During the weekend of the 10th to the 12th Oct 2008 I had visited the nofluffjuststuff conference it was an excellent chance to validate the work that I have been doing at my place of employment, as well as learn some new things, and new people. So a few big things I have managed to pull from the conference.
- Groovy is well very cool, I wish we did more of it for reasons I will explain further.
- I thought git was neat, confusing but neat. I just think I need to play with it to like it more.
- I met Mr Hussman! (and he knew the about the company that I work for [which is neat]).
- EC2 and “cloud computing” isn’t such a new idea and is just what I thought it was.
- The place I work for is headed down a correct path in many respects .
I had also checked out a good number of groovy courses (5-6) I love the concept of groovy, infact if our organization just totally jumped the java ship and went with groovy I would be on board. Thats a pretty powerful thing to say so let me explain! First, these are the things I had taken away from the groovy courses.
- Groovy is java, just an “extended version of it”.
- Since groovy is java, you could completely convert your java systems to groovy just by adding a jar.
- The syntax added by groovy is more loose then java, almost lisp like (which is good).
- I wasn’t so hot on all parts of grails, particularly with GSP’s (I generally do not like server pages of any type, much prefer language independent xslt which forces developers to create data feeds).
- Groovy makes it more easy to import data feeds, and work with data in general, has auto getters and setters (treated as variables) and other very nice things that I could see being useful.
- Integration with java is beautiful.
- Groovy is highly integrated with java since it is an extended version of java, which makes me prefer it over langs like JRuby, which I am guessing would require api calls to make any such sort of connection with java (something I dislike in a langauge).
All these things are great! What I liked the most though was the complete compatibility with java, that in its self is very cool, and in the end will make groovy the winner of the dynamic langauge wars. Here is the reason, many many corporations already mostly use java! Everyone has made significant investments in the technology, and since groovy is just java with a dynamic language added in, there is no reason to write “compatibility layers”, special api’s to work with things, or pass data feeds back and forth.. Groovy also offers the ability to upgrade, or downgrade the level of terseness of your code depending on the application you are working on! This is due to the fact it is simply a langauge extension (like c++ was to c) and not a complete replacement. Developers will like that in the end.
Just a little bit on git, it was neat! Just a bit confusing though, I think I would really need to read a book on it to truly use all the components, but to be honest I need to update my skills a bit in this domain anyway. So I understand where they were going with git, things like having a repo on your personal pc, as well as the server and everything sync’s up. Other things like creating a branch at any time and the way people browse historys was very cool! Regardless there was a high barrier of learning, though many of the svn commands are similar to what git has.
I went to one david hussman course! What really surprised me is this, he seems like a developer that jumped into the project management, and agility world! Which is very cool that he has a vantage point from both places, and he is able to relate to project managers in that way! Hes layed back, relaxed, long bright red hair and seems like a pretty cool guy. He recognized that I was from ib at the end of the course and gave a shout-out, which was nice .
EC2 was kinda boring, it just seemed like virtual machine instances which you can swap out at any time on a amazon network, I mean it is great that you can do this and all! But virtualizing technology has been around forever! To add to all of that, VPS’s are still cheaper then what is touted on the EC2′s. If you are getting any sort of serious traffic as well on the ec2′s the cost will skyrocket (something that was not talked about), as well data retention is not the easiest thing to do, since it is truely a cloud!
All in all, it was a good conference, I hung out with people from carol.com , and Nathaniel Schutta, as well as people from ib. There were lots of talks about testing and cruse-control, and many things that I see here at ib already so it was a good conference. Very validating in many respects. I picked up a few books on build systems post conference from amazon, a book on antlr, as well I might eventually get one on groovy. I would like to see what direction we are going here first at the place I work (fingers crossed).