SCNA 2011 Brain Dump Edition

Corey Haines started the conference off a bit worried. Are we repeating the mistakes of the '90? Are "learn to code in 24 hour" mentalities populating startups with unprepared developers writing tomorrows legacy code? He suggests reading Learn to Program in 10 Years instead. Businesses are desperate for for people who can code. If they were desperate for people who can build houses, would we see a glut of houses falling apart two years from now? He then pointed out a few rays of hope GirlDevelopIt and Craftsmanship Academy; prime examples of the professional community reaching out to beginners and peers to help guide them past the mistakes of the past. We bring value to the businesses that hire us, part of that value is sustainability. Here is a great mind map of the entire talk by Zee Spencer, for more details.

Michael Feathers, a personal hero, followed up by challenging us to invest in learning functional concepts. He describes functional techniques as a DSL for a wider domain and it is time to integrate these techniques into a shared understanding in our programming languages. Traditional OOP developers initially have a "WTF is that?" reaction to functional techniques, proclaiming a lack of clarity. But Mr. Feathers points out that Arabic is gibberish to him, but millions of people communicate effectively every day using it. This reminded me of  Rich Hickey's Simple Made Easy presentation at Strange Loop this year. Something that is unfamiliar to you does not make that thing complex. It may be very simple, just not easy from your current context. The line between readable and "clever" is relative to shared vocabulary. Here is a nice mind map of the talk by Chris Powers.

More to come...

Follow me on Mastodon!