The Strange Loop

Last week (was it only last week?) I was at Strange Loop, presenting a workshop on the Disruptor.

I didn’t really have any expectations from the conference, I’ve never been before and, if I’m honest, hadn’t heard of it before.  So everything was a pleasant surprise.

It’s a very geeky conference.  I mean that as a compliment, of course.  Lots of very smart people talking about stuff that’s waaaay more advanced than you frequently get in the conferences employers would be happy to pay for.  The themes I mostly saw were functional programming and the (insert horribly abused term) Big Data space.

So nothing about Spring and Hibernate or any of their ilk, of course.  Almost nothing about Java actually, as if a language that is actually used by millions of developers is somehow too passé.  But this was extremely liberating - if there’s nothing that’s going to be applicable to my day job, I can go and see talks on things I’m actually interested in.  That’s not to say the day job is not interesting, of course, but removing the constraint meant the only criteria for selecting talks was “Will I learn something I didn’t know before?".

My favourite talk was Jeff Hawkins’ keynote, Computing Like the Brain.  It was as if he was trying to download several decades of research on neuroscience into our brains in less than 30 minutes.  It was incredible!  Fascinating, and the stuff of science fiction.

The quality of speakers was really good, big names that many would recognise, all talking about their passions.  And it was another friendly conference, where lots of people appeared to be there on their own, and were happy to get chatting to randoms like me.

There were a lot of people too.  I had expected it to be quite a small, intimate conference.  But while it’s not JavaOne, there were a lot more people than I expected.

I’ve never been to St Louis before either.  However, since I voluntarily spent all my time between the hotel and the venue, I think I can safely say I still haven’t really been there.  But the venue and the hotel were really beautiful places, as well as being dead conveniently placed.

So I enjoyed Strange Loop.  It was a little strange, and I was out of my comfort zone, but I had an interesting time and met yet more great people.  I’d love to go again next year, if I get the chance (hint hint).

Strangeloop Disruptor Workshop Materials

On Sunday I gave my very first workshop on the Disruptor.  The aim was to give people some hands-on coding experience using the syntax.  Because time was limited (you can’t get people to build an entire application architecture in 2.5 hours) the example is somewhat contrived, and needs a big leap to make it into a proper application context.  But the workshop should:

  1. Give an overview of the Disruptor
  2. Show how to create a simple one producer, one consumer example.
  3. Show how to wire up a parallel event handler
  4. Show how to how (and why) to create a diamond dependency graph.
  5. Extrapolate beyond these very simple examples to something closer to a real world architecture.
Requirements are:
  1. Basic Java skills
  2. Java 7 update 7
  3. (Optionally) IntelliJ.
The slides (not all that useful, I’ll grant you, without me talking) are available, and you can download the code.
If you want to work through the examples yourself, start with com.mechanitis.towerdefense.TowerDefence.  The starting point code for the workshop is in package com.mechanitis.towerdefense.  com.mechanitis.towerdefense1 shows a solution to exercise one, com.mechanitis.towerdefense2 to exercise 2 and so forth.  The final package, com.mechanitis.towerdefense4, has some different towers you can play with to see the effects.  They don’t really show anything special about the Disruptor, but they were fun to write and are interesting to play with.

Upcoming Events

So yeah… in keeping with this year’s theme of basically only blogging about the exciting conferences I’ve been to, I’m going to blog about the exciting conferences I am attending in the future. I haven’t been great at doing that, the disconnect between the time I submit a presentation and the actual announcement means that I often forget I haven’t told anyone about what I’m up to.

Firstly, I’m back in the States this month to present my very first workshop - An Introduction to the Disruptor at Strangeloop.  I’ve been given a mere 6 months to prepare it (note: sarcasm) and it’s still a work in progress.  So, if you’re coming, feel free to suggest things you want to see covered.  If you are coming, I’d love to hear from you.

Secondly, I’m back in the States again a minute and a half later for several presentations at JavaOne.  I really enjoyed JavaOne last year, it was my first international conference, my first speaking gig, and a great place to meet loads of dead interesting people.  This year I’m being greedy and I’m doing more than one talk:

  • Sun 30th Sept: UGF10467 - Benefits of Open Source 
  • Mon 1st Oct: CON3732 - Concurrent Programming with the Disruptor
  • Wed 3rd Oct: CON5130 - London Java Community: How to Change the World
  • Wed 3rd Oct: CON11338 - The Problem with Women: A Technical Approach

I’m afraid the content catalog totally confounds me, so I can’t link to each talk specifically, but you should be able to search on the identifiers.

Then I’m back on home turf, at JAX London, doing the Disruptor talk yet again.  I always enjoy JAX, it has a lot of participation from LJC members, it attracts an international set of speakers and it’s right on my doorstep.

Finally, I’d really, really like to go to Devoxx again this year, but that hasn’t been confirmed yet.  I’ll do everything in my power to be there, but no promises.

Right.  I suppose I had better get back to writing this workshop…