Sunday, April 23, 2006

Return from ACCU conference

Most of the last week was at the ACCU conference in Oxford. Although ACCU has its roots in the C and C++ community the whole organization has been trying to move away from this for some time. This year I really felt we’re succeeding.

Yes I went to some C++ talks, yes a lot of people talked C++ but a lot of other subjects were covered too. People are just as happy to talk about Agile development, products, dynamic languages and about anything else to do with software development.

Before you ask, yes, my presentation was well received and I’ve got some good notes from the discussion. I’ll try and get these written up soon and post up both the slides and the comments in the next couple of days.

Overall I’m left with a lot of new information and ideas, plus things to think about and understand - I’ve got to update my mental maps.

For example, Peter Sommerlad did a session called “Only the code tells the truth” in which he set out challenge our assumptions about what is “good programming practice”. A few slides then a goldfish bowl discussion that really opened up some dark corners and said “Is accepted wisdom right?”

One of Peter’s questions was “Do comments help code maintainability?” - this got a lively reception. I must admit I’m tending towards the view that comments in the code don’t. I’ll leave a full discussion of that till later.

The conference was full of interesting people presenting or just attending. During the last hour or so I got talking to Gunter Obiltschnig of Applied Informatics in Austria. They have one of those libraries (C++, portable components) that sounds really useful, just I don’t have any need for it right now. One-day maybe.

Over the next week or so I’ll try and blog some more about of the interesting people and ideas at ACCU.

And, after being given some good feedback I’ll try and keep my blog entries short - or at least shorter than usual!