Dan Byström’s Bwain

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Archive for May, 2005

Nine While Nine

Posted by Dan Byström on May 22, 2005

This week I attended the Nordic Software Developer Summit, or NorDev 2005 for short and I’m back with a lot of impressions and mixed emotions.

Listening to and seeing Jimmy Nilsson and Eric Doernenburg doing "pair programming" while demonstrating TDD (Test Driven Development) was one of the more inspiring experiences. When I later talked to Eric on the evening I noticed I got a little dizzy, assuming it was from the wine and hunger. But I later understood that the real reason was because he informed me that doing pair programming means that you ALWAYS are two programmers in from of one computer. Not just occasionally as I had thought. This is an almost incomprehensible concept for a lone wolf like me. But I see no reason not trusting him on this one. Therefore, I just got dizzy.

The three speeches in a row on SOA may have been just great. However, with not a single line of code in sight, they were not the thing for me. I consider my goal to be cranking out code that works better and are easier to use than my customer had dared to hope for (that’s my goal anyway) – not trying to tell them what they need, by drawing nicely looking diagrams describing their business processes and make them say "ahh!", "ooh!", "really?" and "we didn’t know that!". Other people can do that.

Listening to David S Platt’s talk on Web Service security was indeed very entertaining, but he pulled off such an embarrassingly large number of jokes about sexually frustrated geeks, that I arrived at the conclusion that surely it takes one to know one.

Johan Lindfors from Microsoft demonstrated what’s to come in Avalon and the impact it will have on today’s GUIs can probably be compared to going from gray dull dialog boxes to cool web pages in the late 90’s. But remember: just because someone shows you a GUI that is so cool that your brain gets drained of blood, DOESN’T MEAN THAT THEY KNOW HOW TO MAKE EVEN A TINY HELLO WORLD PROGRAM TICK. It is like assuming that someone being good at airbrushing cars is just as great at building engines.

I consider myself, for a programmer that is, to be really good at GUI issues, but most probably, the graphical skills required to make use of Avalon’s full potential will bring me to my knees.

The world also turned out to be small as always. At lunch I sat down beside a couple of guys I’d never seen before. When I asked them were they were from, I found out that they work less than a 100 meters from my office in Växjö (460 km away).

I regret not leaving the .NET track in favor of the Java track and listening to Rickard Öberg’s speech on AOP (Aspect Oriented Programming) though, which was great I’m told. But until I learn of any good AOP tools for the environments I’m working with, I guess I can live without knowing more about it anyway. It would be just like waving a candy bar in front of a child and not letting it take the candy.

Finally I really must say I don’t agree with the expert panel’s conclusion that choosing between .NET and Java would be a "religious thing". It shouldn’t work that way for professionals. I’d use Java any time a customer wanted me to and/or it would look like it was the best choice. I’d use Fortran or Cobol on that same ground also (although I’d probably not be their best choice for a job like that).

  It’s a poor craftsman who blames his tools.

I traveled by train. On the way up the train was 55 minutes late. On the way back I tried to rebook my ticket to an earlier train because I got away an hour earlier than expected because I found Dino Espositio’s speech on ADO.NET totally uninspiring. SJ refused to rebook my first class ticket because I hadn’t paid for the most expensive flavor of it. That’s exactly in SJ’s spirit of aiming to be one of the worst run companies ever seen. Come on, their tickets are more expensive than the cost of driving the same distance by car (with just one person in it) or by airplane??? I mean, flying is almost pure science fiction, while running train along pre-laid out iron bars can be (and obviously are) done by idiots.

Goodbye train! Hello airplane, here I come!

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