August, 2010

Aug 10

The Language Matters on the Software Engineering Productivity Podcast

Actually, I used my phone.

In this episode, Richard Minerich tells why the language developers use can have a huge impact on their productivity. New high level languages, like F# (one of Richard’s favourite languages), free engineers from much of the traditional drudgery leading to faster development cycles and better quality.”

I recently had the pleasure of being a guest on Michael Surkan’s Software Engineering Productivity podcast.  The topic: why language choice matters in software engineering.  Michael contacted me to join him on his show after many pages of heated debate on a topic I started in his Linked-in group of the same name.  It seems many still feel that language choice has little impact as long as it meets the basic project requirements.  I disagree.

Listening to it afterward, I think I did quite a good job of getting most of the many ‘whys’ across.  Not bad for 20 minutes.

Aug 10

In Retrospect: TechEd 2010 North America

Celebrity photo op with Sara Ford

This year I was invited by Microsoft to attend TechEd 2010 North America in New Orleans.  Largely, I was to be found at the Visual Studio languages booth answering questions about F#.  It was exhilarating to hear so many developers come up and talk about how they were planning to use F# to tackle what they previously thought insurmountable.  Most often I heard engineers tell me about how they wanted to paralellize complex computations but didn’t want to sacrifice the readability of their models.  Although, a great many were also excited just to dig into some new language features and to try and understand programming in a new way.

One of the most exciting things about the trip was that Amanda Laucher and Ed Hickey helped me to put together an on-site meeting for the New England F# User Group.   Steffen Forkmann spoke on his F# projects from Germany to two audiences: one at our usual location in at the Microsoft Nerd Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts and another at TechEd NA 2010 in New Orleans.  Thanks to Talbott, who was facilitating the Cambridge meeting along with Michael, a video of the talk is now available online.

I spent my off time hunting down smart people and forcing them to hang out.  Thankfully, most didn’t seem to mind.  The Visual Studio languages guys were friendly as always.  Of the few I didn’t meet at the MVP summit, it was most fantastic to finally meet Amanda Laucher in person.  When she’s around things just seem to magically come together.  I also had some awesome times with Alan Stevens, a man even more rad in person than in the stories they tell about him.

That Friday I hopped on a plane euphoric and exhausted, and headed to Singularity Summit 2010 for a slightly more intellectual, but much more subdued time.