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ThingsHappeningAtOopsla [add child]

Things Happening at OOSPLA

I'm here at the OOPSLA conference in San Diego this week. Ralph Johnson has likened it to a three-ring circus, and it feels that way. There's a lot to see and do here. OOPSLA was one of the first software development conferences I ever attended and I remember being surprised back then (around 1997 or so) at how easy it was to get into a nuts and bolts conversation about design, objects and all the things that I care about.

I arrived Saturday and came to the conference location in a rush Sunday morning to do my Working Effectively with Legacy Code tutorial. As I walked to the room I started looking at the people I was passing and I remembered what OOPSLAs were like. OOPSLA tends to attract more serious conference attendees, not serious in a bad way, but serious in a good way. I knew that I could expect some very probing questions during my tutorial, and sure enough, they came.

During lunch, I met Gregor Hohpe (one of the authors of Enterprise Integration Patterns) and we had a chat about the conference. I pointed out that it really seemed skewed this year.. far more Europeans than North Americans.. we chatted further about conferences in general and how it differs from other techie conferences. It's almost as if they could market the conference by saying: If you want to learn about other people's APIs go to TechEd or JavaOne, if you write APIs go to OOPSLA.

I went back to the hotel early. I'm going to London next week, so I'm going to try to stay on EST to make my shift more like six hours than nine. We'll have to see how that works. I kind of wish I'd come out earlier, though. The Ruby Conference was out here over the weekend and it would've been nice to attend.

Tomorrow night I give a talk at the Xp San Diego group, which should be fun. I'm looking forward to seeing Erik Meade again. He's a long time friend, and he lives out here now. Thursday, I'm on a panel called: Living with Legacy Code: Love it or Leave it? It should be fun. I'm meeting the other panelists tomorrow for lunch, which will help because I need to think through how I'll interact on the panel. My view of legacy isn't really the 30,000 foot view, the view of large scale organization-wide legacy conversion initiatives, so I might be the odd man out on the panel. We'll see.

Between those commitments, I'm very interested in meeting a few people. I'm looking forward to meeting Steve Dekorte, designer of the Io programming language. It's a very elegant prototype-based language that carries simplicity and minimalism to the extreme. I'm also looking forward to meeting Jonathan Edwards, designer of Subtext and Roly Perera from Dynamic Aspects. They are working in an area of language development that is very interesting to me. In it, programs are live entities. Edits that you make are instantly verified in much the same way as the compiler instantly checks syntax when you type in a modern IDE. I have a strong feeling that this is a natural extension of the type of feedback that we get in Test Driven Development, and I feel reasonably sure that those sorts of environments would make some of the legacy code issues that we have in the industry less traumatic. In any case, it will be fun to discuss them and learn more.

OOPSLA has a little bit of an academic bent, but it seems that, although it is slow, many of these things get out into practice eventually. For example, it may have taken over ten years, but it looks like we'll see things like type inferencing in mainstream languages soon. At least, that is part of the plan for C# 3.0. I'm also looking forward to learning a bit more about LINQ. If you haven't heard, LINQ is sort of an in-language DSL for transparent access of database and collections. I have to admit that the first time I heard it I thought "Great, that's all the industry needs, one more way to couple to the database." But, I've done some more reading and it looks like it could be very useful with disciplined use.

I'm not settled on whether I'm going to try to organize a BOF (Bird of a Feather session) this week, but I might. The trick will be deciding whether to do it on legacy code or on something else I'm trying to work on called Design Sense.) But I'll probably decide before the end of the day. If you're here at the conference and you want to say hi leave a reply.

 Mon, 17 Oct 2005 18:24:24, Keith Nicholas, OOPSLA
Hey ya,

I'm at oopsla as well (having just done rubyconf!) Would be great to meet you and a BOF on Design Sense would be cool

keith.nicholas (at) gmail (.) com
 Tue, 18 Oct 2005 10:16:50, KelleyHarris[?], Design Sense BOF would be welcome
Hi Micheal - Thanks for OOPLSA notes. I'd be interested in a BOF on Design Sense. I'm at OOPLSA through Wed at 5.