QCON Conference Recap – Friday

“Keynote: Next Generation Service Orientation: The Grid, The Cloud and the Bus” – David Chappell

This one was tough. It wasn’t an epic fail like one of the other key notes, but it was boring. I ended up zoning out.

Primarily, it was a sales pitch for the Oracle SOA platform. As a co-worker stated it “and it wasn’t a good sales pitch”.

It looks extremely robust and configurable, but is ugly and seemingly very complex. I guess configuring an entire enterprise’s service layer is never going to be easy, but maybe it should look easy. It didn’t.

“The 7 Fundamentals of Mission-Critical Service Testing” – Robert D Schneider

At the beginning of every talk, I lookup the speaker and add their blog to Google Reader. In this case, I couldn’t. As luck would have it, there are other “Rob Schneiders” out there.

This wasn’t completely engrossing, but interesting.

“Codename “M”: Language, Data and Modeling, Oh My!” – Amanda Laucher and Don Box

This was a very lively session. Uncharacteristically of me, it took a few minutes for me to warm up to it. I was really interested in this technology and wanted to dig in. But, there were a lot of big names in the room and there was a lot of ego based bantering. I had to change my mindset to appreciate it. (I just wanted the info)

My understanding of OSLO appears to have been 100% wrong. I won’t make it worse by telling you what I thought.

The M language (modeling) is, I guess, just a tiny piece of the puzzle. It allows you to write your domain using any type of text format you like. M is is a language that will allow you to translate the text format to a tree structure which will converted to dynamic code using the DLR.

The program to do this in is called INTELLIPAD. They call it a 3 pane program, but have since added pane #4, but didn’t change the name. So, the 3 panes are:

  1. The test data. This is where you put the text you want to parse.
  2. The M program to do the translation
  3. The output of the translation as a tree
  4. The output window which shows any errors, etc

Once you’ve written the M program, you can perform a transformation in C#. The resulting object is of type DYNAMIC. You can code against the dynamic, although you won’t have any intellisense to help you.

This was an exciting demo. Its a very cool product. You can even debug in intellipad as it parses it.

This will be a huge help when writing DLSs. You no longer have to parse it out yourself. Of course, you have to learn a new language, but that’s what we do.

“A Skeptical View of Language Workbenches” – Glenn Vanderburg

Glenn started off toning down the “skeptical” part of the title. He’s not as negative about the concept as the title may lead you to believe.

Following Don Box and friends, this was a lot more toned down. He was very succinct. For bonus points, he played a scene from Serenity. Awesome.

I did end up zoning out a bit. I think his point was, though, that he’s not convinced the DSL workbenches are addressing the root problems of DSL. But, he seems encouraged by the direction they’re going.

“Intentional Software” – Magnus Christerson

There was a lot of excitement around Intentional Software. I was told that someone said something to the effect of “Microsoft is in the 18th Century compared to Intentional”.

Intentional Software’s Product is a collaboration tool for the domain expert and the programmer. It allows you to document the domain and convert that domain to rules and code. It then allows you to project (transform) that output as you need it. In the example we saw, the projection was to Ruby code.

Apparently this is the silver bullet of all of your DSL needs. I can’t argue… I don’t know enough about it. It looks big and it looks complex. By their own admission, it takes a developer user a few months to get up to speed. Its a new skill. Skills take time.

This was my first exposure to the product. I didn’t have enough background on it to fully appreciate it, but heck, it looked neat to me.

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