NLJUG gives away free Spring courses
Monday 26 February 2007 @ 1:53 pm
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On my new job all Java consultants have a NLJUG membership. So when I joined the party I was given a NLJUG membership too. The name did ring a bell but a very faint one, so I decided to check out their website. NLJUG is a Dutch community of java developers. The first thing that caught my eye on their website was a Spring course given by or at least sponsored by NLJUG. The Spring framework caught my attention some time ago, but I never got around getting familiar with it. I decided that it was time to get acquainted with the Spring framework. This was a great opportunity and one other advantage of the course was that is free of charge.  

There are a few things they would like to know about every possible participant, like how many years of Java experience you have and how much time you have for exercises. After I send them an email telling them I had lots and lots of time and that I was really interested in learning Spring I had to wait and see if the would take the bait. After two week I got an email from NLJUD in which they congratulated me with my enrollment in the Spring course. I was told that I was very lucky with my enrollment, because there was a lot of response for this course. I think the exaggerated a bit but the important thing was I could participate and I was looking forward to it.
The course was given by two experienced Spring developers who would lead us into the world of Spring. Our teachers had there work cut out for them. The entire course consists of four study sessions followed by a session in which we would get our certificate, something like a graduation day. Every study session would treat one specific subject.

  • Day one:    Power to the POJO.
  • Day two:    Spring for the Web.
  • Day three: Connecting your database.
  • Day four:   Remoting.

Every study session has three or four exercises attached to it. Because there the study sessions are two weeks apart there’s enough time to finish the exercises and send them in for evaluating.
There is a website for everybody who participates in the course. Here you can download the sheets shown on the study sessions, view the exercises and afterwards view the solutions. There is even a page where you can view your progress and that of everybody else. It shows your score for every solution you have provided and a big red cross for every exercise you failed or forgot to turn in. Some exercises are not mandatory and it turns out hardly anybody provides solutions for them. I don’t know if it is just a lack of time but at the end only three of us have provided solutions for almost all exercises.  

According to the teachers the first exercises should take about eight hours. Maybe it’s my inexperience with a XML configurable frameworks but it took me a bit more. After a little fight with Tomcat and Eclipse I’m ready to go. The first exercise is about configuring and wiring Spring beans. It turns out the sheets shown during the first day do not contain enough information to make the exercises. Luckily someone advised me to buy “Java Development with the Spring Framework” and after reading the first chapters the exercises were a piece of cake.  

This course of action seems to work very well for me. In the two weeks in-between courses I read the chapters that are covering the subjects of the next study session. It makes the study sessions easy to follow and it gives me the opportunity to ask questions about parts I did completely understand. Another advantage is that the exercises are not as abstract as they were the first time. It still takes quite some time to make all the exercises, but after the first exercise of the week is complete, the other exercises are more or less easy going.  

The final session was a more of a meeting. Most participants took the time to come together in Hilversum to conclude the Spring course. We discussed the last exercises for a short time and then it was time for drinks and snacks. The rest of the time was spent on talk about our experiences in general and with the course we just finished. Most people we quite satisfied with the sessions that were provided. After we thanked them for there time and effort it was time to go home, with a certificate telling us we know something bout Spring.  

Looking back at the Spring course I think it was worth my time. The exercises gave me insight in how to use Spring. The study sessions were a bit too long for my taste, especially because they were three hour evening sessions in Utrecht. If you planned to participate in the next course somewhere in spring 2007, you should ask yourself if you are willing to spend some time making exercises. If not I suggest you get yourself a good book, cause the study session alone are probably not worth your time.  

— By Jan Peter Ruiter   Comments (0)   PermaLink

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