Fresh impressions right after the first day of the conference (in case someone's not familiar with - 33degree).
First general talk by Raffi Krikorian of Twitter, focused on their move away from RoR to a JVM-based solution. What's more important - not purely Java but Scala as well! I'm no Ruby expert so I learnt some baffling things about it, like one thread per Ruby process model and incredibly faulty GC ;) All in all, his final thought was that RoR is one of the most productive environment for web apps, but not suited to scale. On the other hand, once your product needs to scale and perform you probably have all the money needed to rewrite it.
As a side note - who'd guess few years ago that Java will be perceived as a key tool to achieve better performance? :)
Next two talks - Ken Sipe's "Complexity of Complexity" and Venkat Subramaniam's
"Pointy haired bosses and pragmatic programmers: Facts and Fallacies of Software Development" were typical "generic", entertaining talks as encountered on each and every conference. I don't mean to say the talks were bad, not at all! I personally fancy such presentation, not only filled with geek-jokes and funny slides but also sharing general wisdom stemming from experience in the software development business. It's sometimes akin to looking at a "old scar", like first project that was "overarchitectured" or filled with unnecessary design patterns, just because developers have recently learned them (let's refactor to factory! everything! [diabolic laugh]). Simply put - I enjoyed them but I can't say I learnt a lot.
Next it became harder, as conference split on 4 tracks and I had to blindly choose what to attend. Retrospectively, my picks were 50/50, just as the calculus of probability would say.
"Build Trust in Your Build to Deployment Flow!" was disappointing. I expected something about DevOps/Continuous Deployment and got "Artifactory" feature walk-on. It has some advantages as compared to other artifact repositories (like Maven's Nexus), but it'd not call it DevOps-centric. Unless I'd like to attract some attention by using a trendy buzzword ;)
Sadek Drobi's "Non blocking, composable reactive web programming with Iteratees" was a good, technical demonstration of some Scala's Play capabilities. And those are definitely impressive! Unfortunately presenter assumed participants' deep knowledge of Scala, so from time to time I had problems catching up.
The last presentation was "import continuous.delivery." by Toomas Römer (of ZeroTurnaround). Next attempt in my "quest for holy DevOps". As his predecessor Toomas focused on presenting a product of his company - LiveRebel. However this time I was able to see how it can be nicely integrated within semi-automatic build/deployment/promotion flow. Good job ZeroTurnaround!
Two lessons learned today:
1. Worth to take a deeper look at the Scala, even though ugly Pascal-like syntax :) There are some very interesting ideas behind the language and it's "web arm" - Play.
2. ZeroTurnaround products can sweeten DevOps implementation a bit. Functionally the same can be achieved with a bunch of shell scripts and cron jobs, but why bother? ;)