No Fluff Iowa - Day 2 (Ruby--)

This is the second post in attempting to cover my time here at the No Fluff
Just Stuff Central Iowa Symposium in Des Moines.

If day one was about
testing, and death to java - long live ruby, then day 2 is about “Now that you know about
Ruby, why don’t we give you the Java info that you came here to see.” Or, “Here’s the reasons
that Java can be seen as Ruby–”.

To start the day, I saw another
terrific session by Venkat Subramaniam, this time covering “Good, Bad, & Ugly of Java
Generics”. He started out with a well covered overview of Generics, Auto Boxing, and ForEach
features of Java 1.5. Good stuff. Then he dove in to show us that “Generics were created to
solve type safety, yet they don’t even solve type safety!” Basically it came down to generics
being overly complex that solved only the trivial issue of casting from a collection. Most of
the problem relies in Generics being syntactic sugar: Implemented only in the language, and
not in the JVM. So, as Venkat correctly puts it, “Sun employs a wonderful marketing
department. Selling us ‘type erasure’ as being cool, when it is really a huge hinderance”. I’m
very greatful for this talk, and plan to look at Groovy and Ruby (dynamic typed languages) to
solve some issues that I was hoping Generics would solve.

Next I
attended a couple of sessions by Justin Gehtland, the first being Advanced Hibernate, and the
second Principles of Service Oriented Architecture. I really enjoyed the first, as it moved
quickly, and hit the main areas that I needed to improve my knowledge in: Lazy Loading,
Interceptors, and Events. The Lazy Loading talk was great, and really just asserted some ideas
that I have had. Event handling was interesting. It made me think of a system where we could
send JMS messages when certain fields or objects are created/updated in the database (to
update displays, caches, etc…).

His second talk, about SOA, felt a
little more long-winded. I appreciate his knowledge on the subject, as he did a decent job at
explaining a roughly boring and genericized topic. I wish I had more detail about actual
implementations of SOA walking away from this session, but he did cover the “Principles” that
he said he would. Maybe there was just too much time spent per slide on the generalities and
politics, which left not enough time for implementations. I was hoping to hear details about
Mule ESB and REST services, but they were only given a passing glance.

Oh, and I didn’t win the mini iPod raffle today (not even a T-Shirt), but that means I’m
still in the running for the Sony PSP tomorrow! Now we’re off to find some good sushi in this
land of hog farms (spoken from an Omaha resident, no less).