JPR 2011 Day 0

Despite the winter storm and avalanche warnings in the Crested Butte area, the flight into Gunnison went off without a hitch. The last few miles of descent were as bumpy as an old dirt road, but the sky was mostly clear, as were the roads leaving the airport.

GunnisonSkyJpr11.jpg

A few miles uphill, the story was a bit different, but our Alpine Express driver got us to our door smoothly and safely.

RoadJpr11.jpg

Day Zero is traditionally reserved for explorations of new technologies, alternate languages on the JVM, and collaborative skills-building. I joined a group that focused on Scala. We talked about Guy Steele’s parallel string-splitting algorithm as presented at StrangeLoop 2010, got a demo of parallel collections in Scala 2.9, and worked on Scala koans.

ScalaKoansJpr11.jpg

After I pointed the folks at my table to Steele’s published slides and summarized the the algorithm, Michael Barker immediately re-coded it in Scala and we started looking at performance. More on that later.

Inspired by the excellent Ruby koans work led by Jim Weirich, Dick Wall had begun working on Scala koans at a previous year’s CodeMash. Dianne Marsh took up the reins; the informal team continues to refine and add to the material, and welcomes additional participants. The Scala koan collection is currently a work in progress; despite a rough edge or two, I really like this approach to ease into the thought processes of a language and very much appreciate the work of the team.

The end-of-day semi-lightning-talk presentations demonstrated a breadth of interests and subjects that will likely help shape this year’s Roundup:

  • Michael and I discussed our observations on the performance of the parallel string splitter;
  • Dianne and Dick described the Scala koans and their current statusy
  • Joe Sundow summarized the jQuery and JavaScript MVS explorations that he had led through the day;
  • James (“I’m just a Flex guy!”) Ward showed how he’s using Spring and Hibernate on a current demo project;
  • Fred Simon gave a quick demo of Fantom, including its ability to compile to JavaScript.

Handerson Gomes and Jim Hurne get my “Wow!” vote for a joint presentation which really made us all sit up and take notice. In the course of one day, they downloaded the Android development kit, got themselves up to speed, and built and tested a small app which include audio and use of the touch-screen gestures.

It was a great start to what promises to be an excellent week. In other words, it was typical for a Roundup!

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