Greater Toronto Software Symposium 2006

Greater Toronto Software Symposium – No Fluff Just Stuff

From Friday, October 20 to Sunday, October 22, I was at the “No Fluff Just Stuff” conference near Pearson. This was the first NFJS in Toronto. The following are my observations from this conference.

Talks and Major Topics

Conference Buzz

  • The big recurring topics were Ajax and Web Services, Ruby/Rails and Groovy.
  • There was a lot of interest in tools and techniques for crazy JavaScript stuff on the front end.
  • Lots of talk about REST vs. SOAP. And people like to say “RESTful services.”
  • The biggest buzz was around Ruby and Ruby on Rails. However, people weren’t talking about jumping onto that particular bandwagon. Thoughts were either of the sour grapes variety, or “What can we learn from Ruby/Rails?”
  • MacBook Pros are cool.

General Tidbits

  • Venkat Subramaniam is a really good speaker. High speed typing makes for good demos. He types some code; shows some errors; show how to fix them. If you have a chance to see him present, take it.
  • At dinner, I heard about InfoQ. One thing I found of particular interest was their publishing model for free E-books or mini-books. “If you’ve got a whitepaper, it doesn’t take much to reformat it as an e-book.”
  • Scott Davis suggests adding geographical/mapping features to applications. He thinks that users will come to expect a list view, a details view, and a map view. Of course Scott Davis is also the author of Pragmatic GIS and Google Maps API: Adding Where to Your Applications so he might be biased.
  • The conference package came with a free copy of the NFJS 2006 Anthology.
  • Brian Sletten pointed out that source code for Eclipse and JUnit are a good place to look at patterns in action.
  • More than once, the point was made that in many cases design patterns make up for shortcomings of a language. C# has built in event handling and Ruby has modules, each of which make it nicer to implement Observer than using Java’s Observer/Observable classes. “Patterns are signs of weakness in programming languages.” I think it’s a reference to this blog: http://newbabe.pobox.com/~mjd/blog/prog/design-patterns.html
  • Prototype: JavaScript framework. http://prototype.conio.net/
  • Ant Script Visualizer: http://www.nurflugel.com/webstart/AntScriptVisualizer/
  • “SOAP is the EJB of the XML world.” Despite what the “S” stands for SOAP is complex, REST is simple. Start your project with REST, go to SOAP when necessary.
  • Interestingly, there were some rave comments about AppFuse.

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