My Tuesday at JAOO

What a day it was. I was surfing on a great wave while attending sessions about DSL, AJAX and Agile Development. I started the day with Markus excellent session on DSL best practices. Beside many other things, he emphasized on building your own metamodel, which represents the formal definition of the domain being described. Hey and I couldn’t agree more with his advice to never ever modify generated code (that’s exactly why I love partial classes ;-).

After lunch, I decided to interrupt my flow on DSLs and I attended Nikhil’s session on ASP.NET Ajax (aka Atlas). I liked his definition of Ajax: “It’s not about scripting or XML over Http but about providing a smarter experience for the user”. How right he is! An important building block for ASP.NET Ajax applications are server side controls. They provide a very nice programming model to abstract many of the client side scripting and therefore simplify the creation of consumer pleasing websites. In addition to that, it also provides a nice separation between content and site functionality.

A short break, and it was time to learn more about the intention of “Intentional Software”. They have a very ambitious goal of changing the way software is written: Today, the gap between the domain knowledge and the actual implementation in code is too big. Therefore it’s extremely difficult to provide traceability and consistency between these two representations. In contrast to the classical DSL approach, “Intentional Software” developed a “domain workbench” which allows them to mix the representations of different domains within a unified view. I certainly stay tuned on that…

Now back to web and Ajax: I attend Bruce’s great session on the “Google Web Toolkit (GWT)”. In a nutshell, it’s a toolkit that allows developers to build “Ajaxy” websites by leveraging the Java programming model. Its architectural foundation is around a Java compiler that finally produces JavaScript. It comes together with a Java class library to build the actual sites. Bruce really emphasized the fact that they put a lot of effort to make building Ajax applications as easy as possible and to give the user a very rich user experience. For example, this includes support for history, bookmarking and keystroke enabled tree controls.

Last but (certainly) not least, I attended Alistair’s session with the arcane title “If I was going to Glasgow, I wouldn’t start from here”. If you haven’t been there, you truly missed something. I don’t even try to summarize this 45 minutes but I want to say “thank you Alistair“: “I really enjoyed it and I wished it didn’t end after 45 minutes…”.