Saturday, July 16, 2005

No Fluff Iowa - Day 2 (Ruby--)

This is the second post in attempting to cover my time here at the No Fluff Just Stuff Central Iowa Symposium in Des Moines.

If day one was about testing, and death to java - long live ruby, then day 2 is about "Now that you know about Ruby, why don't we give you the Java info that you came here to see." Or, "Here's the reasons that Java can be seen as Ruby--".

To start the day, I saw another terrific session by Venkat Subramaniam, this time covering "Good, Bad, & Ugly of Java Generics". He started out with a well covered overview of Generics, Auto Boxing, and ForEach features of Java 1.5. Good stuff. Then he dove in to show us that "Generics were created to solve type safety, yet they don't even solve type safety!" Basically it came down to generics being overly complex that solved only the trivial issue of casting from a collection. Most of the problem relies in Generics being syntactic sugar: Implemented only in the language, and not in the JVM. So, as Venkat correctly puts it, "Sun employs a wonderful marketing department. Selling us 'type erasure' as being cool, when it is really a huge hinderance". I'm very greatful for this talk, and plan to look at Groovy and Ruby (dynamic typed languages) to solve some issues that I was hoping Generics would solve.

Next I attended a couple of sessions by Justin Gehtland, the first being Advanced Hibernate, and the second Principles of Service Oriented Architecture. I really enjoyed the first, as it moved quickly, and hit the main areas that I needed to improve my knowledge in: Lazy Loading, Interceptors, and Events. The Lazy Loading talk was great, and really just asserted some ideas that I have had. Event handling was interesting. It made me think of a system where we could send JMS messages when certain fields or objects are created/updated in the database (to update displays, caches, etc...).

His second talk, about SOA, felt a little more long-winded. I appreciate his knowledge on the subject, as he did a decent job at explaining a roughly boring and genericized topic. I wish I had more detail about actual implementations of SOA walking away from this session, but he did cover the "Principles" that he said he would. Maybe there was just too much time spent per slide on the generalities and politics, which left not enough time for implementations. I was hoping to hear details about Mule ESB and REST services, but they were only given a passing glance.

Oh, and I didn't win the mini iPod raffle today (not even a T-Shirt), but that means I'm still in the running for the Sony PSP tomorrow! Now we're off to find some good sushi in this land of hog farms (spoken from an Omaha resident, no less).


Anthony said...

Enjoyed your blogs on NFJS since I am going to attend the next one.

Besides sessions you did attend, is there any other session you wish you had attended?

Jeff Sheets said...


There were a few that I couldn't attend because of session scheduling conflicts. They are (in no particular order):

Ruby on Rails w/ Dave Thomas,
AJAX w/ Dion Almaer (Ben Galbraith was sick and couldn't attend, so Dion presented in his place)
Forgotten Algorithms w/ Jason Hunter (I heard this was a very good session, and wish I had attended it instead of Princ of SOA).

I can let you know more after tomorrow's final sessions! Thanks for the input!

Anonymous said...

Yeah -- I'm retiring the SOA talk for just that reason; the topic is too broad to cover everything that everybody wants to hear. I'm thinking about replacing it with an "Implementing an ESB with Mule" talk, which would be less well attended, but I think better appreciated.

Thanks for the kind words!

Jeff Sheets said...

Justin, I'm actually quite interested in Mule, and would personally love to hear this talk. We might be using Mule in a project that I'm working on.