Wednesday, July 21, 2010

OSCON Another Day

After the less than thrilling key notes, I went to another Scala session. A lot of it was repetition, but I learn a bit more at each one. The recurring theme seems to be if you're going to use Scala, use Simple Build Tool (SBT).

Next I went to a talk on GPARS, a Groovy concurrency library. The talk was as much about concurrent programming patterns as about Groovy, which suited me.

Next, I was going to go to one of the database talks, but then I realized it was a vendor presentation and they're usually more sales spiel than technical. Looking for an alternative I noticed Robert (R0ml) Lefkowitz had a talk on Competition versus Collaboration. If you've never listened to one of his talks, it's well worth it. They are as much performances as presentations and always thought provoking. (search for Lefkowitz on the Conversations Network)

Next was a talk on Clojure (a Lisp that runs on the JVM). The title was "Practical Clojure Programming" which sounds like an intro, but it was actually about build tools, IDE's, and deployment. Like most of the audience, I would have rather heard more about Clojure itself. I guess we should have read the description closer.

Finally, I snuck into the Emerging Languages Camp to hear Charles Nutter talk about Myrah (formerly Duby) his close-to-the-JVM-but-like-Ruby language. I would have been tempted to go to the Emerging Languages Camp (it was even free) but by the time they announced it, I'd already signed up for the regular sessions.

All in all, a pretty good day. Lots of food for thought, which is, of course, the point.

One thing I forgot to mention yesterday is that a lot of the Scala people are also (or ex-) Ruby/Rails people.  Maybe that's simply because they're the kind of people that like to learn/adopt new things.

But a lot of people left Java and went to Ruby, so it's surprising to see them coming almost full circle back to Scala. Scala is better than Java, but it's still a statically typed language like Java, which is part of what people seemed to reject. Maybe Ruby wasn't the silver bullet they were hoping. Maybe it was performance issues. Maybe they realized that static typing does have advantages after all. Maybe they realized the advantages of running on the JVM (although jRuby allows that). Maybe Scala's improvements over Java are enough to win people back.

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