November 22, 2010

Quotes from No Fluff Just Stuff

Originally published 28 Apr 2008

I just returned from this past weekend's No Fluff Just Stuff conference in Reston, Virginia.  As always (this was my fifth show), I had a great time conversing with my peers and the excellent speakers.

The following are some memorable quotes/paraphrases in chronological order.  Some disclaimers: 1) you should always take quotes in context and 2) I could have misinterpreted the intent of the speaker.  I'll try to provide some comments for additional context.

David Hussman: "You need to respect the pomodoro," quoting an Italian manager of a team who used a tomato timer.  They would work hard for 25 minutes, then take a 5 minute break.  When one developer wanted to keep working...

David Hussman: "Sometimes stand-up meetings turn into stand-there meetings."  This is when nobody is saying anything and we're just going through the motions.  I've definitely experienced this.

Venkat Subramaniam: In the context of Guice, when comparing annotation and xml configuration, "Both XML and annotations are evil.  Annotations are the lesser evil."  My opinion is that annotations are a good addition to the Java language, but can certainly be overused.  This may be what Venkat was talking about.

Andrew Glover: "Some people say, 'Behavior-Driven Development (BDD) is Test-Driven Development (TDD) done right', but I say BDD is Customer focused TDD."  BDD is closer to the customer's language.

Neal Ford: "If there were a book written today about real world software development, it would be called Accidental Complexity, Ceremony Over Essence, Ensuring Your Job Security written by the Enterprise Architecture Team."  Neal had tons of good quotes from his excellent keynote.

Venkat Subramaniam: "We constantly create whack-a-mole systems.  Fix the code in one place and this other, seemingly unrelated part of the code breaks."  Venkat was comparing software development with the children's game.

Brian Sam-Bodden : "Remember when you had to go outside your IDE to access your version control system?  And then, that functionality was integrated with Eclipse?  That's what Mylyn does for task management."  Less context switching keeps you focused.

Jared Richardson or Neal Ford: "Ted Neward is the Las Vegas of speakers.  You have to go see him at least once."  I always enjoy Ted's sessions.

Ted Neward: Sarcastically, "The code is perfect when it leaves my desk.  Something mystical happens afterwards that introduces bugs."

Ted Neward: "The Teddy Bear Technique has the added advantage of keeping people away, particularly when you're caught talking to it by a manager."  The Teddy Bear Technique is the act of explaining your problem to a stuffed animal, and then suddenly solving it as you start to question your assumptions.

Ted Neward: "Oh Great Debugger, tell me where the bug is."

Jared Richardson: "Take a shortcut here, another shortcut there - you get to a point where you're so busy paying interest, you don't have time to pay the principal."  This was in his talk about credit card software development (Technical Debt ).

Jared Richardson: Quoting Watts Humphrey, "Developers are caught in a victim's mentality."  We never think it's our fault, it's always somebody else's.

Expert Panel: When asked for two words about SOA, some of the phrases were, "WSDL sucks", "Consider REST ", "Overly complex"

Expert Panel: When asked for two words about closures, one of the experts said, "Use Groovy"

Mark Richards: "Java has become over-bloated and way past its usefulness as a general purpose language."  I think he was the one who said, "Use Groovy."

Jeff Brown: "If we could start [Java] from scratch today, Java would look like Groovy.  Groovy is the preferred general purpose language."

Jay Zimmerman, Symposium Director: "If you want management approval to use Groovy, don't call it Groovy, call it Next Generation Java."  Managers freak out when they hear you want to use something called 'Groovy.'

Ted Neward: "Your peer group is more important than any tool or book we can recommend."  Great advice.

David Bock: "The existence of the system changes the requirements of the system."  Dave was talking about how seeing the system run changes the customer's mind of what he really wants.

David Bock: "Never believe someone who tells you he's 90% done."  Ever notice how that last 10% takes a long time?

I look forward to next time.

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