November Java User Group Tour 2017

Cities visited

This year I had the pleasure to visit multiple Java User Groups in England, Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland. I presented about Eclipse Collections, Java 9 and Robots.

Day 1–25 November 2017: London Java Community (LJC) Unconference:

Central London

I had the opportunity to participate in the LJC Unconference. This year it was disorganized in a JCrete like format. I did an ignite session on How you can support open source projects? I mentioned some aspects like starring a project’s repository, using the project, raising issues and bugs, contributing bug fixes/ enhancements and most importantly documentation. In the last session of the day I did an introduction to Eclipse Collections Kata a fun way to learn Eclipse Collections framework. Then we all headed to a pub close by and continued discussions over a few beers.

Day 2–26 November 2017: Travel to Dublin:

View from Dublin airport

The train to Gatwick was canceled but it did not deter my excitement and I (barely) made it to my flight to Dublin from London. This was my first time in Dublin, I walked around the city and went to a few places suggested by friends. I met them for a nice dinner at a Chinese restaurant, roamed around the city, had Guiness and ended the night with some live Irish folk music and Irish Coffee.

Day 2–27 November 2017: Belfast Java User Group:

Belfast

I took a short, comfortable and scenic bus ride to Belfast from Dublin. I did manage to get some sleep and arrived refreshed near Belfast city center. After having a quick lunch, I checked in at my AirBnb and assembled the robots for the presentation in the evening. I roamed around the city, strolled around in the Belfast Christmas market and enjoyed few delicacies. I met one of the organizers before the presentation for a quick pint and he presented the Belfast JUG coffee mug to me. I presented Robots for Kid in Us and API Design of Eclipse Collections. We had good discussions around how we choose to evolve our API and decisions which we take while adding any new API. The night ended with a Guiness at Bittles Bar.

Day 3–28 November 2017: Dublin Java User Group:

Dublin

I took a bus back to Dublin and checked in at my AirBnb close to Temple Bar. I met the organizer of DubJUG and enjoyed some much needed and filling lunch. With about 3 hours left to spend, I wandered to the Jameson Distillery, took a tour and headed over for my presentations on Collections.compare and How to make your project Java 9 compatible. I ended up presenting for more than 3 hours. One unique thing by audience demand I did was, explained how we code generate all the primitive collections in Eclipse Collections. The night ended with Jameson and some Irish folk music.

Day 4–29 November 2017: Edinburgh Java User Group:

Edinburgh

I traveled via flight to Edinburgh from Dublin. I had a traditional lunch of Haggis and mash with the only Java Champion in Scotland and walked around Edinburgh. I strolled around Edinburgh, watched a live march, went whiskey/scotch tasting and got ready for the presentation in the evening. The meet up was kicked off by one of the organizers of Edinburgh JUG with a discussion about What’s new with Java. I followed with Collections.compare. We went to a pub right down the street discussed more about Java and a bit about politics. After that I headed to Whisky bar for some lively Scottish music and ended the night with Balvenie.

Day 5–30 November 2017: Manchester Java Community (MJC):

Manchester

The day started with a tasty, filling and traditional Scottish breakfast. After a brisk walk to Edinburgh Waverley station I was ready to board the train to Manchester, but, the train was canceled! I was put on a different train with a connection at Preston. I reached Manchester Piccadilly station late afternoon and enjoyed delicious lunch at Kabana. I met one of the organizers of Manchester Java Community, we had met at JCrete in 2016 and have since been friends. In autumn, he convinced me to visit and present at MJC and thus the organization of the JUG tour began. I presented Collections.compare and How to make your project Java 9 compatible. It was very well received and we continued our discussions at Piccadilly Tap and ended the night with some local ale.

Day 6–1 December 2017: West Midlands Java User Group (WMJUG):

Birmingham

I had lunch at Kabana (again) and headed to Birmingham from Manchester via train. No train delays this time yay! This was the last JUG I was scheduled to present on this trip. I stored my bags at the meet-up location and set out for a walk around Birmingham. I love to walk and explore whenever I am visiting a new place. I stumbled across a Needless Alley 2, I didn’t call it needless, it was named so! Next time I visit Birmingham I do want to search for Needless Alley 1. The walk around Birmingham was relaxing as I reflected about the JUG tour and was happy with the way it turned out. I headed back to meet up location and presented Collections.compare and Robots for Kid in Us. After the presentation, I walked over to Birmingham International station for my train to London. As always the bad luck with trains continued and the train was delayed by more than an hour. However, I was happy, excited and content by the success of JUG tour and train delays could not crush my spirit. Finally, the train arrived and I was London bound.

Day 7,8–2,3 December 2017: Hanging out with friends in London:
If you go to a different place and don’t meet your friends, I don’t call that visiting. I met my friends from London, watched a Premier League match at a local pub, tasted some fresh brew at a micro-brewery, enjoyed a delicious and filling Sunday Roast and of course had fish and chips.

I headed home after a successful JUG tour and will definitely do it again next year. I would like to thank the organizers of London JC (Twitter: ljcjug), Belfast JUG (Twitter: BelfastJUG), Dublin JUG (Twitter: DubJug), Edinburgh JUG (Twitter: edinburghjava), Manchester JC (Twitter: mcrjava), West Midlands JUG (Twitter: wm_jug). I would also like to thank all my friends for their support, timely feedback, encouragement, tweets, emails and chats. I would like to thank everyone who starred the Eclipse Collections Repository and showed their support. Last but not the least, a very big thank you to everyone who attended and supported me!

In this short travelogue I tried to describe my experience, but honestly I did not come even close to the real awesome experience. In the future I plan to do JUG tours across different countries.

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