit more on the architecture.

    October 11, 2012

  • Chris B.

    Enthusiastic talks. Would have liked to have heard a bit more about the architecture rather than just how great Scala is.

    October 11, 2012

  • Richard H.

    Event was advertised to start @ 19:00 but it looks like the first talk started @ 18:30, so I ended up missing around 15-20m, as did a bunch of people who walked in at the same time as me. Apart from that it was very informative, thanks!

    October 10, 2012

  • Michael B.

    Interesting, but a shame it started before the advertised time!

    October 10, 2012

  • Michael B.

    I was among many who turned up after 6.30 expecting the talks to begin at 7 as advertised - but the first talk was already in progress. Disappointing. What happened?

    October 10, 2012

  • Anji C.

    If anyone would like to give any lightning talks at this event, let me know and I'll organise them. Thanks, Anji [masked]

    September 21, 2012

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