JAOO 2008 Day Two (Tuesday)

This morning got off to a slightly shaky start with Lars Bak's presentation about the V8 JavaScript VM that's in Google Chrome not being visible on the screen for about ten minutes while they struggled with the technology. When he eventually got going, it was worth it, and very interesting to hear about some of the challenges in representing JavaScript classes within the VM. They ran some benchmarks - a browser race animating a circling spinner and some more conventional comparisons - between Firefox and Chrome. While I do tend to take these things with a pinch of salt, Chrome was genuinely around ten times faster than Firefox, which is at least enough to make one want to try it out. Now all we need to do is wait for the Linux and OS X ports which, Lars assured us, aren't waiting on V8 - that's done. The graphics is taking a little longer...

The highlight of the day was definitely Michael Nygard's long talk (the JAOO term for two back-to-back sessions) on failure. He presented some great war stories and examples of the kinds of failure that developers can generate with consummate ease when deploying applications to large-scale production environments. He expressed them as anti-patterns in the first session, and then spent the second offering some suggested patterns to be applied to counteract, or rather, prevent them occurring. He's an entertaining speaker, and I'm sure has sold quite a few copies of his book, Release It!, as a result. I ordered a couple of copies for the office pretty much straight away.

In other news, Jim Coplien didn't shy away from insulting his audience and provoking controversy (as usual, some might say) in taking architecture into an agile world. I'm not sure that he actually ended up talking about architecture as such, but then it's one of those terms that can be used to mean many different things depending on the context. The other sessions of the afternoon were less spectacular - the ones on REST blogged about by Badger covered a lot of the ground that we've been looking at in the office recently, and which will, I'm sure, be covered by other Black Pepper blogs to come.

Tomorrow I'm very much looking forward to Richard Gabriel and Guy Steele's keynote: 50 in 50. Not sure what it's all about, but Martin Fowler recommends it, and having already been to a Richard Gabriel Session, and knowing Guy Steele's pedigree, I'm sure it will be excellent.

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