TITLE: OOPSLA This and That
AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford
DATE: October 28, 2006 8:05 PM
In addition to the several OOPSLA sessions I've already blogged
about, there were a number of other fun or educational moments
at the conference. Here are a few...
presented an intriguing Onward! talk called
The Geography of Programming.
She suggested that we might learn something about programming
language design by considering the differences between Western
and Eastern thought. Her motivation came from Richard Nisbett's
The Geography of Thought: How Asians and Westerners Think
Differently--And Why. One more book added to my must-read
Partly in honor of OOPSLA stalwart John Vlissides, who
passed away since OOPSLA'05,
and partly in honor of Vlissides et al.'s seminal book
there was a GoF retrospective panel. I learned two bits of
trivia... John's favorite patterns were flyweight (which made
it into the book) and solitaire (which didn't). The oldest
instance of a GoF pattern they found in a real system?
Observer -- in Ivan Sutherland's
Is anyone surprised that this pattern has been around that long,
or that Sutherland discovered its use over 40 years ago? I'm not.
On the last morning of the conference, there was scheduled
a panel on the marriage of XP and Scrum in industry. Apparently,
though, before I arrived on the scene it had morphed into
something more generally agile. While discussing agile
practices, "Object Dave" Thomas admitted he believes that,
contrary to what many agilists seem to imply, comments in code
are useful. After all, "not all code can be read, being
encrypted in Java or C++ as it is". But he then absolved his
sin a bit by noting that the comment should be "structurally
attached" to the code with which it belongs; that is a tool
Then, on the last afternoon of the conference, I
listened in on the Young Guns panel, in which nearly a dozen
computer scientists under the age of 0x0020 commented on the
past, present, and future of objects and computing. One of
these young researchers commented that scientists tend to
make their great discoveries while still very young, because
they don't yet know what's impossible. To popularize this
wisdom, gadfly and moderator
suggested a new motto for our community: "Embrace ignorance."
During this session, it occurred to me that I am no
longer a "young gun" myself, spending the six last days of my
0x0029th year at OOPSLA. This is part of how I try to stay
"busy being born", and I look forward to it every year. I
certainly don't feel like an old fogie, at least not often.
Finally, as we were wrapping up the conference in the
committee room after the annual ice cream social, I told
Dick Gabriel that I would walk across the street to hear
Guy Steele read a restaurant menu aloud. Maybe there is a
little bit of
going on here, but I always seem to learn something when Steele
shares his thoughts on computing.
Another fine OOPSLA is in the books. The 2007 conference
committee is already at work putting together next year's
event, to be held in Montreal during the same week. Wish
us wisdom and good fortune!