Last weekend I went to the No Fluff Just Stuff, the conference was focused on the latest technologies and best practices emerging in the enterprise software development space. First real conference I’ve been to. Most of the time I’m seeing webcasts of talks from conferences I’m not lucky enough to go to.
Overall it was a great conference with a lot of good information. The conference was at the Crowne Plaza North Shore in Danvers, MA which for me being in Beverly, it wasn’t a issue to get to at all but some other people at the conference being from out of state seem to have issues finding it. The Crowne Plaza was a good place, lots of parking and overall nice layout vs some of the other big hotels I have been to. Wifi was a mess, but not an issues for me because of my lovely Nexus One with T-mobile I was getting 3g in every talk. From what I heard from other people that go to a lot of conferences it seems that wifi is always an issue. It is better to bring some kind of mobile hotspot if you need internet. The meeting rooms didn’t have too many power outlets but I was always able to get one. I think next time I will bring a power strip.
My favorite talk was the Integrating JVM Languages, as I’m fascinated with languages that run on top of the JVM like Groovy and jRuby. The talk was from Venkat Subramaniam, there were no slides from the talk as he did all the examples live from within TextMate. After seeing tons and tons of talks with slides, this was refreshing to see someone showing us just code! Venkat Subramaniam was also the keynote speaker on the first night. His keynote was looking at the rise and fall of empires throughout history and how it relates to programing languages over time. The keynote was the best part of the first night, it really got me thinking about languages, my own path with learning languages and what is going to come. After getting home that night I pulled down a book I got some time ago but never had time to really start reading it, it was “Seven Languages in Seven Weeks” which was suggested reading from the keynote.
Some of my take aways from the conference,
HTML5, keep a eye on it. Myself, I believe its going to be big as soon as it builds up speed and there is more support for it in the browsers. I think this will, over time, replace flash and just overall be a better technology to use and be great for mobiles devices that don’t have flash…. Hello iPad.
Distributed revision control, there was a lot of talk of Git going on at the conference but it seemed when asked how many people were using it in production, there were not a lot of people. Right now I’m trying to work with my group at work to switch over from SVN to Git so its kind of nice to be ahead of the cuve by a bit on something! :)JVM languages, even though the conference was Java based there was still a lot of talk of JVM languages (which if you think about it, still falls within the realm of Java). Just about every talk made some reference to Groovy, Scala or Clojure and when asked it seem like a lot of people have been doing work in Groovy, Scala and jRuby. Its not going to hurt to look into something new. There are ways to link them to your Java code, I really do see a trend of people starting to pick up JVM languages to cut down on work to make small projects easier to do or even to prototype ideas out.
The conference really exposed me to some new ideas, some new way of thinking and some new technology that I would like to bring to my work. I also have some people to follow from the conference too, like Venkat Subramaniam due to his great talk and keynotes, and Peter Bell with his ideas on agile development along work technique like Pomodoro.
Just one thing I wish, a web version of the evaluation froms. If you hand me paper… within 30 mins I have lost it. That along with my very bad handwriting that looks like a 6 year old wrote it, makes me hate paper. I know there was talk of an iPad app that could do this, but sadly I don’t have an iPad…… yet! The idea of passing out iPads seemed cool, but making a web form would ensure that anyone could fill it out. If there is a web form somewhere and I just over looked it feel free to point it out to me in the comments.
I’m hoping to go again to NFJS, but thats all up to my work schedule. I would also recommend it to anyone thinking of going. Great group of people and lots of great topics.