NFJS – day 1

I’m attending the No Fluff Just Stuff Symposium this year.  This is a (relatively) low cost traveling conference with some excellent speakers.  Since it’s held here in the Twin Cities, there’s no travel costs and my employer sent a half dozen of us.

Friday morning I saw two excellent talks by Neal Ford, one covering REST and another on automated software testing.  Based on the first talk, REST seems to be growing up finally.   Up to now, my every exposure to REST digressed into low levels of abstraction.  Every REST proponent has seemed fixated on implemented an entire REST framework from scratch and crafting every problem to fit the HTTP protocol.  Neal’s talk, on the other hand, seemed perfectly happy with the JAX-RS stack and even talked about WADL definitions of REST services.  This is healthy.  A very good coverage of REST and the latest architectural thinking.

The testing lecture was even better.    As developers, we usually view unit tests as the only checks applied before we throw our code over the wall to QA.  This talk certainly covered unit tests well, but also covered many more tools and techniques available for us to improve the quality of our code.   It’s perfectly OK for developers to work on functional testing, integration testing, and user acceptance testing.  New techniques for mock testing and behavior driven testing were introduced.

In the afternoon I saw three sessions given by Venkat Subramaniam about Scala and about JVM concurrency.

Learning Scala has been on my to-do list for a while.  Venkat gave a good presentation, but the talk focused on the tricky, arcane things that can be done.   The presentation made the language look doubly intimidating, but did give me a better understanding of the Scala landscape.

Venkat has written books on Groovy and Scala and seemed pretty knowledgeable about Clojure, so he really knows his concurrency.   Most of his points were illustrated by writing code on the fly and executing them immediately.

The final presentation was about unit testing concurrent code.  I didn’t find his conclusion very satisfying, but he definitely showed that it is possible to do test driven development against multithreaded code.

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