Thursday, 3 April 2008

ACCU 2008 (Day 1)

It's Thursday morning and it seems like the delegates at the ACCU conference have recovered from the effects of John Lakos's presence at the hotel bar last night. He has a unique gift for buying a whole room multiple rounds of drinks (and holding the entire order in his head at once).

One day in, and the 2008 ACCU conference has proven to be another excellent event in the usual tradition. High quality sessions, and a great atmosphere combine to make a quite unique event. Compared to the other conferences I've been to there is something special about the ACCU conference; a lot of this is the focus of the talks and the people that come - people come here because they care about programming and want to learn how to do it better.

Here's a taster of day one...

Day one (the story so far)

Wednesday kicked off with a keynote by Tom Gilb. This was a thought provoking talk on his thoughts on software development process and his Evo methodology. He managed to tread on the toes of the agile contigent, and interestingly suggested using Evo as envelope around an agile process. One of his beautifully inflamatory statements was that "agile programming does not attempt to quantify the value of various pieces of work, so you are not able to pick the pieces of work that have the highest value, and so agile processes fail to deliver (as much) value." Or something like that. I'm not sure I agree.

Ric Parkin's talk on software design walked us through Alexander's seminal architectural books and considered their applicability to software design. Not new ground, but very though provoking. Jez and I on the back row took this to the logical conclusion and came up with "Grade 1 listed software" - the kind of thing that should not be touched without written planning consent.

Ric's most amusing quote, which will be repeated back to him many times over during the conference was "I don't mind introducing bugs". Thanks for that Ric. I can't dig him too much, though - he did give my book a free plug.

Steve Love's talk after lunch played to a packed room and followed this design thread and lead us to consider a snowflake soffware architecture.

I gave a talk in the following session, which (although I may be biased) went down pretty well, and was great fun.

The 19th Hole

That's a flavour of the sessions, but so much of the conference takes place away from the power point projector. The conversations over coffee, dinner, and beer (that stretched very, very late into the night) are the high-point of the conference.

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