Visualise codebase evolution with gource

This rocks.

Instructions for what I did to get it up and running are below. Once you have it, just go into an folder with a git repo and type:


A few minutes later and you are watching your codebase being built by mini avatars. This is an amazing visualisation, just need to work out how it can be used. I suspect that it might help teams to look back over time and see how much things have grown and where all the work goes. Potentially it could be synchronised to other visualisations to explore the history of a codebase.

Nyway, here are my steps to install:

There are instructions on the googlecode site. I’m running OS X and so can install with MacPorts.

First I needed to update and sync my macports. I tried using the port selfupdate but it didnt work for me so I just downloaded and installed the DMG from the ports site, but in theory you should be able to do:

sudo port selfupdate
sudo port sync

Then install.

Also I got

dyld: Library not loaded: /opt/local/lib/libjpeg.62.dylib

So needed to update tiff

sudo port install tiff
sudo port install gource

Hyperia: Adventures in REST at the Manchester Geek Night

I had the pleasure of Presenting at our Manchester Geek Night last night (Slides up at Hyperia).

Here is the abstract for the talk. It was good fun both writing the code and doing the talk. (thanks to Dan for helping to get it over the line with 4 half hour iterations the night before). Thanks to all who attended.

The web has been running for many years at a truly global scale on the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). The architectural style of HTTP, known as Representational State Transfer (REST) has recently become popular as the basis for application protocols, aswell as the ubiquitous browser client.

This talk will showcase a simple framework called “Restfulie” based on the work of Dr. Jim Webber, Ian Robinson and Savas Parastatdis.

The framework consists of a REST client framework, and by default uses the VRaptor web framework for a backend.

The talk will demonstrate the framework using a demonstration application called “Hyper Fantasy”, which is an online implementation of the classic “Fighting Fantasy” books of Steve Jackson ( which provides a convenient metaphor in terms of following links to new resources, and client-side state.

I plan to extend the example and host it on the web. It will go through a rebrand to be called “Hyperia”. There are several possibilities for extension including secure requests, cross language implementation (Ruby and Java) Cloud hosting, multiple servers, caching and iPhone apps.


Installing JRuby with Intellij (OS X)

GET it from

There is a download page, download and exract the tar file somehwere.

I put it in /System/Library/Frameworks/JRuby.framework/jruby-1.5.1

I then created a symbolic link to jruby_current

ln -s jruby-1.5.1/ jruby_current

And then simply add it to my ~/.bash_profile

$vi ~/.bash_profile
export PATH=/System/Library/Frameworks/JRuby.framework/jruby_current/bin:$PATH
#Reload the profile…
$. ~/.bash_profile
#Try out jruby…
$jruby -v
jruby 1.5.1 (ruby 1.8.7 patchlevel 249) (2010-06-06 f3a3480) (Java HotSpot(TM) 64-Bit Server VM 1.6.0_17) [x86_64-java]

Now you can add the JRuby SDK to your Java Module in Intellij:

Now you can have ruby and Java in the same project. Awesome.


Google reader “shared items” plugin for wordpress

I find google reader a useful way to aggregate information from many blogs. Particularly convenient is to be able to read these on my iPhone and then mark them as shared. That way I can build up a list of information I am interested in.

This is then conveniently exposed as an RSS feed by google. You can see my shared items at for example.

I used to have a sidebar on this site which had a snippet directly from google reader, but it was determined to have its own style. I wanted a wordpress plugin that would do it for me and found “Recommended Reading Google Reader” by C. Murray Consulting

Its the nice “READING” section on my sidebar. Thanks guys! You just saved me from writing my own!


Agile North Keynote: Guiding Teams On Mt Agile

I recently (Friday 14th May 2010) gave the closing Keynote at Agile North, a one day conference held up in Preston.

The talk was loosely based around a metaphor of mountain climbing and playing with the analogy of being a consultant on an agile project being like a mountain guide. The idea is that someone who is a mountain guide has many years of experience climbing and coaching people on the mountain.

The talk I think was well recieved and generated quite a bit of interest from people, I think because we were talking about real experiences on our current project.

I co-presented with Mark Crossfield who is the Tech Lead on the team I am Coaching at our current client, AutoTrader, and I felt it was an interesting balance between my “Guide” view and his experience leading a team into an Agile project for the first time.

We covered five short stories about our experiences on the project.

  • Safety First – going beyond CI to pipelines
  • The Walking Skeleton as a metaphor for iterative feature delivery
  • Evolution of the codebase
  • Collective Design
  • Telling the story of the code

The Slide deck is up on slideshare and the talk can be viewed here.

At some point they promise to put up the video of the event at which point I will update this post.