QCon London – Wednesday (Emerging Languages)

The first day of the proper QCon conference started out with Sir Tony Hoare doing a keynote about the difference and overlap between the science and engineering of computing. Fairly interesting, but the questions and answers were much more interesting stuff. One of the more interesting points made by Hoare was that in his view, a full specification is a generalization of testing. After the keynote I started out my track called Emerging Languages in the Enterprise. I introduced this track, doing 15 minutes of talking about my views on programming languages. The slides for my piece can be found here: http://olabini.com/presentations/ELITE.pdf. My talk was made much more interesting by Tony Hoare being in the front row. That made the whole thing a bit more daunting, obviously… =)

I then spent the rest of the day in my track – which was very good. I am very happy with all the presentations, and felt the track was a great success. First of was Michael Foord, talking about IronPython, and how Resolver uses IronPython to create a great product. Some interesting lessons and information there.

After lunch Jonas Bonér talked about Real-world Scala. The presentation gave a good grounding in Scala without looking at all small details – instead Jonas talked about more high level concerns and styles.

After that, Rich Hickey did a great presentation about Clojure. Rich did a great presentation, talking about Clojure from the ground up. It was very well received.

Martin Fowler did a fantastic presentation on ThoughtWorks experience with Ruby. The room was packed for this.

The final presentation in my track was Attila Szegedi talking about JavaScript in the Enterprise. This was also a great presentation, and gave me some new insight into what you could achieve with Rhino.

All in all, the full track was excellent, and all the presentations achieved pretty much what I hoped from them. I learned a lot from all of them.

After the final session of my track, Martin Fowler and Zach Exley did the evening keynote, talking about how technology helped the Obama compaign. Very interesting stuff too. At the end of the day, a very good day at QCon.

Two days in Kraków

So, I’ve been in Kraków for two days now. I will fly back on Sunday. It’s a very interesting town. On one part, it’s lovely. The buildings are absolutely amazing, and very beautiful. On the other hand, many of them are very run down, and the wear and tear is obvious all around. To me, the whole town seems sort of depressing, but on the other hand the people here are very up beat, and from some of the presentations I’ve seen, the technological future for Kraków looks very bright indeed.

I haven’t really been able to see most of the presentations. Almost all have been in Polish, sadly enough. I did see two interesting ones yesterday. The first was Michael Foords talk about IronPython. This was very neat and I’ve talked some with him after that too. I’ll get back to that. The other talk was about Google Ads, by Greg Badros. As always, hearing about how Google does things internally is always amazingly interesting. I would have enjoyed hearing more about the machine learning and NLP stuff they’re doing, but obviously they can’t discuss that too much.

Today I haven’t been able to see any presentation, due to Polish. On the other hand me, Michael and Lukas Renggli have had some very interesting discussions both yesterday and today. Now, the company Michael’s part of has the largest IronPython code base in the world, as far as I understand it. It’s basically 90 000 LOC, where 20 000 is production code and 70 000 are testing code. That sounds about right… =)

Lukas Renggli is one of the core developers of Seaside, a framework which I’m quite fond of. What we three have in common is our interest in dynamic languages, so we had some very common ground to talk about. What’s nice is that many of the things Michael talked about in his presentation is stuff we in JRuby also speak much about. In the same manner, it seems the IronPython guys have had basically the same problems we in JRuby has had. It seems there is some common ground to be found here, and possibly also a basis for conversations. I for one would find that very interesting, since I enjoy hearing about dynamic languages getting foot holds on statically typed virtual machines; that is just such a sweet spot.

Tomorrow evening is my talk. I’m going to be at an official dinner in the middle of the day, and then get over to the conference and give my presentation at 17:00. I think it’s going to be interesting, and it will be an obvious counterpart to Michael’s talk, since the reason for existing is so similar for IronPython and JRuby. It will be interesting to see how the audience react.

After that, I’ll see Lukas talk about Seaside, and after that people are talking about having a party, so tomorrow will be quite intense. And finally, on Sunday I’m going back to Sweden. As far as I know now, I won’t travel that much for at least a month now, which feels sort of nice. This week has been far to intense, and also have had some really great – but tiring – moments.