February 12, 2014

Sharing Craft at RedMonk’s Monki Gras 2014


Perforce sponsors an event called “Monki Gras”, a two-day long software development conference run by analyst firm RedMonk (www.redmonk.com) in London. The event this year was held in the Village Hall in Shoreditch under the topic “Sharing Craft” - and I was lucky enough to be able to attend and represent Perforce.

Building on last year’s theme of “scaling craft” this year’s event was looking at how craft can be shared. Monki Gras is unique in its approach because all kinds of crafts are celebrated, including the making and consuming of artisan beer and coffee, the latter sponsored by Perforce. Many software startups are essentially artisans so can lessons be learned in the software development area from these other areas?

Several talks stuck out for me, particularly looking at the trends within Perforce.

Interestingly, even large organizations such as IBM have lessons to learn and to share. Phil Gilbert of Design@IBM talked about how IBM is putting design into the centre of everything at IBM, which involves re-educating at least a quarter of the workforce (of 400,000) one group at a time. Expect future IBM products to look and feel very different to what you are used to. This intrigued me since we at Perforce are ourselves going through a design revamp. Have you seen how beautiful and easy to use Perforce Swarm is?

Other speakers from companies that have seen massive growth from startup to established players such as Etsy shared their experience. An important channel for sharing is community relations, especially when software tool vendors work with their customers – developers or operations staff. Dawn Foster is Community Manager of PuppetLabs and used the power of Science Fiction movies to explain how PuppetLabs supports their community. PuppetLabs’ community is huge and alive with activity and it was interesting to see how they manage this.

Perforce itself has had an active community for years, but we are increasing our support with thanks to the help of our own Matt Attaway (@p4mataway). Check out his post "New Home for Perforce Open Source Development".

Elaine Lennox is CMO at Zend and her presentation focused on Continuous Delivery, a topic that is very much at the heart of what Perforce is about. The key messages I took away for myself:

  • Version control is the base of continuous delivery.
  • But version control does not mean just the code.

Besides the techie talks there were a couple of presentations by decidedly non-techie presenters, which nonetheless grabbed the audience. @thegentleauthor talked about his blog of Spitalfield life (connection to craft are all the artisans he meets there). Dominick Tyler spoke about the Landreader project to rediscover old names for landscape features such as “zawn”. If, for nothing else, this talk should have been useful to the Scrabble players among the audience!

If you want to get a feeling of the event take a look here

The audience was mostly Git and GitHub centric and it was interesting to learn what drove the developers into that direction, which turned out to be mostly “workflow”. Swarm builds on experience from GitHub, Gerrit and other tools and Git users can happily work side-by-side with Perforce users. I think we’ve got a great workflow that the audience will want to try out. We like to call this “social coding.” Take a look at the Swarm product page for more information and try it out yourself.

I’m already looking forward to MonkiGras 2015. Can’t wait!