So finally got a chance to meet Martin Fowler and bunch of other ThoughtWorkers, thanks to Master Series held at NAC, Hyderabad.
Sessions started with a goof up in the timings which they had communicated through mails. What was supposed to start at 3.30 (with registration at 2.30) began by 4pm. So lots of people gathered by 3.30 and half an hour they ran a video showing life @ Thoughtwork, repetitively. It was quite impressive to see that kind of paradigm of working, where they follow Agile to the core. CRC cards, Stand ups, pairs, and what not? Seeing all that I wondered whether they had called up for a recruitment pitch 😉
There were 3 sessions. First Session was "Ruby on Rails" by Badri. ThoughtWorks it seems to are making a foray into Ruby as an alternate framework for J2EE/.Net. For novices, Ruby is a dynamically typed programming language and Rails is a framework for application development using Ruby. Still in its nascent stages, we can't say much about its future or success now and corporates never uptake open source software, because for them patents are more important than quality. ThoughWorks it seems to have mastered J2EE/.Net is trying to leapfrog into using Rails for solving business problems. It was a good talk and obviously speaker was a rookie in J2EE and Rails and could handle the barricade of questions with ease. Myself being an aficionado of GNU during college days I was ofcourse inspired hearing all these. But I don't see this inspiration transforming to any action like learning Ruby or trying out Rails any where in near future 😉
Second Session was from the guru himself. The topic sounded funny "Objects after Victory!". Martin being an early proponent of OOP/A/D ie. from 1980's, he and his coterie today has sounded the bugle of victory ie to say the world has recognized Objects and power of objects! So now what he feels best he can do is to try educate more and more people on objects and power of using them. So he suggests, To learn Objects start with an awfully titled book "Applying UML and Patterns" by Larman. Move to "HFDP" then to GoF. I'm happy in retrospect I had travailed the same track. When asked what is the next wave after Objects, his answer was that using objects properly. Then the conversation veered around how people use OOL and code procedurally and stuff like that. And something which has caught is radar and which he feels excited now is about PostModern Programming. Regarding the recent hype on SOA and WebServices his thought was it was too chaotic and nothing solid is there out to go and use. This session lasted for 1hr. At the end of the session I got a feeling it was a sort of anti-climax, partly because of the sky-high expectations. But when I ponder on it I realize in 60mts extempore he couldn't have gone about lecturing Agile Methods or Patterns. The message he conveyed was subtle though "Objects"!!
Third Session by Vivek was the most interesting one. It was a talk on Mock Objects and how to use Mock Objects for Unit Testing. It was really interesting and very useful. He showed live code how to do testing, how to mimick certain interfaces with mock objects and how effectively to write automated reusable unit test cases. I got the maximum value from this session.
Btw, when we entered the hall after registration, we got a welcome kit comprising of a tech-trivia, which was to be filled up and dropped. It comprised of 15 questions like "Who found wiki", "What do you relate Douglas Engelbart with", "Plug in of firefox which does that….." "Name of Yahoo widgets" etc. General tech quiz stuff which we conduct in colleges. I could crack 12 out of it and which elevated me to 2nd highest score. There was a surprise prize "Refactoring", "UML Distilled", "P of EAA", "Analysis Patterns", "XP Explained" were up for grabs, chose one. I chose PoEAA, and was fortunate to get that from the author himself with his signature lighting up the first page :D. In the end I have earned 2000/= Rs by attending a seminar for 3hrs!!
And as a end note they explicitly made clear "This was not a recruitment pitch, it was just a fostering of relations between us for transferring of ideas without fear of recruitment!!" I would rather have that fear, shouldn't I?