Thoughts from CodeMash 2015

I had a fantastic time at CodeMash last week and I’d like to think all of the organizers for the hard work they do making one of the best development community events happen each year. I was happy with how my talk went and I will get around to what looks like a 3 part blog series adaptation of it later this week after I catch up on other things. I had a much lighter speaking load than I’ve had in the past, leading to many more opportunities and energy to just talk to the other developers there. As best I can recall, here’s a smattering of the basic themes from those discussions:

  • Microservices — I lived through DCOM and all the sheer lunacy of the first wave of SOA euphoria, making me very leery of the whole micro-service concept. I did spoke to a couple people that I respect who were much more enthusiastic about micro services than I am.
  • Roslyn — I feel bad for saying this, but I’m tempering my hopes for Roslyn right now — but that’s largely a matter of me having had outsize expectations and hopes for Roslyn. I’m disappointed by the exclusion of runtime metaprogramming for now and I think the earlier hype about how much faster the Roslyn compiler would be compared to the existing CSC compiler might have been overstated. The improved ability to introspect your code with Roslyn is pretty sweet though.
  • RavenDb — I still love RavenDb conceptually and it’s my favorite database development time experience, but the quality issues and the poor DevOps tooling makes it a borderline liability in production. From my conversations with other RavenDb users at CodeMash, this seems to be a common opinion and experience. I hate to say it, but I’m in favor of phasing out RavenDb at work in the next couple years.
  • Postgresql — Postgres has a bit of buzz right now and I’ve been very happy with my limited usage of it so far. I talked to several people who were interested in using postgres as a pseudo document database. I’m planning to do a lot more side work with postgresql in the coming year to see how easy it would be to use it as more of a document database and add a .Net client to the event store implementation I was building for Node.js.
  • Programming Languages — The trend that I see is a blurring of the line between static and dynamic typing. Static languages are getting better and better type inference and dynamic languages keep getting more optional type declarations. I think this trend can only help developers over time. I do wish I hadn’t overslept the introduction to Rust workshop, but you can’t do everything.
  • OWIN — One of the highlights of CodeMash for me was fellow Texan Ryan Riley‘s history of the OWIN specification set to the Pina Colada song. For as insane as the original version of OWIN was, I think we’ll end up being glad that the OWIN community persevered through all the silliness and drama on their list to deliver something that’s usable today. I do still think Ryan needs to add “mystery meat” into his description of OWIN though.
  • Functional Programming — In the past, over zealous FP advocates have generally annoyed me the same way that I bet I annoyed folks online when Extreme Programming hype back in the day. The last time I was at CodeMash I remember walking out of a talk that was ostensibly about FP because it was nothing but a very long winded straw man argument against OOP done badly. This time around I enjoyed the couple FP talks I took in and appreciated the candor from the FP guys I spoke with. I do wish the FP guys would stop looking at the FP vs. OOP or imperative development comparison as a zero sum game and spend more time talking about the specific areas and problems where FP is valuable and much less time bashing everything else.




6 thoughts on “Thoughts from CodeMash 2015

  1. re: RavenDb. I’m right there with you. It’s the API and developer experience that people fall in love with. From real world experience I know it’s relatively easy to implement the “document db” aspect directly on top of MSSQL (as XML data) or PostgreSQL (as JSON data) with an API inspired by RavenDb. And both RDBMS’ have native “document” querying and indexing functionality that one can tap into. You lose the map/reduce engine. But there are other existing tools for the job.

  2. From my perspective, the Scala experimentation didn’t go all that well. Nothing against Akka, but I don’t think the switch was justified and I’m actually happy with our existing distributed development work. We’re building one small system with Node.js, but otherwise we’re planning to just move the big, existing .Net systems to the new K runtime. Prudence over “cool kidness” or something like that.

  3. @AquaBirdConsult,

    Think Ruby. I want to be able to generate a bit of code at runtime based on some kind of model, run it through the Roslyn compiler and immediately used the newly compile classes or func’s. It’d be a killer usage for a future version of StructureMap or the fubumvc reboot on K that some of us have been kicking around on the old user list.

    – Jeremy

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