Thursday, August 04, 2005

Thursday morning keynote

Hosted again by Nat Torkington the Thursday morning keynote kicked off with Nick Gall talking about TCP/IP and Shipping Containers and how to build freedom into software architectures.

...and here's Nat Torkington
Nick Gall talking about building free architectures

He talked about how software gets harder to change as it gets older due to bit rot. He argued that "internetwork" architectures can serve as an example for sustained freedom to change. An internetwork architecture should be: interoperable, composable, extensible, generic, federated and simple.

Interestingly containerised shipping can be fitted into this model, like HTTP which sits ontop of TCP/IP, containerised shipping sits ontop of existing infrastructure, the existing railways and ships, but revolutionised the way people worked.

He argues that you should design your software not only to do the job you want it to do, but also to be infrastructre for everyone else....

The next speaker was David Heinemeier Hansson who talked about the secrets behind Ruby on Rails. While there is no one thing you can point to and say that this is why its swept the community so quickly...

David Heinemeier Hansson and Ruby on Rails

Ruby on Rails is an integrated stack of web-application frameworks, it's a framework ontop of frameworks, in other words its,
A bunch of stuff that makes web developers happy!
Why is Rails interesting for several reasons. First of all, it follows convention over configuration, called the golden path, it does what most of the people want, most of the time. Secondly chanages are instant, it follows a
Use it, break it, fix it, trash it, change it...
paradigm. Finally, Rails ships as a complete, integrated, and familiar stack.
Using one language, all the time...
David claims that,
Flexibility is overrated and constraits are liberating
which is herecy for a Perl hacker like me, but the success of Ruby on Rails is hard to argue with...

Next up was Kartik Subbarao from HP, talking about Enterprise IT, who seemed to be trying to emulate Larry Wall's presentation style. Did his speaking style remind anyone else of Larry's, or was it just me?

Following on from Kartik we had Robert Lang who talked about Origami, this was pretty off the wall, but then so was last year's talk by David Rumsey on maps which got the only standing ovation of the conference. Can you see where I'm heading here?

Robert Lang talking about Origami

It seems that over the last fifty years the number of published Origami grew from about 100 to over 20,000 mostly because people have started applying mathematics to the subject, and more recently computer-aided Origami design. Interestingly there are practical applications to fold mirrors for space telescopes, and of course for solar sails.

The Japanese Solar Sail deployment

The the penultimate keynote was an Nat interviewing Mitchell Baker the chief lizard wrangler from the Mozilla Foundation...

Finally we closed with a talk from Dick Hardt called Identity 2.0 who discussed what defines identity,
What identity is, is what I say about me, and what others say about me... it's about trust
He talked about how today our identity online is constrained inside walled gardens, and how we'll need to move away from this model, and away from centralised identity providers and although the next logical step for the existing walled gardens is federation, and he argues that this is a poor model.

Update: Brad was also blogging the keynotes...