I was in Abertawe (Swansea in English), UK for the entire past week and must admit it was an unbelievable experience – language-, travel- and migration-wise. I had no time for sightseeing so I can say nothing about the town itself.
It was an amazing project from the very beginning till its end (meaning its end while I was on-site).
On Friday I received a short notice of a potential engagement in the UK and had a mere couple of hours for travel arrangements to be ready for Monday the next week. I knew the travel would require more than a flight from Warsaw to Swansea, and eventually ended up with a flight from Warsaw (PL) to Munich (DE) and then to Birmingham (UK) to hop onto a train from the airport (Birmingham International [BHI]) to Birmingham New Street [BHM] and another one to Newport (South Wales) [NWP] and yet another, third train change to Swansea [SWA]. It took me about 9 hours to reach the hotel in Swansea. I didn’t feel exhausted at all. The travel went out very well and nothing unexpected happened. Overall, leaving aside the time it took, it was quite pleasant journey.
Some people suggested to have rent a car instead, but I didn’t feel prepared yet to drive the opposite side of the road. That would’ve led to a serious injury.
As the project was in Wales I could enjoy the lovely British accent with some flavour of Welsh. I didn’t know that Wales have their own language which is far, far away from English. I could understand no word while listening to the announcements while awaiting a train or on the train. They say it’s German-influenced language, but I couldn’t notice it in its written or spoken forms (I used to speak German).
The project was meant to migrate an application from WebLogic with Oracle DB to WebSphere AS with DB2 and although I had a chance to pick the version, I didn’t consider myself good enough to try out the latest V8.5 release (not even given a try with the Liberty Profile which was possible provided the libraries used).
The application consisted of 2 parts – the web frontend (with Spring MVC as the backbone) and the backend with a few EJBs, JAX-WS Web Services and a few places for some proprietary Oracle JDBC code. I had to leave when the frontend worked fine on a standalone WAS V8 and there were some issues with data in DB2. I wished I had worked a week more (which I later was told I would remotely).
I was working with two software developers who knew the code very well. They were in charge of the code with me responsible for a proper configuration of WebSphere AS.
5 days of intensive collaboration between 3 people and 2 others responsible for DB2 and other two to help us in general project matters gave me a nice opportunity to master my English. I need to unPolish my English to polish it finally :) I’m playing with words as I’m Polish and the accent was more Polish than English, and hence the “unpolish” part. I finally understood that speaking the proper accent actually helps a lot while mastering the language.
The project used to start at 8 in the morning and close around 6 or later in the afternoon/evening. I was amazed how little time I spent working with my own computer and so long with the other laptops where the environment was laid out. I was really into the job and jotted down lots of ideas for future articles with WebSphere AS V8 as the application server platform for Java EE applications. It brought quite a few positive surprises!
BTW, Have you noticed that the IBM WebSphere Application Server V8.5 Liberty Profile doesn’t require an developerWorks account whatsoever? It’s now so simple to download as the other open source offerings (!) Try it out yourself and report issues in the WASdev developerWorks forum.