EclipseCon 2010 Retrospective
It’s nearly time to return to our scheduled programming, but first a quick retrospective of EclipseCon 2010.
The danger with writing a retrospective like this is that it can rapidly become a screed of great proportions and hit everyone’s tl;dr button. So I’ll keep this short. What I am reporting here is my own experience plus feedback from both presenter and non-presented folk. I’ll keep the format of the previous articles to focus it.
This was a great success this year – better than years when there were half again as many attendees. My only regret was that I missed out on a teeshirt on the first day! Much appreciation to Kim Moir for, er, running with this.
The keynote from Oracle was a lacklustre affair – and watching some of the tweetage that was coming out from their panel later in the day, it’s no surprise since Oracle don’t appear to have decided what they are up to. Especially with the retention of three UIs – Eclipse, JDeveloper and Netbeans. Come budget time, the VP or whoever at the pointy end of controlling those three groups will have to get the hatchet out. Which will fall? JDeveloper is ensconced like a tick – parts of it are in core Oracle products (allegedly). I have to assume that the Netbeans team is larger than the Eclipse team, does that make them more likely to be kept? Of course, it won’t be that simple – perhaps the Netbeans Java tooling people could be transitioned to Eclipse to add more value to the JDT? Anyway, I’m sure we’ll be guessing for a while.
The NASA/JPL keynote from Jeff was a masterful performance – not only the content, which was bang on demographic for a crowd of developers and technophiles, but the structure and production values were excellent. I caught a couple of clips – here’s Jeff talking to David who is supervising the ATHLETE robot in the lab
and here is Jeff’s closing remarks with his Lego buddy Socrates
Robert “Uncle Bob” Martin (Roberto) presented the keynote on software professionalism and it too was excellent work, although on a totally different axis to Jeff’s. This man is a past master of the presentation style, fearless, emotive and ready to challenge his audience. Here’s some short extracts:
- agile is about destroying the hope that keeps stupid plans alive
- say no to all forms of bad code
- say no to dropping your disciplines
- say no to overtime – know your limits
- say no to meetings – when the meeting gets boring, leave
- say no to dumb restrictions on your development process
I think the talk unnerved some people (as evinced by -1’s in the red bucket), so good work Roberto!
I got a goodly amount of positive feedback that a tutorial-per-morning was a nice idea and something that people did look forward to. There was a bit of balancing feedback that some of the tutorials were somewhat disorganized, not fully prepared, had too many slides, didn’t have enough introductory information, or were missing required data. The Program Committee had a meeting on this and we have a couple of proposals to make sure that these kinds of issues won’t occur next year.
On balance, the 25-minute talks worked, I think. I had a lot of conference-goers saying that they were pleasantly surprised with the shorter format – they got a similar amount of information in a shorter time and could go to more talks. Most presenters stepped up to the plate and did a really good job on condensing their material and cut quickly to demos. Some didn’t and the talks were rushed and hassly. There were a couple of people who appeared to be personally upset about the timing – how on earth could you talk about anything in less than 35 minutes? They got my get over it lecture.
One the other hand, the 12-minute lightnings did not really work at all well this year compared to other years. I think it’s because so many speakers got instructed to cut from standard length to lightning and it was just too difficult to do. I’m thinking we might revisit that for next year.
Feedback was on the high side for good talks, however some donkeys were brought to light too.
The panels I went to were good. The quality of the moderation was tip-top, the preparation was good, and all were conducted in good humour and with great candour. Controversy can work well in a panel, but it appears that good, solid, experiential data works well too. Big shout out to Dave Carver for his innovative Jeopardy-style approach in moderating the Build and Continuous Integration Panel and use of “the Undead” as a question category 🙂
BoFs and Unconference
This year we seemed to be totally BoF-tastic, with a great amount of activity going on there, but the Unconference got little support. Lesson learned here – the crowd at the ‘Con are more interested in getting together in a social group for listen and learn rather than stepping up and doing their own off-piste talks.
Divers Alarums – being a gallimaufry of tatterdemalion conference qualia
- e4 Rover Programming Competition – wow, this was a runaway success and frankly will be hard to top. Huge kudos to the NASA guys, Ian, Boris and Ben
- EclipseCon Tweetup – informal meeting in the bar, always works for me 😉
- Don‘s sense of humour – “I’m stalling…and you’re all leaving…and now I’ve lost all credibility…”
- Sergey P’s phones – classic
- Giving us mugs instead of little rinky-dink cups for coffee – most essential
- The general buzz around the place since we were in a smaller area was great
Thanks to all…
Well it looks like this turned out to be a screed after all. I hope you enjoyed the conference. I’ll finished with thanks to many people that made the conference work – attendees, thank you for coming; presenters, thank you for presenting your work; keynoters, thank you for crafting your keynotes and delivering them to a tough crowd; program committee, thank you for the hard graft coming up to program announce date; Don, Anne, Gabe, Ian, Lynn, Mary, thank you for hard work in the logistics and outreach departments!