Sunday, 3 May 2009

Scottish Developer Day - Developer Developer Developer!

Yesterday was the Developer Developer Developer event in Glasgow. A Microsoft sponsored event arranged by the Scottish Developers group.

There were four tracks of talks, A, B, C and SQL Bits.

jQuery Deep Dive In
Andy Gibson

I've been waiting ages to get to a jQuery talk and find out what it's about so this was the first talk I went to. The speaker and most of the audience seem pretty in awe of this library, but I wasn't all that impressed. I'm sure it is an impressive piece of work under the hood, but the first thing that turns me off is the list of supported browsers, or rather the fact that there is a list of supported browsers. Just another reason why I think HTML/CSS/JavaScript are a dying breeds. No one supports standards in the same way. The most interesting thing I suppose is the fact you can use CSS 3 like selectors to find the exact element you want in a DOM tree and then manipulated. I guess this is handy if you're doing this HTML/CSS/JavaScript stuff all the time but it doesn't really have much impact on me.

The next thing I didn't like was all this passing of functions are around. People seem to love it, but it just makes the code hard to read and less metainable. However, in the constraint of an individual web page I suppose it doesn't matter so much.

TDD? I don't have time
Craig Nicol

Didn't really elicit anything new about Test Driven Development, except that the tools for working with Microsoft are not free like the they are for other platforms. However, I did like the big flashy arrow saying things like "Do something here" and pointing at the code, though I think that novelty would wear off quite quickly.

SQL Server Optimisation: Best Practice for Writing Efficient Code and Finding and Fixing Bad SQL to Improve Performance
Iain Kick

This was a great session. We use SQLServer with one of our DataEye customers, so this was of interest.

Iain started by going through the native tools available for looking at performance on SQL Server then ended by showing Quest's own product, which was frankly very impressive and I'll be talking to our DataEye customer to find out if they've used it.

What is functional programming?
Barry Carr

I was a little worried about this, especially since I'd more or less had enough Microsoft spin on everything all day, but Barry actually used Scala to talk about functional programming, so this was pretty good as Scala runs on both Java and .NET. Have to admit that I learned more from Barry's talk than I did from Ted Neward at The Serverside Java Symposium.

However, I'm still not sure where I see Scala or in fact any functional programming language, fitting in to enterprise. That said, the paradigm suits a parallel computing project quite well since immutability means that small chunks of work can easily be delegated to other processors, either on the same hardware node, or a remote one.

Apparently some people say that Scala will replace Java on the VM. I very much doubt that. It is a different way of thinking and the syntax is not straight forward. If anything I think that Groovy will have a bigger impact in the Java community as it isn't asking developers to deviate from anything they already know and can slot in to existing projects quite easily.

Scrum Pain: Lessons learned swimming against the current
Abid Quereshi

Finally, this was also a great session and I will definately be taking some feedback to my employeer. Courage!


Overall a great day, especially for the price (free). I even got a couple of free Microsoft t-shirts (great for painting, so I'll be letting my wife have them) and a free ball thing. Good stuff.

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