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Øredev 2008

I am going to go next in a long line of Øredev fans (Ayende, Glenn, Peter and others) and add to the praise of this years conference – it was a great experience! I have never been to Øredev before, but from what I’ve heard this years greatness is not an exception. It was like one of those great parties you go to and there are lots of interesting people you want to talk to and catch up with, then suddenly the party is over and you feel you never got around to talk to anyone because you were busy… talking! I did go to some great sessions and had some very interesting conversations but I somehow felt that I missed out on even more sessions and conversations.

To be fair I had some work left to do with my talk (since I strangely enough did not find the time to work on it at OOPSLA and PDC) so I guess I missed out on a few opportunities while working. Since I did the introduction on the ALT.NET track in the morning of Day 2, I could at least focus on two thirds of the conference.

The ALT.NET track had my attention the entire Thursday and I really enjoyed all of the talks. First out, following my introductory talk, was our track host Scott Bellware on “Good Test, Better Code”. He gave us a taste of his flavour of Behaviour-Driven Development using the Context/Specification framework MSpec. It is really fun listening to Scott as he is very passionate about stuff, e.g., not having to read other people’s code, which seems to be the main driver behind his BDD work… Unfortunately, 50 minutes wasn’t enough time to get into the details, but it sure left me wanting more.

After lunch, Microsoft Program Manager (MEF team) and ALT.NET activist Glenn Block gave a talk about Microsoft and ALT.NET. Even though not much of what he had to say was new to me, it was still uplifting to see all of the initiatives actually taken by Microsoft to be more open towards Open Source and other communities in general. CodePlex, JQuery integration, source code release of ASP.NET MVC and other projects, etc. With Microsoft employees such as Glenn, there’s certainly hope.

Next up was Ayende, by many percieved as the ALT.NET guy, with a talk on Castle ActiveRecord: “Using Active Record to write less code” Ayende argued that persistence is a solved problem and that it should not only be considered unnecessary, but even criminal, to be writing persistence code since your stealing from your employer or customer. He used live coding to show the audience in an entertaining way how easy persistence code is when using NHibernate and Castle ActiveRecord. It was a great session as Peter Hultgren already told you.

Scott Bellware did another session in the afternoon, this time the subject was “5 Things I Learned from Lean that Could Have Saved My Last Agile project”. Scott talked about his experiences with an agile project that went bad and finally was cancelled. He gave a short introduction to Lean thinking and how it applies to software development and then introduced a few lean principles and practices that maybe could have kept the project on track. I found this talk very interesting since I really like lean thinking – I think it has a more explicit focus on the big picture, and on continuous improvement, than (other) agile methods.

The grand finale of the ALT.NET track was a panel discussion in which yours truly got invited to join the panel together with the other speakers on the track. We discussed the future of ALT.NET (to be subsumed by Mainstream.NET), differences between the Java and the .NET worlds (one vendor to rule them all) and were asked a couple of interesting questions from the audience (among others Aslam Khan, Magnus Mårtensson, Patrik Löwendahl and Claudio Perrone).

A few other interesting sessions I attended were “High Accountability Exploratory Testing” with James Bach (what a great and funny guy!) and “Clean Code” with Robert C. Martin. Ted Newards and Robert C. Martins keynotes were also nice. Among the talks I missed I heard that Aslam Khan and Luke Hohmann were great. I take comfort in the fact that they soon will be available online at the Øredev site.

I would also like to mention the speakers dinner at city hall and all the informal conversations at Bishops arms pub and other places among the definite highlights of the Øredev experience. Thank you Michael Tiberg and all of you who made Øredev such a great conference. And I hope to see you all again next year! ;-)

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