YOW 2013 Roundup

Well YOW Conference is over again at least in Brisbane for another year. I had a great time and most of the talks were very enlightening and certainly have given me food for thought. A few even managed to confirm that some of the direction I would like to take my team and myself towards more Scala and Clojure maybe a good thing after all. Here is a quick round up of some of my favourite talks:

Jeff Hawkins’ Keynote “Computing Like the Brain: This was a great talk. It was easy to see that Jeff was really passionate about this area of research and the opportunities it may potentially unlock both in computing and our understanding of the biological processes.

The examples of what the system was capable of doing from learning patterns unsupervised was very impressive. I would love to have some time to see if we can apply it to some of our problems at work. However for now, I think I will just add Jeff’s white paper to my reading list.

The open source code behind this model of learning can be found at Numenta.

Jeff Patton’s “Safety Not Guaranteed” An insightful talk about development process. It looked at where waterfall and SCRUM came from and how the current day practices tend to diverge from the intent of the original papers. The main thrust of the talk that I took away was, no matter what process you are following, it is winning the game that matters. A few interesting quotes from Jeff’s talk: * Good process is messy, not ordered. * Clear goals, Finishing on time isn’t success. * Getting results is the most important. * Process != Skill, Roles != Positions and Finishing on time != Winning. Stop worrying about velocity and start focusing on winning the game.

My takeaways from this talk are: * Look at IDEO’s Design Thinking concept more of Empathy -> Define -> Ideate -> Prototype -> Test -> Build It. * Actually read Winston Royce’s paper that lead to Waterfall. Managing the Development of Large Software Systems * Read the Japanese paper that lead to SCRUM’s name. The New New Product Development Game

Functional Programming

Overall I attended 4 different talks that were related to functional programming. These were very well attended and had good audience participation. The interesting takeaway I got was that Clojure is really getting quite a bit of traction. The two presenters from DRW Trading and Thoughtworks really talked highly about it.

This is good in that it confirms some of my thinking lately that Clojure may be a better option than Scala for some areas. My current plan is to continue to checkout Scala and Play, try to integrate it some what into our product at work. However I am keen to do more with Clojure too. From my experiments to date, I find the lien is easier and nicer than sbt.

Micro Service Architectures

Also there were some good talks around this style of creating and deploying services. Seems that the general consensus these days is to deploy lots of micro services typically exposed using REST/json interfaces. The great thing I picked up in these talks is a small book that seems to be very simple and elegant guide to creating good RESTful interfaces. Web API Design by Apigee.


A great event, the venue was very nice. I hadn’t been in this new part of the Brisbane Convention Centre before this week. All the speakers did a terrific job and things went very smoothy. A real credit to the organisers!

Based on the content of the presentations and discussions between events. It seems that the meme for the coming year will be more Functional Programming and RESTful micro services.

Looking forward to next year all ready.

Written on November 12, 2013