CodeMash Nuggets


This year I was fortunate enough to attend CodeMash in Ohio. Just like last time, it was an amazing experience. The speakers, the venue, the food, the folks in attendance. All of it made for a great experience. I learned, I laughed, I left exhausted.

General Observations

I went to mostly mobile-oriented talks, and over a two day period every single speaker I watched used a Mac. On top of that, all the presentations were very minimalist. I don’t know if that’s the tools on the platform or folks finally rejecting the glitz of PowerPoint and focusing on content. I hope it’s the latter. Sales folks take note.

Mobile developers are actively rejecting the BlackBerry platform. One even pointed out how his company just stopped accepting work for that platform. Another who was building a mobile product pointed out that the expense of supporting the BlackBerry platform across three different active versions was too much. Has any technology died so publicly?

In the Java-oriented talks I saw, there was very little Eclipse. Mostly I saw IntelliJ Idea. This was interesting for me, because I love ReSharper for .Net work, and have been using WebStorm for HTML5/JavaScript coding.

Notable Quotes

As always, there were a number of notable quotes that summed up so many aspects of what was being conveyed.

Ted Neward, Keynote Address

“Reject the Goal of Reuse”

I’ve been seeing this message more and more lately. Reuse happens so rarely unless you are actually building a library, that otherwise you are probably wasting effort and introducing bugs by striving for reuse in code that was not necessarily intended for reuse.

“Best practices are merely average”  “Best practices == avoid thinking”

The bigger the company, the more they care about best practices. So there will be fewer risks, fewer rewards, and overall mediocre results. Seen it, sadly still living it.

“Reject the temptation of the familiar”

I’ve been working on this one for almost the last year. I’m learning the mobile paradigm, learning Java, writing services in something other than .Net. I am very surprised how much I had blinders on when I was immersed in Microsoft-only development.

Bill Pugh, Effective Use of FindBugs in Large Software Development Efforts

“The challenge for FindBugs is to find the intersection of stupid and important.”

I have long been a fan of automated tools for helping me tighten up code. His quote sums up the intent perfectly, finding the stupid mistakes you may have made that could result in important problems in your code.

Ted Neward, Android: Where You Can Stick Data

Answering questions about SQLite on Android: “It’s not Oracle, and if you treat it like it is you’re doing it wrong.”

Understand your platform and user paradigm. Enough said.

Bruce Eckel, Polyglot Programming: The Power of Hybridization

“You don’t know where the difficult parts will be”

So don’t plan to optimize anywhere, you won’t be right ahead of time. I have seen this myself more than once. The real trouble isn’t visible at the beginning. See any article on estimating for another aspect of this issue.

“Typing is noise”

Bruce favors languages with minimalist syntax, believing those languages express your solutions clearly for those who come after to read your code. This has inspired me to start learning Python.

“Go will replace C++ as the low-level language used in high performance applications”

I’m recording this for posterity. Bruce says he’s remarkably good at predicting these things, even though no one listens. I’ve read some of his work and have faith, so you read it here first.

Bruce Eckel, Reinventing Business

“The best people would be leaving companies all around you to come work for you if you were hiring the best

There is a metric for your recruiting staff.

Geeks Are Funny

After dinner on Thursday, there was a Pecha Kucha competition which was great entertainment, hosted by the inimitable Scott Hanselman, with a geek celebrity panel of judges consisting of Ted Neward, Julie Lerman, and Keith Elder. The winner was Leon Gersing, the heartfelt and real @rubybudda. Here are a couple cell phone videos of the event:

Jon Skeet Coding in the Style of Glee

Mel Grubb Urinal Rules

Leon Gersing On Love  Tiebreaker (Talking to a set of slides he’s never seen before)

Just as good as the talks was the Twitter stream on the big screen behind the presenters. You see a brief glimpse of it at the beginning of Jon’s talk. Geeks are funny.