Softwire Blog

David Simons on “When it’s right to be wrong”

24 February 2015, by

At a recent SoftCon talk, David Simons explains how there’s a trade off between speed and accuracy in algorithms, and what this means from a computing perspective.

See his talk here:

24 Pull Requests 2014

20 February 2015, by

As part of our ongoing involvement in the open-source community we here at Softwire spent December getting involved in 24 Pull Requests, an initiative encouraging developers to contribute pull requests to projects they use and love through the run up to Christmas.

It’s always fun getting involved in development on new projects like this, but to add to that we’ve taken to running this as an internal competition, with a £50 prize for the winner and a £10 runner-up prize, plus two £20 prizes for some ‘pull request races’ en route; where a specific easy-to-fix issue in a project is announced, and the first person to put a pull request in fixing it wins.

Tallying up our results, we’ve ended up with some great contributions to a huge variety of projects here, across the team. First, the leaderboard:

Final leaderboard of pull requests:

Jamie Humphries – 9
Tim Perry – 9
Hereward Mills – 4
Dan Corder – 3
Dave Simons – 3
Ed Wagstaff – 2
Harry Cummings – 2
Andy Patterson – 1

Bonus stats:

24 days of pull requests
32 pull requests sent in total
9 people contributed at least one
21 projects got a PR from us, with the big winners being AssertJ, ScriptCS,and Mockito (in that order)
66 commits in total, across all PRs
5 languages – Java, C#, JavaScript, PHP, Ruby (in that order, approximately)
186th out of 7000 organisations – ahead of development teams including the Django, Python and MongoDB, and companies like Twitter, SoundCloud and Heroku.


18 February 2015, by

5572931456_16557895a5_zLast summer, our training interns built a website for running Battleships tournaments. It allows players to upload a bot, which the website then runs against all the other uploaded bots to generate a league table.

The idea was inspired by a tournament we ran a couple years ago. Since then, we’ve asked new starters to write a Battleships bot as a training exercise, but this year, we decided to take the idea a step further and also write a website we could use to run the tournament! The first group of 6 training interns – most of whom had very little experience of programming before they got here – started with just one week of introductory exercises, and over the next couple of weeks wrote the website from scratch. By their final week they had completed enough functionality to run their own tournament, and even had time to add some creative touches – such as an animated gif of a battleship firing cannons as the “loading spinner” image while the match was running. The intern whose ship emerged the victor and took home the coveted prize of … a little T-Rex plushie!

The next group of five interns was faced with the perhaps even more daunting task of picking up where the others left off. They fixed some bugs, improved the efficiency of the league runner, and polished the user interface. The finished product is still being used to run bots written by new starters!

Softwire Comedy Night 2015

11 February 2015, by

A couple of weeks ago Softwire hosted their third annual charity comedy night and it was a rip-roaring success! In an attempt to brighten up blue Monday (the saddest day of the year apparently) and raise awareness of mental health issues, some of Softwire’s very brave staff took to the stage to try their hands at stand-up comedy.

We put on quite a show, which was followed by performances from three professional comedians – a great way to end the evening. This year featured the very witty Hari Sriskantha, hilarious pedant Matt Rees and the ever wonderful Bec Hill. It was a great chance for our amateur comedians to relax post performance.

The final act of the evening was a pie-ing of our Managing Director Zoe, who unfortunately lost a vote between her and two of our other directors, but in the processed helped us raise even money for mind. Between tickets, the voting and the professional comedians very kindly donating their fess we raised over £1000 for Mind. A great effort for a great cause! Well done Softwire!