Sleepless in Toronto

So, I’m here in Toronto at the Agile Conference. It is 4:31am now, which tells you that my body is still somewhat drawn between night and day. Never mind, though, that gives me time to write. Since this is my first visit to a conference in North America, I actually met – or at least saw – many of the people for the first time that I’ve known by email, by blog or by gossip for quite a few years. One fact that is being noticed “by the community” is the very low number of German participants and speakers. I’ve counted only five presentations from compatriots, that’s not much more that one percent. Any idea anyone why’s that so?

Let me give you my personal ramble through the conference:

On Monday my body partally participated in the Agile Alliance’s full day workshop on Functional Testing Tools. Although this name might not sound like the most sexy thing in the world, the group comprised many of the innovative minds of the field. It’s a pity that I was so jet-lag-struck that I had to go for a short 2-hour-nap during lunch; therefore my active participation was almost non-existant. Here are some of the results.

Tuesday was my personal presentation day. Given a competition of 44 concurrent talks, I was very content with having 30+ (male only) listeners. The most fundamental questions coming from the audience was: (a) Would you say that TDD for Ajax works as smooth as in a Java only environment. (b) Would you really go for all the hassle to make your FIT-driven Selenium tests independent from “The Web” by simulating “The Web”? Given my current knowledge the short answers are: (a) It’s not as smooth but you it can be fun all the same. (b) I would strive very hard to avoid it.

Wednesday was my drifting day. I went in and out of sessions as I pleased – and I pleased the lot. However, Neal Ford’s talk on Ancient Philosophers & Blowhard Jamborees was so entertaining that I stayed to the end despite myself. Among many other citations and anecdotes he brought up a quote from Glenn Vanderburg:

Bad developers will move heaven & earth to do the wrong thing.

It’s a sad truth, because it eventually means that we cannot shield our software from incapable developers by technical means like stricter type systems, higher abstractions & tighter code ownership. At the end of the day we have to get rid of the NNPPs provide the NNPPs with alternative career paths. Will they be less or more happy that way? How certain can I be that I haven’t joined that crowd yet?

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