Tuesday, March 07, 2006

A Dearth of Fluff, Significant Stuff

As my regular reader(s?) must have noticed, I've been very quiet for a while. No, I haven't given up pontificating; I've been working diligently on a new year of No Fluff, Just Stuff presentations. Every year, I cull some of my old talks from the herd and send them to the virtual glue factory and add some new, spry colts to the fold. This year, I've added about 4 new talks and killed the same number, and I've been spending the last couple of months getting them in shape. This last weekend was the debut of a couple of them (along with 5 of my existing talks).

No Fluff, Just Stuff Gateway Software Symposium occurred in St. Louis over the weekend. I gave a total of 7 talks: clean Up Your Code, Advanced Enterprise Debugging Techniques, SOA & ESB: The Future of Distributed Computing or the Return of the Son of CORBA?, Pragmatic XP, the new Testing with Selenium, the also new The Productive Programmer, and finally Language-oriented Programming and Language Workbenches. Whew! It was a long weekend, but the new talks turned out well (only requiring minor tweaks, not major overhauls). And, someone was nice enough to blog about one of my talks (always good to get feedback).

It's great to get back to No Fluff. Many of the speakers are good friends, so it's good to see them again. One of the speakers made an excellent observation that also applies to me: I have more friends that travel the country every weekend than I do at home! It's good to be back in the saddle again.


Duane Keys said...

I enjoyed listening to you and got some great infomration. Monday back in the office was spent configuring cruise control!

Brad said...

I was looking at some of what I'm pretty sure you'd consider "stuff" (a presentation on being a productive programmer - can't wait to get the book).
I was mostly in full agreement with what I read in the outline (I wonder if you include Firefox's "find as you type" feature in your list of ways to avoid using the mouse - best mouse destroyer ever).
There is one thing I hope you can comment on though. You advocate using Ruby to write small ad-hoc programs. Why go to all the trouble of reading up on / learning a new language, and installing / maintaining all the necessary bits when you could just as easily accomplish the task in your language of daily use?
I can see this making you a more well-rounded programmer (Ruby does seem pretty cool), but more productive?

Neal Ford said...

Brad has a good point, but I still think Ruby (or some other scripting language) makes more sense, and here's my example. I wrote a little developer "jig" to harvest some information from the Internet in Java, it comes in at 115 lines of code. Then, I wrote it in Ruby. The exact same functionality took just 44 lines of code. Now, I understand that lines of code is a terrible metric, but the Ruby code is much cleaner (less worrying about required exceptions, HTTP semantics, etc. While Java is a language I know and love, it is ill-suited to the kinds of things for which that Ruby excells. Besides, I think using more than one language is good for you because you learn new idioms. If you are adament about staying in the Java camp, you could get much of the Ruby advantage using Groovy.

Brad said...

I wish I were stuck in the Java camp (or C# in my case)! I'm stuck in Delphi due to a zillion lines pre-existing. I hate it more every time I use it (the old fashioned C++ like double section - interface vs. implementation with it's dual maintenance - might be the worst part).
I do really like what I've read about Ruby (C# seems to be catching up to it with the new closure-like construct).
I think I'll give it a try at the next opportunity.