The London Java Community for the Docklands

Aug 09 2016

Unicode and the Cuddly Throwable Application Server

2016, alex blewitt, appserver, embedded, holly cummins, java, unicode

We are pleased to bring you the thirteenth event of the Docklands.LJC; a group within the main London Java Community that focuses on the developer community in and around Docklands on the 2nd Tuesday of each month. Our speakers this month are Holly Cummins and Alex Blewitt.

Dr. Holly Cummins - The Cuddly Throwable Application Server

Computers are getting small enough and cheap enough that they’re almost disposable. It’s possible to sock computers away almost anywhere, and to connect almost anything to the internet. At the same time, the Java stacks that we know and love are also getting lighter and cheaper. That combination means it’s possible to put a full spec-compliant Java EE server on ridiculously cheap hardware, and then throw it around the room without worrying too much about breaking stuff.

This talk will explore the limits of embeddable hardware, and present a getting-started-guide to the Internet of Things. What’s needed? How much does it cost? What’s the best way of making an embeddable device talk to the internet? And why would you want a throwable application server? As well as hints and tips, there will be a show-and-tell session (or “demo” if you’re discussing with your boss).

Source code is available at if you’d like further information.

The presentation from the event is displayed below:

Dr. Alex Blewitt - A Brief History of Unicode

This talk looks at where Unicode came from, why UTF8 is important, and where character sets have evolved from previous generations. From simple symbols like @ and “ to complex symbols like national flags and Emojis, Unicode has played a part in all new languages since the mid ‘90s.

Java was one of the first languages to pick Unicode as its representation format, and most new languages since have chosen Unicode as their program format. Languages created before have typically found the transition to Unicode difficult or impossible (see Python 3 vs Python 2).

By the end of this talk, you’ll have found out more about Unicode than you ever really wanted to know. But at least you’ll know why you sometimes see ÿþ or þÿ at the start of a document, why Windows sometimes produces , or why a flag can take up to 10 characters to represent.

The presentation is available below:


Alex Blewitt has been working with Java since its initial release in 1995 and been involved in the Eclipse and OSGi communities for over a decade. He was a co-founder of the Docklands LJC, a senior technical architect at Credit Suisse (whom he represented on the JCP committee), and wrote for InfoQ and has published several books on Eclipse and other technologies.

He currently lives in Milton Keynes, and when the weather is nice, has been known to go flying from the local Cranfield airport. Alex blogs at and is on Twitter @alblue.

Holly Cummins is the technical lead of IBM’s Bluemix Garage London, and the former delivery lead for the WebSphere Liberty Profile. She is a co-author of Enterprise OSGi in Action and has spoken at JavaOne, Devoxx, JavaZone, The ServerSide Java Symposium, JAX London, GeeCon, and the Great Indian Developer Summit, as well as a number of user groups.

This event is being hosted by Credit Suisse in London. Sign-up information is available at

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