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Posted by wwake on November 20, 2003 at 7:43 PM PST

The OOPSLA conference - "Object Oriented Programming, Systems, Languages, and Applications," was held in Anaheim, CA in October '03.

In some ways, the conference feels more comfortable than innovative. It's nice to see old friends and visit with new people. I got some useful small ideas, but I didn't walk away learning "the next big thing." Regrettably, attendance was down by a fair bit.

One theme at the conference was "Domain-Driven Design." This means different things to different people. One branch is the philosophy advocated by Eric Evans and others, where there's a lot of focus on aligning the way a team thinks and talks about its software. Eric offered an interesting tutorial, in the form of a reading group reading patterns from his book.

I never got a good definitions of the other interpretation, and didn't see enough of it to form a good one myself. What I saw made it appear to be a combination of domain-specific architectures and graphical 4GLs.

Some panels, demos, and talks:

  • Test-Driven Development panel: People have been experimenting with shifting the level of tests and learning when to delete tests. Many in the audience said they were already doing TDD; fewer (but a still significant number) were using tools such as Ward Cunningham's fit testing framework.
  • Dungeons and Patterns, and Test-Driven Development Workout - a couple tutorials I taught with Steve Metsker.
  • Innovate! panel: "What are the barriers? Politics and money."
  • Prevayler demo: Prevayler is a persistence layer for Java. Essentially, you do persistence via transactions that are commands. (The system can replay the commands to re-acquire the current state.) Very cute - I have to try it.
  • Eclipse and the Dark Side of the Moon, Erich Gamma: a brief background and introduction of Eclipse, with a focus on the notions of plugins/extension points, and rules for working with it.
  • Self, David Ungar: A look back at "essential contradictions" in language design, and how Self tries to balance them.
  • Retrospectives workshop, hosted by Linda Rising and Mary Lynn Manns. We worked on the seeds of patterns for retrospectives; I hope these will grow into something publishable soon.

All in all, a good conference. Next year it's in Vancouver, which seems to have been a popular OOPSLA venue in the past.