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No fluff just stuff

I spent most of my week-end learning new stuff, and I also attended the Wedding of Marla and Lee. It has been pretty busy and pretty fun.
Day 1.
It all started on Friday the 13th. Good day to start a seminar with four "Dave Thomas" sessions that where pretty impressive, especially that I just read two of his "pragmatic" series book, namely
The Pragmatic Programmer and Programming Ruby (2nd. Ed.) . The talks are 1. OpenSource Ecosystems 2. Ruby for Java Programmers 3. Ruby on Rails 4. and the Keynote du jour. His first talk "OpenSource Ecosystems" highlights the principles behind successful open-source projects and how it could be applied to your enterprise projects. His keynote presentation on Friday draws analogies between the art in engineering and software development. Of course his two Ruby talks where as entertaining as instructive. Ruby is really worth taking a look at...
Day 2.
Herding Racehorses and Racing Sheep by Dave Thomas. He did it again, an excellent non technical people oriented presentation, investigating learning/teaching and knowledge mechanism based on the level of people (from beginner to expert) based on experiences extracted from other professions. (That description doesn't give justice to his presentation :-) The next talk was NakedObjects by Eitan Suez. Model driven UI's...just what I was looking into for Flex. Foolowing was,
AJAX by Justin Gehtland as a presentation going behind the buzzword and showing many of the javascript techniques used to make google-maps and other dynamic websites.
Day 3.
Hibernate and J2EE Transaction Integration by Mark Richards. Mark showed ways to make it work and presented several gotcha's to be aware of. Better to use Hibernate just with Spring if possible. I attended three presentations by Bruce Tate, Beyond Java and Ruby persistence , Introduction to Spring , and Beyond Java . The Spring and Java talks where really interesting and informative, his last talk on Ruby persistence, as Bruce warned us, was the first time he presented it and still a little refinement is needed. Other than that Bruce is an excellent speaker worthwhile listening too...
Reflecting on The conference
First, you should attend one, it's just a great way to learn some of the latest stuff and interact with some off the leaders and experts in the field.
I get really energized when attending these conferences, so much to try out, so many new thoughts, so many new projects I now want to do, but mostly they confirmed a reflection and phase I started a couple of months ago. A "Back to basics" phase. My goals was to stop trying out everything and not finishing really anything. Energy and simplicity are not contradictory. I will just spend more time doing less, and more energy simplyfing what I do. I just read several of the pragmatic series books (automated build, subversion) and have a few more to read (JUnit). Although I use these approaches during my day job, I didn't do it on my midnight projects. Why? Well not 100% sure why, but it would have saved me time and headaches. Most likely I believe that outside of the constraint of work, I used to like to get more creative and less organized, but that is changing and I get a lot of satisfaction trying to do less and more carefully.. So last month I first purged many of my obsolete projects (the WebObjets ones, the older java ones, the Cocoa ones) and one by one decided what I wanted to keep based on what I wanted to achieve...well I ended up with no old projects...and just one new one. Yea, that felt good. Then I moved the rest of my stuff into subversion. After a little issues with French characters in some of my documents I got everything working. Now I can trace back everychange in my source even for my midnight projects. On osx I use SnvX and the merge tool provided by the osx dev tools. Pretty slick!!
So my only new midnight project is integrating Flex and RubyOnRails. I will be working hard at ensuring that it contains the minimal amount of code to achieve the integration, that's it is fully unit tested, and integrated with an automated build tool. During my day job I use cruisecontrol, I am still debating if I will use DamageControl (a Ruby one)...I am currently inclined going the Ruby way.
Well as you see these conferences get me going...
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