Saturday, 5 April 2008

ACCU 2008 (Day 3)

So is it Friday or Wednesday yet? We've been held captive in a zoo of programmers for far too long, and the toll is starting to show. We're all going slowly mad, or technical, or both.

Friday at ACCU 2008 was just as rammed full of tech as the previous days, with another full track of functional programming sessions nestling alongside the traditional C++ talks, as well as sessions on rewriting code, packaging with RPM, development process issues, and more, and more.

Highlights for me included Andei Alexandrescu's talk on grafting functional support on top of an imperative language - an excellent trip into the D language's core facilities that support programming in a functional style in the same codebase as imperative code. If you're even slightly interested by that concept, or by language design, I highly recommend you check his material out. Towards the end of Andrei's talk I was left disappointed by the design of invariant constructors which didn't seem anywhere near as neat and regular as the clever use of the D type system to enable the functional and imperative code to coexist and share state. It seems that the design is still in flux, and it'll be cool to see how it develops.

Kevlin Henney gave a typically amusing and insightful talk on software testing. An excellent Henney quote: "In faliure the software will reveal itself". That is, when it goes wrong, you will learn about the structure and nature of a software system.

The day finished, and the night began (and - as ever - it was a looooong night) with the speakers dinner - another excellent ACCU tradition. That was rounded off with another new ACCU tradition, the boat race (that's a boat race, not a boat race) which solved once and for all which brace placement style is the One True Way - a score that the squash players earlier had spectacularly failed to settle. K&R lost, and so it has now been

    void established::that()
is_the_only(way, 2);

And now we can all sleep at night. Except that they didn't shut the bar, and very few people did.

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