Saturday, March 28, 2009

DevNexus Report Part 2

In part one I provided an overview of attended DevNexus sessions. Here are some more details I took away from the presentations. The first days of the conference started out with Neil Ford, who always seems to provide those excellent but more high-level-off-the-beaten-path-type presentations (The presentation certainly contained an interesting Angelina Jolie picture). In his presentation he talked mainly about a quality work environment and how to be more productive as a developer. In his opinion giving developers their own office would be the best as it allows them to fully concentrate on the given development tasks. If that is not feasible and you're not working for Joel, then an open room configuration is the next-best compromise. And finally the worst solution: cubicles. Those suckers simply slurp your brain dry…

Well, afterward I headed over to Ari Zilka's talk about Terracotta. He gave an overview/introduction of Terracotta's capabilities. The presentation was quite similar to the talk we had at our monthly AJUG meeting last year but since then Terracotta published a new reference web application (Examinator) that really looks sharp and consist of a very good technology stack besides the fact that it uses Terracotta:
  • Spring MVC
  • Spring Webflow
  • Spring Security
  • JPA (Hibernate)
  • FreeMarker
  • SiteMesh
  • MySQL
One example he gave that stuck with me quite well, was the typical email registration process, when signing up for a new user account. You provide an email address, but before the account can be activated, you need to verify the email address using a verification email. However, using Terracotta, you're able to defer saving the email to the database until verification is complete and thus you can keep "state" information out of the database.

Afterward, I listened to Charlie Hubbard's talk on GridGain. This was an interesting talk in that GridGain is tackling distributed computing from a different angle than Terracotta. You are basically using it to farm out little chunks of data that are then processed by those nodes. It feels very reminiscent to using JMS with Publish/Subscribe with some processing logic bolted on.

After this talk I attended Bill Burke's talk on REST. It is interesting how various frameworks converge to a common point these days - RestEasy looked like Spring MVC 3.0 :-)

The last talk I visited was on Jared's Richardson's talk on 'using agile to optimize' which was a good talk. It reminds me that I still need to read his book Ship It!

At the end of the day we all headed down to the bar and had a few drinks. I met a former colleque of mine and chatted a while with Charlie Hubbard and Lance Gleason. A long good day…

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