Flex 4 and SD West 2009

Last week I spoke on Flex 4 at SD West 2009. Apart from the warm California weather, I enjoyed the great conference. It had the usual impressive line-up of speakers and attendees, a good number of expo participants and the annual JOLT awards ceremony.

The flagship topic of the conference, as is at most SD conferences (SD Best Practices and SD West), was “agile” software development. Added to it was a pinch  of DSL(s), good old C++, Java, .Net, cloud computing, web2.0, security, testing and the now much less talked about data structures and such. The conference was structured around the following tracks:

  • Agile Processes, People & Methods
  • C++
  • Cloud Computing
  • Java
  • Modeling & Design
  • .NET
  • New Horizons
  • Pervasive Parallelism
  • Requirements & Analysis
  • Security
  • Testing & Quality
  • Web 2.0 and Beyond
  • Web Services, REST and SOA

Considering that conferences are increasingly getting specialized, the diverse set of tracks might make you dizzy. However, things were not that confusing though. There was clearly some old love for C++ and favor for the wide spread Java and .Net and as mentioned the theme of agility pervaded through them all.

The Web 2.0 and beyond track, in which my Flex 4 presentation was categorized, was not really the central focus of this event, although the track included some well known speakers like Neal Ford and Allen Holub. So my initial feeling about number of attendees for my session (Introduction to Flex 4) was quite mixed. At one level I anticipated complete indiffernce from the masses and at another I suspected the lure of the “new new thing” pulling them to me. Finally, ended up having a room full of attendees and am very happy about it. Better still, I think I probably made a good presentation, cause hardly any one was distracted during the session or walked out in the middle. There were a ton of questions and active participation. From the questions, it was clear some knew Flex well and had possibly used it for building real life applications. However, it was also apparent that some knew just the bare essentials of Flex.

My presentation focused exclusively on the concepts and stayed away from discussing the API (considering its volatile current state). I did show some working code and a whole lot of partial code snippets, which was much appreciated. From prior experience, I am convinced the developer in us gets quite excited on seeing interesting code bits and goes off to sleep when exposed to reams of it sprayed all over the slides.  All-in-all I think many people felt happy at the end of the session having discovered part of the future now.

I can’t post the original presentation online due to the contractual obligations with the conference organizers.  You can buy the recording from them though. I plan to run a set of public presentations on Flex 4 and I promise to make them available online soon.

 Apart from speaking at the event, I was also acting as the proxy JOLT award receiver on behalf of my friends at ZeroTurnAround, who could not make it to the conference. They have a pretty cool tool called JavaRebel, which alleviates the pain of repetitive compile-deploy cycle during Java development. Wonder, if my Ruby friends who love to bad mouth Java’s shortcoming  and overhead related to compile-deploy have to say anything about it. JavaRebel won the JOLT productivity award in the utilities category this year. Congratulations folks!

It was a hurried up trip for me as usual and as it always happens on my way back to New York, I spent a good amount of time at the SFO airport and on the flight. Got back and was immediately caught up with my next set of endeavours.  Life seems perpetually so busy, but honestly it isn’t a bad thing in these recessionary times. What say?

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