[Pharo-project] FOSDEM devroom

Stephan Eggermont stephan at stack.nl
Mon Feb 6 13:30:25 CET 2012

Yesterday we had a nice day filled with great presentations.

Getting to Brussels the day before proved to be a challenge, 
as the Dutch railways showed to have lots of trouble with
 3 cm of snow and a cold night. Andy showed us a good place
to eat and talk near the Central Station.

In the end all presenters managed to be on time and the whole
day ran smoothly. As the devroom was the second day of 
FOSDEM, we thought it wise not to start too early. That was 
a good idea, as the ULB was still very quiet when Norbert 
showed us how to create REST/json/xml based services.
Markus followed with the Pharo Vision. 

Gradually more people came to the devroom until the 
jQueryMobile presentation was so filled that we had to refuse
people entering the room. The Amber presentation also attracted 
a lot of people new to smalltalk. The ability to create a fast feedback
cycle apparently is a major issue for javascript developers. 
The progress made since ESUG2011 is impressive. 

The next subjects (working with many cores, making smalltalk fast,
spoon) still attracted over 40 participants.

The introduction to smalltalk attracted quite a lot of young developers.
Some remarks by participants:
- a consistent set of keybindings, allowing switching between
  windows is essential (a developer who has trouble using a
  mouse for longer periods);
- current developers are no longer used to free floating windows,
  it doesn't matter if it is better, to attract new people you need to
  remove barriers to entry (a freepascal maintainer);
- I would have expected to have started with the basics (we focused
  on the things we experienced as difficult and different, using the 
  different inspectors and browsers to navigate a large codebase,
  debugger driven development)
And some reminder for ourselves
- Tests for the domain model are not enough to ensure that the
  whole application works correctly;
- Throw away old builds;
- Check if there are enough power strips.

I very much liked talking to people otherwise only known from 
the mailing lists and the cross-pollination between the different
dialects. I would have liked to have more time for discussions.
A lunch break might be a good idea. 

And finally a remark for next years devroom manager: don't expect
to see much from FOSDEM :)

Stephan Eggermont

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