StackOverFlow DevDays: Amsterdam, 2nd November 2009

Here I give a short review of the StackOverFlow DevDays: Amsterdam conference held at the 2nd of November 2009 at the Westergasfabriek, Amsterdam.

Note, that I am not a web developer so my views and facts on a lot of subjects are probably completely wrong.

Joel Spolsky  - Opening Keynote

Nice presentation that showed a lot of examples of how not to design user interfaces. Spolsky discussed the dilemma of “Simplicity vs. Power”. He showed evidence that adding features to products had always boosted the sales (of FogCreek products). But, he added, those features should be mostly hidden from the user. The general idea is that a great program should feel like it is running effortlessly which actually causes the user to think he is using a magical product. So, no more endless tabs with setting or pop-up dialogs asking questions which are impossible to answer.

Jörn Zaefferer - jQuery

jQuery is obviously a very popular JavaScript library that provides a lot of nice API’s for handling the DOM elements in HTML. It seemed like the presenter was so proud about all these API’s that he felt he had to discuss almost all of them during the presentation. The content would have been perfect for an online tutorial, but missed a certain level of entertainment value. Nevertheless, it gave me a good idea what jQuery is all about.

Break

Coffee!

Eero Bragge - Qt

This was the only talk of the day that could be related to mobile development. Since this is one of the “hot topics” in the programming world it was a bit of a shame that the presentation by Bragge missed this “hot” feel. Since I have quite some experience with Qt most of the talk wasn’t new for me. Bragge demonstrated the creation of a very simple application using Qt Creator. Unfortunately, the program  (turn dial, spin box, slider and a couple of push buttons) lacked a link to any real-world problem, specially for the present audience. At the end the program was magically compiled for the Nokia S60 platform. However, due to an expired license, the application could not be deployed live to the phone. “Luckily”, Bragge had a made-earlier-version running on another device. But seeing the application (with a totally different layout) running on the phone failed to impress. Compared to iPhone and Android developments the Qt toolkit should show more of its connectivity and graphic abilities to be taken seriously.

Joel Spolsky - Fogbugz

Again Spolsky shows he is a great presentor. This time he gave a hands-on walk through of the FogBugz software package, which also highlighted the newest Kiln package.

Lunch

Good sandwiches, but it seemed that some of the glasses orange juice were actually half filled with soda water. Mmmm….

Simon Willison - Python

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