Opening talk from Erich Gamma on how the Eclipse IDE has changed software development for him and his team in the seven years since he began writing it. Interesting stuff, showing the transition from a closed source project to an open source community project, how they migrated from a waterfall methodology which allowed them a slow build of development then only to have to panic near the deadline, to a more iterative agile methodology which forced the team to focus more on delivery and shipping. Finally he introduced Jazz as a team collaboration tool which integrates very tightly with Eclipse.

After this opener, I attempted to take an interest in the Agile development track, I stayed for the introduction to the day, and decided I’d check out the “agile mash-ups” talk, but the rest didn’t interest me.

I ended up watching the first “Cloud as the new middleware platform” presentation on Amazon’s web services. I wasn’t aware that Amazon even had anything in this sector, I was expecting services for e-commerce to be honest. What they actually covered though, was a completely scalable server infrastructure upon which you could run any application you wanted. Using their server farms, they host numerous virtual servers, which for a reasonable fee, can be dynamically created, clustered and utilised for an arbitrary amount of time, charged by the hour and storage. Creation of servers was entirely scripted to allow for scaling when demand reached a specific point or more storage was required.

Returning to the Agile track, my mind ended up wandering through the “Agile mash-ups” talk, partly because we’d just had lunch, and partly because I just don’t think I get why Agile is such a big issue. Much of what the presenter said was common sense, take the bits that work for you from each of the agile methodologies and leave the rest.

InfoQ, the organisers of the conference regularly host recorded interviews with industry shapers on their website. For this conference they invited an audience in to participate in the interviews. I watched an excellent interview with Mark Little, a developer for Redhat who has worked on many of the current web service standards. He spoke about transactional web services, specifically WSTX’s two models acid transactions and business activity transactions. For a SOA environment, BA transactions should be used, although this just means providing compensation methods for each service. He talked about the great divide between SOAP Web services and RESTful services, how he wishes they would just “kiss and make up”. Finally he mentioned the JBoss Redhat merger last year, comparing JBoss to a teenage son to Redhat’s 40 year old father.

Last presentation of the day was on Spring Batch, an extension to the Spring framework to allow for easier development of batch processes.