Back from ICON UK with some goodies.

Another year gone and ICON UK did not disappoint. Tim Clark made a wonderful job of continuing on the success of last year’s performance, bringing back the event to two full days. IBM graciously hosted us in its stanley kubrik-esque Client Center, with stunning Thames views, lovely food, good infrastructure. Wonderful.

René Winkelmeyer held a wonderful session on gradle and I was very impressed by his mastery of his computer. He was actually using vim to edit text files, and I must admit that I was so impressed that I am actually writing this blog on vim, learning the hard way. Really fast, configurable, powerful text editors that are done for programmers seem to be more and more the norm. Beside vim, there’s sublime text, Matt White mentioned Atom as being his favourite, and I must admit that it is really a refreshing break after Eclipse, which is slow and ponderous in comparison. I’m not even making the comparison to DDE.

Here are the slides: http://www.slideshare.net/muenzpraeger/iconuk-2015-gradle-up

Speaking of gradle, that’s another trend which I can see happening in parallel in several different systems. I’ve been discovering the joys of Linux and scripting because of a small raspberry pi project I am doing on the side, and there is a common theme of self-updating, self-building systems, be it apt-get (for linus os x updates), or bower (for javascript libraries), or homebrew formac os libraries, or maven for building up the dependencies for a java project. The skillset needed to build a modern project is getting to be more and more to know which great big building blocks are needed and mastering the building tool. I’ve been trying to get my head around Maven right now, but since I heard some dark mutterings by Paul Withers about the documentation of Maven, I think I’m going to just jump over Maven and go to gradle directly.

I had the pleasure attending the session by Bill Malchisky and I’m proud to say that I understood at least half of what he said. He speaks surprisingly fast and surprisingly exactly; it’s an uncommon combination but one really needs to listen hard. He is also a script master, and again, eerily, a nudge in the direction of ‘invest in your text-editor and typing skill’.

Matt White showed the magic of node.js, which is used extensively in their solution LDC Via, and there again I was seduced by the simple structure, and the promise of only a single thread working very very fast.

I spent a thoroughly enjoyable hour with Serdar, and I discovered that we share many opinions as ‘convinced skeptics’. It was a pleasure to bash on pseudoscientific nonsense with him. Next time I’ll bring woowar in and we’ll do a bigger skeptics session.

On the second day Andrew Grill showed the advantages of Connections, his style was entertaining and persuasive. His colleague Harriet explained to us rather condescendingly what it was to be a millenial. I didn’t understand why being impatient and having a short attention span is somehow good, and I took exception to the comment that millenials don’t read instruction manuals but just expect things to work immediately out of the box. Surely that is a result of extraordinarily good product development (I am thinking in particular of the Apple products), and it’s not because the millenials are this super-brainy generation. Making things simple is extraordinarily difficult. Just try it.

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