I gave up on the idea of posting a summary of each day, because I simply had no time to do it. Lots of friends to talk to, a great city to at least give a short visit to, so I had to set priorities. At least I saw the Ramblas and the Sacrada Familia and had some ice cream at the waterfront last night – thanks to Yuri who convinced me of how stupid it would be not to go downtown and work or sleep instead. You will be able to watch all sessions’ recordings over the coming weeks and Niall again took notes all day, so that there’s not much value I could possibly add to all of this.
So I can just talk about my personal highlights and thoughts, some of which I may currently have placed somewhere outside of my short-term-memory due to overflow.
ESUG was simply great. Lots of people, lots of ideas, lots of infos and inspiration. Citilab was a great venue, and everything was organized very well. You can possibly tell from the recordings or if you watched some sessions online.
So my personal favorites wednesday to friday were:
Martin McClure showed us all about current PEG parsing solutions for Smalltalk, which can help all kinds of problems with clean and comprehensive code.
Cincom and Instantiatipons as well as Gemstone have been busy improving their tools and are coming up with new versions and extensions. In case of Instantiations the announcement of a now definitely decided cooperation with HPI in Potsdam for a Bachelor’s project to look at options to plug VAST onto GTK+ on Linux as well as their search for new engineers (yes, plural!) were received pretty well.
The social event at the museum was really nice. We just managed to see the exihibistions on floor -5, but I got the impression my kids would really love the place. We’ve walked the jungle, learned some illusionary tricks and made a few physical experiments. I especially liked the turning tablle with the vortexes in it. You can watch the patterns emerge and collapse for hours.
We’ve had very good wine and a great dessert outside the museum, enjoying the warm weather and lots of Smalltalk.
Thursday morning started a bit slower after the social event, but getting up for Joseph Pelrine’s on Retrospective Coherence was well worth it. It’s always inspring to listen to Joseph’s talks on agile methods. He’ snot religious about them but tries to find out what works best in a situation and has very nice metaphors and examples, so that it’s fun listening
My personal takeaway from Lukas’ talk on Seaside and Agile Development is mainly a desire to download and look into Hudson as a build server. He made setup and configuration of that thing look easy enough to give up on the idea of reimplementing all that stuff that’s in there in Smalltalk and Seaside. I know Julian Fitzell wanted to tell me that at the VAST Forum in a comment to my talk, but I completely missed his point back then. I know it will be beneficial for a few of my customers’ projects almost immediately, especially since we’ve already got all the building blocks for config management and automatic builds and deployment in place. Hudson will just make these much more than the sum of the individual parts.
The open source licenses panel was interesting and shocking at the same time. In short: no matter what you do, if someone wants to sue you, they can sue you and nobody will be able to tell you upfront in what direction this might go in court. But that might just be my impression. Lots of things to look at, lots of pitfalls for all contributors, users and vendors. Were you aware that if you write some code in your spare time, chances are your employer owns the rights to it? I wonder how any joint effort like Squeak or Pharo or whatever can be sure they even have the right to declare code as being theirs and grant any licenses if the authors themselves cannot be sure about it. This whole stuff simply is a bloody mess in my (now at least almost a little informed) opinion.
Show us your project sessions were neat. Everybody who wanted to show something had exactly 10 minutes to do so, and we’ve seen so many completely different things that I can hardly remember all of them.
I especially liked both the idea and software for getitmade.com, which is going to be a platform for getting inventors, manufacturers and buyers together. Say you have this idea of a cool laptop stand made of cork and hanging from the ceiling and want to get it to the market, but have no idea how to make them and how to market them. Getitmade.com will be the platform for you.
Jan van de Sandt’s demo of his ready-made, pharo based Seaside-Image on Amazon EC2 literally showed how you can be up and running with a Seaside Server on EC2 within 10 minutes. Cool stuff.
We also saw a bit of the Google Summer Of Code projects in Scratch and portable namespaces, both of which seem to have come quite far.
Friday for me mostly was about Gemstone and MARS, both of which I’ve covered before. Still. Mars looks very promising, and I can hardly wait until I get the code and time to use it.
Let me finish with a few comments on the overall event:
The Museum was great, but I would rather see a bit of the region or city I am at. Just like the boat ride in Brest last year. I am sure Barcelona has so much that’s worth visiting.
The ESUG tech awards presentations again were in one single, crowded, loud room, so that you could hardly understand anything unles you sat next to the person. I got tired of that and thus didn’t take a look at all of them. This way, I completely missed Torch, which would have gotten my vote for sure. My only idea about this is that I’d probably like to see the “show us your project” and the tech awards presentations merged into one. Maybe one session of projects that want to take part in the competition, ad one open session that’s not related to the competition would work out better.
Having the lunch as a buffet would allow for shorter lunch breaks, but on the other hand, we had a lot of time for networking.
Seaside still is the one framework that somehow unites the community, attracts new developers into Smalltalk and this year we’ve seen more Seaside-related projects and talks than ever before, even though it starts being not particularly new in terms of IT buzzword life cycles 😉
It is cool to see that people are joining the community and almost immediately contribute to some open source project. Many new faces joined our community, coming from Ruby, or iPhone development and bringing in their fresh ideas.
A big thank you to the local organizers and to ESUG for setting this up. And a big thank you to our fellow sponsors who made this possible. But the biggest thank you goes to the people who came and made it the great event it was!