[XSL-LIST Mailing List Archive Home] [By Thread] [By Date]

Re: [xsl] XSLT contracts in London available...

Subject: Re: [xsl] XSLT contracts in London available...
From: ihe onwuka <ihe.onwuka@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 18 May 2012 15:09:38 +0100

It is only fair that people know what they are stepping into. Plus
certain things are being hinted.

First of all, I sounded this warning because in addition to my
experience, I spoke to a recruiter this morning who also had dealings
with them. In this case the person they were trying to recruit turned
them down even though they were out of work (obviously far smarter
than yours truly). I don't know why the person turned them down but
following that conversation, I would suggest you make the effort to
peruse Brickendon's  filings at companies house and make sure you are

Lets start with getting paid. Brickendon terminated my contract (there
I said it) ...see later for details.. I tried to get paid by the
agency, the agent  said you have to have timesheets completed but I
couldn't get into their timesheet system the very same agent (heck
let's name them - RedRock Consulting) had disabled my login from the

So  I had to go to a director of the agency to have the login
re-enabled, sent the timesheets to Brickendon who refused to approve
them for 2 weeks.
I kept getting excuses, that Brickendon were waiting  to get paid
(whats that got to do with me) at the end of the month. The end of the
month came and went and my timesheets weren't approved and the agency
refused to pay me. So I had to get the bank to put pressure on
Brickendon (who still tried to mess me around by telling the bank I'd
be paid in their billing cycle) before I eventually got paid without
having my timesheet ever approved.

AFAIK Brickendon could have billed for me and refused to approve my
timesheet... where would I be then?

Still want to read on.

I had interviewed with one of the publishers and was waiting for the
outcome. Just before their offer came through Brickendon poached me
from under their noses. Ok thats my stupid fault.

Brickendon told me they needed 6 people (this was on a Thursday to
start Monday). I asked them where they thought they were going to get
them from and he said they think they can find them, did I know any
interview questions they should ask.

I gave them a list of questions .... the sort that would filter out
the Java and .net devs who always apply thinking they can do XSLT.
Some of  the questions I put on there were

what does xsl:import do and
how do you override a template rule.

They thanked me and sent me a test from http://www.ikmnet.com/ and
asked me to evaluate it, it contained lots of Java and Ajax questions
but apparently they were only interested in the XSLT score.

Before I joined ,, just after Easter I asked them whether they had
managed to recruit good staff, they said yes all the guys scored high
on the test.

I started and met the other devs, none of whose names I recognised
from the XML community. At break I asked who else was an XSLT
specialist they all said none of them were. By the end of the day I
realised t they were going to have to be trained and I spoke to the MD
of Brickendon. We were hanging around with no desks and no pc's
anyway. I  told him that I would bring in my training presentations
and give that seeing as we were alll waiting for logins.

I have a presentation I have developed for experienced OO developers
who have dabbled in XSLT . I usually start with  (These are the
monsters in my closet or How not to use XSLT) because it resonates
with how they are used to writing code.Then I give my own presentation
in which I try to relate XSLT to what they know from OO programming
(inheritance,  overriding, multiple dispatch) etc and teach the push

In the past I have given this talk and gotten through it in 90
minutes. With these guys it took all day.

"Why do we have to learn the built-in rules, we don't need that"

"Yes but we can do that with for-each".

etc etc

Then there were tools, or lack thereof. We couldn't have Oxygen so I
recommended Kernow to them. Andrew's tool. They said they couldn't use
it. So I bought my own license from Andrew and demoed it.

We went to a talk where a developer was explaining what he had done on
a previous phase. He said the code had to be monolithic I asked him
what about imports, and got a blank confused look.

Some of you may recall a post


Thats where it came from.

Same developer starts sending out edicts, we should use XSLT 1.0
because 2.0 is memory intensive. We should use XALAN. You can learn
XSLT from tutorials on w3school.com So I tell the MD of Brickendon the
guy obviously wasn't an XSLT developer and we shouldn't be careful
about following what he says.

He keeps going on about how well the guys did on the test (which they
all took at home). I told him I don't know about that but none of them
could answer any of the questions I gave. It was apparent that it was
going to be me and 5 devs who were going to be learning XSLT from
w3schools.com (btw anybody seen the spoof site w3fools.com) as they
went along.

I could go on to some of the things these devs told me that frankly
shocked me (or is it my innocent naivete).

Anyway I encouraged the  programme manager to consider bringing XProc
on to the project because there was some workflow processing that had
been identified in the course of which I let mentioned being the only
specialist on the project. In the afternoon Brickendon's MD comes and
asks me not to run things by him first and not send to  the programme
manager. I said ok then in the at the end of the day he says he's
terminating my contract, following which I have this long drawn out
song and dance trying to get paid.

I discovered Andrew was my replacement (well he's blameless there),
looks to me like Brickendon found him from my Kernow recommendation.
It's  a great tool and fair play to him for writing it.

In my view they don't have an environment to support XSLT development.
I can't discern any XML knowledge Brickendon possess - (heck they were
asking me what questions they should ask) and they thought they could
find 6 XSLT devs in a day.

In my experience people usually jump at the opportunity to get a bit
of XSLT training, not these guys maybe thats changed. I'm told they on
the grapevine they were now trying to get someone in to deliver

So no can't say it's a perfectly normal client. I've never in the past
had to wait 2 days much less 2 weeks for timesheet approval. I've
never encountered devs who didn't want to learn a new technology, I've
never before had reason to believe that a client was trying to avoid
paying me.

So thats the true picture. Your mileage may vary.

On Fri, May 18, 2012 at 12:58 PM, Florent Georges <fgeorges@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
> ihe onwuka wrote:
>  Hi,
>> If I suspect this offer concerns working on a banking project for
>> Brickendon consulting.
>> I had a very bad experience working there so be warned.
>  It seems it is, indeed.  Would you mind sharing in a few words what
> kind of things went bad?  Just in case, so I know what I have to be
> careful with...
>  Thanks for warning!  Cheers,
> --
> Florent Georges
> http://fgeorges.org/
> http://h2oconsulting.be/

Current Thread