Today is the first day of QCon 2007, and over the last few days there have been a good number of smart people kicking around London under the QCon banner. Yesterday evening I went to dinner along with Erik Meijer and Kevlin Henney at the invitation of Connective Logic to take a look at their CLiP language and runtime for visual parallel programming. As it happens in the old days this was my thing, in fact it was the topic of my Ph.D. (and Savas’s for that matter). Erik and Kevlin both have excellent insight into the domain, and we had good food and drink while we debated the merits of the technology, how various issues (around things like grain size, and visual complexity) are solved, and how Connective Logic might embrace or disrupt the market (and indeed what their market is). I’m hoping to keep up with their progress now that I’m back in the UK since visual coordination DSLs are still, I discovered, something I’m quite interested in.
Today was the start of the main conference and so far it’s been excellent. My day kicked off by meeting up with some of my colleagues from ThoughtWorks (disclaimer: ThoughtWorks are a platinum sponsor of the event), and then straight on to being interviewed by Stefan Tilkov on all things MESTian, RESTful, SSDL-ish and my other pets loves and hates for InfoQ. I’ve known Stefan virtually for ages, and it was great to finally meet him in person. My closing tag for the interview was “I think I’ve alienated enough people for now” so once the video hits InfoQ I might need to lie low for a while :-)
After that I enjoyed watching a panel session hosted by my colleague Martin Fowler, and populated by Dan North, Erik Doernenburg, Dave Farley, Fred George, and Ian Cartwright on evolvability of architectures and design (note: agile practices encourage enough design and architecture, contrary to the myths and idiocies out there).
This afternoon I attended Christian Weyer‘s excellent WCF talk because Christian is another one of those guys who I have known virtually for ages and hadn’t met in person. In fact Christian mentored me in hammering .ASMX into submission when I ported Arjuna‘s Java-based Web Services Transaction product to .Net in 2001/2, and I still owe him a beer for that!
While I’m on an Arjuna-ish note, former Arjuna research student and now Moreover.com ubergeek Steve Halsey ambushed me in the hallways. It’s excellent to see him again – it’s been about 10 years since we both studied in Newcastle.
Right now I’m listening to Werner Vogels talk about building large, gracefully degrading systems. He makes the fundamentally correct point that he expects developers to deal explicitly with distributed systems artefacts so that they can explicitly handle failures gracefully rather than hiding such failures in the infrastructure and hoping like hell nothing too serious happens. This is not counter-intuitive, it’s just the cost of building dependable distributed systems – excellent advice for anyone wrongly thinking about exposing their EJBs through WSDL!
Update:I’ve just beed wowed by Marc McNeil‘s excellent usability talk. Excellent presentation and a cool topic too!