Austin Code Camp 2008 post-mortem

I really hate the word “post-mortem.”  Did someone die?  Anyway, I had a great time in my talks over:

  • Legacy Code
  • Intro to C# 3.0
  • Mocks and Stubs

All in all, I felt the Legacy Code talk went the best as it generated the most discussion.  I heard much of the same story, failures of intense, lengthy refactoring efforts.  Lots of people had the same experience, and these failures led to even deeper trust problems between the business and the developers.  I’ll follow up with my own personal story, but it sounded exactly the same, over and over again.  Developers running off for weeks to months, “improving the design”, but with little or no business direction in the process.  Failure, every time.

The best outcome was several folks asking how to apply these techniques back in their place of work.  My answer was start a book club on the Legacy Code book to create awareness of the problem, as well as desire to change.

The other presentations went OK at best.  The mocking discussion focused too much on a tool as opposed to great examples of the “why”, although the later discussion of the “why” finally got some good discussion from the audience.  The example I used skewed towards showing specific use cases of mocking and test doubles.  But, it was my first presentation on the topic, and it was a great learning experience.  Also, it hurt that I was late for the talk because my previous talk ran over.  Note to self: never schedule back-to-back talks, and always adhere to the prescribed stop time.

I did get to attend a few other talks, and my favorite was Gordon Mongomery’s “Coding for stupid users” talk.  Awfully narcissistic and condescending, right?  But the actual talk focused on User Experience, or UX.  UX is (I believe) the most overshadowed project necessity, even above testing and automation.  The best software in the world is useless if the end-user is unable to fathom how to use the darn thing.  It’s something I’d like to use more and more in upcoming projects.

Thanks to the speakers, the organizers, the volunteers, St. Edwards for hosting the conference, and all the attendees that took a Saturday off to geek out.

See you at Austin Code Camp!