Thursday, November 19, 2009

Smalltalks 2009 --- Thursday summary

I got back from Smalltalks 2009 a while ago. What a conference... is it possible to summarize Stéphane Ducasse's keynote? I found it inspiring, and as others have said before, pointing to the fact that we should be tackling hard challenges as opposed to easy problems. I liked James Foster's introduction to GemStone, particularly because Jose Britti and Esteban Lorenzano showed iBizLog, a GLASS application in which you can make your own web site to sell your products in about 5 minutes --- live demo and everything, quite nice.

In the afternoon, Esteban Lorenzano also showed his iPhone work, and Maximiliano Tabacman talked about XTrade's financial risk management capabilities. Ahhh, those wonderful terms that I got acquainted with some years ago... things like the non-existent greek letter vega are like old friends to me. Tim Mackinnon described several successful methodologies to apply agile planning. I gave a talk on how the fact that there's a VM hides C's complexity from the average Smalltalker, with potentially detrimental effects on efforts to connect to DLLs and OS APIs. Then, Gerardo Richarte showcased several ways to reverse engineer VM JITs, both from a security point of view, as well as to illustrate how to store JITted methods in a DLL for later. This, he did including a precursor of PICs implemented in his own Smalltalk based JIT, in a Smalltalk that didn't have PICs. Finally, Alex Warth gave the second keynote of the day. He spoke about how the fact that there's no seriously powerful undo capabilities in today's applications can prevent users from exploring the system because the consequences of their actions are unknown and potentially dangerous. This is an impediment because, technically, we should have a complete computing system in no more than ~20k lines of code (as opposed to millions of lines of code) so that we can understand it completely.

Sleep well tonight, my friend... the conference continues tomorrow!

No comments: