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No Fluff Just Stuff - Boston 2012

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Last week was a busy week for me, I’m just getting time right now to sit down and write about my take a ways from No Fluff Just Stuff. For the people that are not familiar with No Fluff Just Stuff it’s a conference based around Java technologies. It takes place allover and happens on the weekend which makes it an easier sell to your managers or higher ups. I’ve been lucky enough to have gone to 3 of them and I always learn about great new things. I would highly recommend checking one out if you are in an area they come to! This time around I feel they really went all out. They removed all the need for paper by lending people iPads to use for note taking and talk evaluations, along with giving away a very nice backpack and a T-shirt.

My favorite talk was ‘Sonar workshop’ by Matthew McCullough of Github. Sonar is a grouping of great tools to help with code quality by pointing out things that may have not been done right in the code due to time restraints or other issues. It tries to apply best practices to your code and show you where you can do better. This falls in line with idea of paying back technical debt which is a concept that I recommend reading up on. Most of the time you hear about great software and tools but have a hard time getting them into your work environment due to needing to justify it with your managers or finding time to get it up and running. In this case, in the workshop while waiting for other people to catch up, I was able to import my team’s main project into Sonar! Having my boss next to me in the class also helped with the justification part. Monday morning I had Sonar up and running on one of our servers and started to “pay back” some of the technical debt we had. I’m always concerned about code quality, so Sonar as become one of my favorite tools next to Jenkins!

Some other talks I enjoyed were the ‘Connected Data with Neo4j’ and ‘Functional Thinking’. Neo4j is another type of noSQL database that is based on graphs for doing certain types of queries. It’s very fast, but your data really needs to be in the right format to take use of it. The talk about Neo4j was good as Tim Berglund had us think about our own data needs in terms of graphs. For me this helped show some use cases that I didn’t see for Neo4J before. I also liked the Functional Thinking talk by Neal Ford as it showed the ideas of writing function code and how to solve problems in different ways. He also went into why there is so much talk about it and also comparing it to when Object-oriented programming come about and how long that took to become mainstream.

As always there was a lot of talks about languages on the JVM like Groovy, Scala and Clojure and how they can really help your production. The BOF (Birds Of a Feather) talk I went to was about languages on the JVM. A good number of people talked about switching or talking about tools to help them like IDEs (or not needing tools like IDEs)

Over all I had a excellent time and as always I learned a lot. I’m hoping I will be able to take what I learned and apply it to my work! Now I just need to work on convincing my manager to send me to ÜberConf! :)