Über Conf Day 2 Trip Report

Day 2 of Über Conf (Day 1) started with about 30 runners heading out for a fun run. Some of us went farther than that and certainly felt the impact of running additional distance in this "mile high city". Here is a picture of some runners:

Here are some more pictures from the run:

Complete details about the run are below:

Many thanks to Ben Ellingson for arranging this!

The runners are meeting again outside the lobby at 7am. And if you are interested in a 10K+ run then I'll see you in the lobby at 6am.

I gave a talk on Java EE 6 & GlassFish 3 and the slides are now available:

I attended a few sessions today and here are my notes from them.

  • Transforming to Groovy - Venkat demonstrated Groovy's agility by taking converting a Java code to Groovy and highlighting the idioms on the way. He explained multi methods, delegation, improved reuse using Closures, Execute Around method, simplified List management, conciseness, multi-line string, file read, working with XML and other similar features of the language.
  • The Art of (Java) Benchmarking - Cliff Click talked about several micro and macro benchmarks and classified them in BUSTED and PLAUSIBLE categories with appropriate reasoning. There were clear recommendations such as warmup loops, planning for variation in results, multiple runs and reporting average and standard deviation, and many others to make sure the generated results are valid.
  • Hadoop Workshop I - The workshop required to run a VMWare image so I could not perform any of the hands-on stuff. But Matthew MucCullough gave a very good explanation of MapReduce, Hadoop, and other internals.
  • Building RESTful ROA Architecture at Orbitz - Alex Antonov talked about how Orbitz evolved from a Jini/Java-based SOA to a ROA architecture. He listed the standard request methods (GET, PUT, POST, DELETE), standard response codes (200, 202, 404, ...), clear resource representation, and simplicity of HTTP on "Why REST". A significant part of the talk was about Protocol Buffers - a language/platform neutral and extensible mechanism for serializing structured data.

The post-dinner panel discussion with @paulk_asert, @pragkirk, @iansrobinson , @johannarothman, @benrady, and @stuarthalloway was interesting as well.

Here are some of the Q&A from the session:

Q: What language would you recommend for beginning computer science ?
Stuart: Scheme
Kirk: Text-based environment does not excite them, try visual environment.
Paul: Most of the languages can give as many good habits as bad habits so no specific answer.
Ian: No specific language - something main stream like Java and C# and then move around.
Johanna: May be Scheme
Ben: Pure science (Lisp, C) or software engineering (Java, C#)

Q: What is the key to building resilience ?
Johanna: Broaden the specialties, expand the horizon
Ben: People who solve problems, use architect/development/testing/etc skills to solve the problems
Kirk: Always look for something that moves you away from your comfort zone
Stuart: Learning little bit about functional programming, start learning and you'll be there

Q. What strategies do you guys use to stay current ?
Stuart: Gadgets, follow the ambience using holes in the day (dropping kids, traffic lights, etc). Thinking during running and mechanical typing afterwards.
Ian: Highlight keywords, thinking during morning/evenings
Paul: Networking, look for smart people within your organization
Kirk: May be chained to desk 4 hrs but work hours is 10 hrs because of different gadgets
Ben: Follow the people that you know, RSS reader
Johanna: Don't keep up, pick & choose

Q. On your best project, what was the ratio of star/steady guys ?
Ben: 10:1 in a startup, the company folded
Stuart: 2:0 or 3:0 for the dream team, 5 too big
Johanna: 85 development team - all star, respect for each other, contentious discussions.
Kirk: 75 developers, 7 individuals core group drove the project. Fundamental force that made them succeed was team cohesion (been together for 2 years)
Paul: Have people in the team who can work
Ian: Diverse teams are good

There was discussion around craftsmanship and apprenticeship. Stuart talked about how "craftsmen swap" in like-minded shops can help the growth. There was also discussion around Resume-Driven-Development (RDD). Kirk and others point was that resume basically gets you to the interview, you still need to know the skill to get the job.

And just for fun, here is the panoramic view from my hotel room this morning:

It was simply breathtaking!

And here is the evolving photo album:

Technorati: conf uberconf glassfish javaee6 denver


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Arun Gupta is a technology enthusiast, a passionate runner, author, and a community guy who works for Oracle Corp.

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