ScanDevConf summary

ScanDevConf has come to an end and I am on the train back to Stockholm and an eternal project. The conference was similar to jfokus (my summary here). I hanged out with fellow architect Rikard Strand all day. Always great to have someone likeminded to discuss the talks with.

The keynote was way better (compared to the strange JavaFX keynote at jfokus) with Kent Beck talking about the vital role of habits in shaping a good developer and a great team. I heard him talk 10 years ago at a conference in England (OT99). Compared to that talk this was rather tranquil but nevertheless insightful. A great developer is not productive without great habits. And rather get a good developer with great habits than a great developer with lousy habits.

We went on to the emerging technologies track. The first talk was about erlang - a language that was designed for concurrency for the telecom industry by Ericsson and that started to attract some interest a couple of years ago. I was eager to see some code because I already heard enough about the language to get interested but unfortunately the speech was only bullet list and the like. More like a sales pitch. Erik Stenman that held the talk really seemed to know the subject so it certainly could have been a little bit more technical. But maybe he aimed for the suits and not for the geeks. Erlang is definitley on the to-learn list. A point made in this presentation was that it is easier to find good developers when writing in a less main stream language then say Java or C#. There aren't as many applicants as for a Java position but all that apply are good compared with Java where you can get applicants that can't code at all and many that are merely average.

The next talk was about the cloud by John Davies. It was a very good talk where he showed how to set up a machine in the cloud using amazons EC2 services. Apparently it is easy enough. It is possible to be up and running a new Linux server in a couple of minutes. And the pricing of these services is more than reasonable.

After lunch - which was very good by the way - I breaked out and enjoyed the sun and some geocaching instead of the talks. None of the 6 to choose from was tempting at all.

Then came the lowmarks of the day. I want get into any details but we tried out both talks held in the methodology track and none of them were of much interest.

Clean Code by Emily Bache was really good. She said all the things I wanted to hear about the subject and pointed out some reasons why it is so hard to get clean code. An interesting angle it that our reaction to a system that has unclean code is to rewrite it. This is often bad for several reasons. A system that works as intended should be possible to refactor but it is hard to refactor with unit testing when there are no units to test. A new approach to this problem is to use TextTest that approaches testing in another way. Log statements are inserted into the code before the refactoring and a test case is run. This creates a fixture that we can test against at a later stage. We do our refactoring and the tools makes sure that log statements comes out in the same order as before. A truly brilliant and simple solution to a rather complex problem. I haven't read the book by Uncle Bob with the same title as this talk. Maybe it is time to check it out.

Then smalltalk! The language from where everything comes. It was a bit hilarious to find this talk about a 37 years ol language in the emerging technologies track. I have only used the language in school but have always wanted to work with languages like it. The syntax is so slick. Anders Janmyr held a very inspiring talk intertwined with code examples.

The last talk by Andreas Steen from IBM about test automation said all the things right but failed to enthusiasm (which may have been due to being the last one.... tired me).

All in all - a good day amongst fellow geeks! I might come back next year - too bad the conference is located in the small town of Gothenburg....


Old comments

2009-03-25Hardy Ferentschik
Cool summary. I only made it to Gavin's talk about WebBeans and I must say that I was positively surprised. Not only do I see WebBeans in a new light now, it was also interesting to see Gavin's presentation style which can be said to stick out :) I might try to get a presentation into SDC next year ;-)