mr mann's mishmash

it's just a game of give and take…

DevOps. It’s a term that is being frequently voiced in enterprise software development nowadays, having received strong support from the grassroots development community for a couple of years. DevOps is the marriage of Development and Operations, but some people fail to recognise the potential of this union and most still misunderstand its role within the organisation.

So on a welcome return visit to the The Developers Group (DG) on May 15th, I gave an introduction to DevOps, explaining what it is, what it hopes to achieve and how to introduce it. In fact, sometimes it is just recognising that you’re already doing elements of DevOps without you knowing, especially for the smaller development shops and lean start-ups who tend to have the more hands on approach and are less susceptible to enforce divisions between development and operations tasks. My slide deck of the day is below.


Summary: Introducing DevOps
In this increasingly competitive and demanding world, businesses are adapting by adopting lean and agile principles. Those that rely heavily on IT systems put pressure to keep up system stability and availability yet demand an ever growing list of new features and configurations with tighter deadlines and limited resources. Something has to give, right? Well, DevOps is one of the key roles to help balance out these demands and has been slowly gaining momentum to the point that it is now becoming a recognised and essential player in mainstream IT. This session will give you a primer into the world of DevOps – what it is and what it hopes to achieve in your business.

Install Microsoft Silverlight


My slides are normally hosted in my “SilverSlide” viewer; so if you don’t have Silverlight, the HTML version below should work but is still in beta!

Many thanks to Pete who was the DG host-of-the-day and Joanna for inviting me back. The other sessions of the day might be on the DG website.

On the 23rd June, I presented to The Developers Group (DG) again, this time, on the subject of cloud computing. I’m actually very glad I had the opportunity to do this, since it has helped me reassess the constantly shifting landscape of cloud providers and the features/capabilities/offerings available right now. This has been important since I’m finding a lot of my time is providing “cloud advisory” to clients, that is to say: technical architecture consultancy weighing up the use of cloud computing for businesses.

I have to admit that the slide deck that I compiled was a bit on the wordy side and a lot of the time I picked on only a couple of points on the more busy slides. You should have been there to hear the commentary!! But for those that did not make it to the event, the slides are set out below.


Slides: Cloud Aspirations? your options… – by Mark Mann.

Install Microsoft Silverlight


Note: In the time between presenting this session and sending up this post, Google came out with a little surprise… they’ve announced a new IaaS capability called Google Compute Engine. There is a slide in my deck which broadly explains the capability and foibles of Google App Engine (which is their quirky PaaS offering) and I stand by my statements and commentary. Google Compute Engine will bring Google into the realm of Amazon AWS (already established as a IaaS leader) and Windows Azure (whom announced IaaS recently too) with raw computing power in the form of virtualised Linux machines.


Many thanks to the DG hosts (Jason and Joanna) for inviting me back. The other sessions of the day might be on the DG website.

For the last couple of meetings of the Silverlight UK User Group (both October 2011 and March 2012), I alluded to the fact that Silverlight was slipping behind the corporate firewall. Coupled with the strategic shift from Microsoft with respect to preferring a plugin-less browser environment for it’s Windows8 line-up and it’s no wonder that fewer and fewer consumer websites are using Silverlight.

Silverlight remains to be the web delivery mechanism of choice to the financial sector, since it is easier to build and maintain highly dynamic, data-visualisation UIs that boast a better performance / threading model than running HTML / CSS / JavaScript applications in a browser. However due to the secretive and proprietary nature of these applications, there is nobody willing to demo or talk about them in any useful depth.

BBC Testcard_F[1]With Silverlight’s evolution beyond browser plug and Windows Phone, the focus is starting to shift towards Windows8 and WinRT. The momentum is slowly building, but many people are reserving judgement over Microsoft’s strategy for yet another framework. This means that the once vibrant pool of speakers to talk about Silverlight has steadily dried up over the last 6 months. In fact this predicament started to show itself since the our meeting in October 2011.

I guess the Silverlight UK User Group [SLUGUK] has had a pretty decent run since April 2008 and has always stayed apace with the countless product announcements and conference news. SLUGUK has contributed to the London developer community and managed to run alongside other generalist and specialist groups such as the London .NET User Group [DNUG], the Canary Wharf User Group [CWDNUG] and the Windows Phone 7 User Group [WPUG] and I would whole-heartedly recommend that you attend or support those groups too. Overlap with these groups was never a concern but I don’t want to be regurgitating material for the sake of holding a meeting.

SLUGUK Reset button?Despite an enthusiastic number of members asking when the next SLUGUK will be… I don’t know; for now. The future of this user group is not to be written off, but I’m going to declare the SLUGUK is on holiday for the forthcoming summer and aims to return when the roadmap to Windows8 becomes clear. I imagine that the Silverlight UK User Group will evolve into a new subject group, that can will embrace browser plugin, desktop, phone and tablet alike, but until then, stay tuned.


I would like to thank the continual support of Microsoft, EMC and the members of SLUGUK, throughout the years. It was always motivating to know that SLUGUK played an important part in the education and community aspects of developer life. That’s why when SLUGUK returns, it returns for the right reasons.

avatar_meetupSLUGUK was getting bogged down in an unhealthy mix of inflexible blogs blog engines, spreadsheets and emails, when it came to the business of managing events. So SLUGUK moved to something a bit more fancy at where we wanted to spring clean our mailing lists. So although we’re in a period of hiatus, the site is still up and running.

Many members of the Silverlight UK User Group are on twitter, thus both myself and Michelle use it as our primary method of getting the relevant community or technology news out to the masses. So follow us if you like or take a look at the twitter hashtag we adopted, so that all the Silverlight UK User Group related stuff is neatly huddled together: