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Dev of the Week: James Betteley

07.09.2014
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Every week here and in our newsletter, we feature a new developer/blogger from the DZone community to catch up and find out what he or she is working on now and what's coming next. This week we're talking to James Betteley, London-based build and release engineer, rugby player, and cyclist. Some of his most recent DZone posts include:

James also wrote our popular Refcard on Deployment Automation Patterns.

1.   What have you been working on lately?

At the moment I'm working with a couple of fellow DevOps evangelists (Matthew Skelton and John Clapham) running a workshop called "Experience Devops". It's an interactive workshop designed to give people a taste of how to move from the traditional "over-the-wall" environment to a devops culture. In my day job I'm currently trying to squeeze a 1.5TB SQL database onto an Azure vm. It's... challenging.

2.   I take it you don't like "ready for" columns on kanban boards. Are there any other trends when it comes to Agile and DevOps that developers would be better off without?

Yeah, my current bug-bear is with agile systems being applied as if they were some sort of "One Size Fits All" solution. Even a system as prescriptive as scrum needs to be adapted and changed to suit different organisations, or even different teams in the same organisation. Quite often teams and individuals are restricted by over-zealous application of processes in the name of "agile", and this is totally *not* agile. And don't even get me started on SAFe!

3.   Are there any particular developer tools or resources you couldn't live without?

Back when I was writing C# it would have been Intellisense. I think we all know why (I wasn't very good). These days I'm all about infrastructure automation, so I'm a bit in love with Chef and Vagrant.

4.   Do you have a favorite open source project (or projects) that you've contributed to recently?

My colleague Ed Dipple has been contributing to Serverspec, which he's helping to expand in the Windows world. I haven't contributed anything myself, but it's working well for us and it's already saving us untold hours every week.

5.   Do you follow any blogs or Twitter feeds that you would recommend to developers?

I probably spend a little too much time reading other people's blogs! I love the Netflix Tech Blog, they're doing some really cool stuff and they like to share it too! Facebook's engineering blog is also choc-full of great ideas, most of which are so simple that I invariably end up kicking myself for not thinking of them first.

6.   Did you have a coding first love -- a particular program, gadget, game, or language that set you on the path to life as a developer?

I once spent some very long days at work writing an ASCII art program in VB. I was obsessed with it. It wasn't what I was meant to be doing at at the time, so my boss wasn't best pleased when all I had to show for several weeks of working on a big project was an ASCII art picture of my dog.

7.   Is there anything else you'd like to mention?

I'm currently helping to launch www.devopsninjas.com, which will hopefully evolve into a great devops resource centre, and I'm also really looking forward to contributing to an upcoming book on Continuous Delivery and Devops, with Steve Smith and Matthew Skelton (for more info see http://buildqualityin.com/)


Thanks, James!

Check out James' blog and Twitter!