Saturday, October 07, 2006

Back from JAOO conference

Just came back from Aarhus - Denmark, where the JAOO conference was, and spent the day trying to catch up (recover) from all the things (mess) happened while I was away.
Conference was great! And I had the pleasure to listen some very cool speeches and meet some nice folks as well. There’s plenty of things to blog about, but I’ll start making brief summary of the overall trends I smelled from jumping from one track to another.
  • UML (down): there’s been no hype at all, and notably some sarcasm about the latest evolutions of UML. The idea that UML is the way to design software via cool tools, looks definitely doomed. UML should be used only as away to communicate between humans, possibly on a whiteboard.

  • XP (down): though everybody was pretty happy about agile practices in general, there were no XP advocates as speakers, and no hype about XP practices, probably because too many have been touched by the chaotic dark side of a not-so-well-defined XP development process, or simply because XP doesn’t fit all needs.

  • SCRUM (up): despite the somehow BORGish attitude of Jeff Sutherland, he indeed made an impressive speech. It looks like that SCRUM might be the mainstream agile methodology, possibly because it can scale up better than XP.

  • Domain Specific Languages (up): they deserved a track on their own. As a general trend more and more attention is put on the core domain of software application, and expressing the domain logic in the most suitable mean – such as a specific language that catches and leverages the domain peculiarities – is one way to enhance development productivity and increase the delivered value.

  • Agile Software Development (stable): there was nothing pretty new on that area, even if speeches from Alistaire Cockburn and Kevlin Henney have been simply great. The main important fact is that, when polled, 80% of the audience answered that they were on Agile methodologies. Which is pretty high, even if some of them weren’t fully compliant to the agile manifesto.

  • Domain Driven Design (up): The book from Eric Evans is really getting mainstream. Eric himself is a great communicator, and his slides were the best presented overall. The main idea is that the real asset of a complex software project it’s in the model, not in the technology, and that you should make your best to come up with the best possible model. In a certain way also Rod Johnson’s speech draw the line on putting the real OOP back in the centre of the operations.

  • CASE Tools (down): nobody really uses them any more, they sound more harmful than useless.

  • MDA (down): same problem. Though MDA could be part of the “back to the model” trend, everybody was very keen in specifying that they were not talking about MDA. The overall feeling is that all the specification is too vendor oriented, and generally far from the needs of the average projects.

  • AOP (stable): good news are that AspectJ definitely works. But apart from massive adoption in c and in a couple of other tools looks like Spring 2.0 it won’t really make it to the mainstream development.

  • Ruby (up): a lot of interest about the language, which has been pretty carefully designed to meet developer’s taste. Everybody wants give it a try.

  • AJAX (up): it’s getting a compulsory mainstream, for both enterprise and web2.0 applications. Google toolkit made an big impact, and we’re probably going to see something really astonishing in the way applications are built pretty soon.

  • ORM (down): everybody looked so bored by the term. The same applies to XML as well.
An Italian version of this post has been published on the online Java magazine Mokabyte. You can read it here.

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