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Day 3 of No Fluff Just Stuff

Well another year at No Fluff Just Stuff is in the books. Anyone who has been following my blog lately knows my two cents so once again, I’ll stick to the sessions I attended: Flex for Java Developers by David Geary, Tacking Concurrency on the JVM and Building External DSLs by Venkat Subramanian and finally Communication Skills for Knowledge Workers by Neal Ford.

You’ll notice right away that this last day, I stuck with heavy hitters. Geary is huge in the front end/web space and Venkat and Ford are both general gurus. The first talk was Flex for Java Developers. This was the first time I had attended a David Geary talk and to be honest, will probably be my last. It was disappointing that he had packed the session with so much material that he basically had to code “heads down” the entire time to get it all in. He wasn’t very receptive to questions (many hands raised were quietly lowered after waiting too long) and frankly I would have expected a better looking demo than the one he did.

The next two talks I attended were by Venkat. Venkat is a great speaker. He is charismatic, funny and knows his stuff. It’s hard for me not to recommend any of his talks. The concurrency in Java talk was no surprise. The message was: “Since you need to be God to write correct concurrent code in Java, write it in Scala instead”. No arguments there and after watching his demo on how easy it was to do safe concurrent code in Scala (and a bit in Closure at the end), I’m convinced that if I had to write concurrent code, Java would not be my language of choice.

Next was external DSLs. This was basically an xText tutorial. xText was very impressive both on the ability to write the parser for the language but that you would be able to validate it as well (a major disadvantage of writing DSLs in languages like Groovy). Once again, Venkat rocked and I recommend the talk.

Finally I went to Neal Ford’s communication talk. I love listening to Neal Ford. He’s a geek’s geek. He knows his stuff, can communicate well and understands why things work (not only how). In this talk he explored the different communication channels we use in IT and proceeded to tell us how to use them better. Unfortunately, I felt that most of this talk was repeated from his other talks (which goes back to my previous rants on no new topics). Neal was entertaining as always, but I left the talk wanting to have heard things I hadn’t heard before and that wasn’t the case.

So that’s it. NFJS 2009 Chicago is done. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to pin Jay down to ask about the topics presented, but I did send my feedback to them. If I hear anything back, I’ll be sure to post it. Did you go to NFJS this year? What were your thoughts? Let us know in the comments!

2 Responses to “Day 3 of No Fluff Just Stuff”

  • Mike responded:

    I’ve done concurrency in Java and did not really find it that bad (a bit elitist, but most things in Java are), but it is not as easy as concurrency in C using Pthreads. I’d like to check out Erlang sometime, since it was built from the bottom up for concurrency. I was going to go to NFJS this year, but had plans already for that weekend.

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