Friday, May 30, 2008

JAOO Brisbane 2008, Day 1

The first Brisbane JAOO finished yesterday. This is the program I attended on Day 1 and some high-level thoughts.

Keynote: Why Functional Programming (Still) Matters, Erik Meijer
Erik argued that it will be critical to reduce side-effects (mutating state, IO, etc) and make the remaining explicit in our programming languages in order to succeed in a software world that has increasingly larger programs, is more connected, concurrent and asynchronous. IMHO this was the most valuable talk of the conference as most developers I meet don't consciously realise the impact of side-effects, as they are so used to them.

Designing for Scalability, Patrick Linskey
Given Erik's talk, it was interesting to observe that dealing with mutable shared state was an underlying theme.

Interaction Techniques Using the Wii Remote, Johnny Chung Lee
This was a fun talk to attend. The interactive whiteboard aspects of Johnny's work look very cool.

Enterprise Patterns, Martin Fowler
I went to this session primarily because I hadn't heard Martin speak before. He is a very strong and confident presenter. So much so, it was like an emotional steamroller. Trying to compel the audience by force of genuine belief, some anecdotal evidence or observations, but with little supporting rational was disappointing. To be fair, I could have given part of this talk about 3 years ago (perhaps not as eloquently) and would have used the same methods.

Introduction to F#, Don Syme
The material Don had to talk about was interesting, although I found it hard to get a feel for the language itself with the one large demo. I think it might have been a bit easier with a series of small demos that illustrate specific points. However, a colleague of mine remarked that it was a pleasant change to see a functional programming talk that didn't involve the fibonacci sequence.

Introduction to Real-time Programming on the Java Platform, David Holmes
I have never done anything close to real-time programming, so I went to this session to learn a bit about it. David really knows his stuff, so some of the content was lost on me. I did learn what priority inversion meant and how it affected the Mars Pathfinder mission.

Languages Panel, Don Syme, Joel Pobar, Wayne Kelly, David Holmes
Four australians, nice.

Keynote: Simplicity in Design, Erik Dornenburg & Martin Fowler
By this time, I was pretty tired. This session started out with a similar style to the Enterprise Patterns talk, so I ducked out early for a bit of a rest before the social event.

Social Event
Dinner was at the Belgian Beer Cafe Brussels. Met some more people and had some interesting discussions which was great.

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