The DevCreek team spent last week working on a number of submissions for the OOPSLA 2007 conference to be held in Montreal late October. This was the second deadline, papers had long since passed by, and we ended up submitting one each in the Demonstration, Poster and Onward!Film categories. We will learn of our fate in a few weeks.
Conference submission deadlines had closed in on us before, the last being back in March, At that time we just passed on it. We did collect together some ideas, but weren’t sure if we had sufficient data or the depth of knowledge with the system to back them up.
In reaction to this failure, we picked up on an idea that was floated last year in regard to a lack of paper submissions by the company in general. We had heard a number of concerns voiced: What can I write about? I don’t know how to write. Nobody else would be interested in what we are working on! It’s quite a leap to go from nothing to a full conference submission. So there was a suggestion of making the steps a little smaller: write up all your ideas as small blog entries, if any take hold explore the issue in follow-up blog entries, then try running a small workshop or making a presentation to the company. By the time a conference Call For Papers comes around that takes your fancy you would have a collection of reasonably well explored positions to chose from as the seed of your submission.
We dutifully followed the plan, aiming for a blog entry a week. Of course it started to peter out after a while, but we managed to build up a hand-full of entries. Come the OOPSLA deadline, we were still pressed for time, but in the end a number of our postings formed an influential basis for our submissions. I doubt there is any significant amount of text or images that made it into the submissions, but the fact that we had something to start from, and the confidence it conferred, allowed us to take on the submissions.
- The poster submission includes sections inspired by both the t-shirt and the test run ticker postings.
- The Onward!Film submission is based on the 0 to 1,169,500 posting.
I find it interesting that the writing of these individual postings was triggered by fun and playing around. The t-shirt pattern followed on after a fun observation regarding the shape traced by one of the project’s testing activity when projected onto an hour-of-the-day radar chart. Starting off with the t-shirt we ended up staring at all the different traces searching out fangs, shorts, left feet and what have you. The movie was simple plain madness, what would it look like like if we animated all of the testing activity by the DevCreek team? unintelligibly cool if nothing else.
Perhaps this element of fun is helpful letting you to quickly try out some wilder ideas that seem so difficult within the confines of a story. Regardless of that, the basic idea of putting together some simple blog posts as you go along with the expectation that a few will form the basis of a later conference submission or article seems to be a viable technique in practise.