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CodeMash 2010: Show Report

If you do any sort of programming, I highly recommend attending next year

I've had the pleasure of spending yesterday and today (and I'll be here tomorrow too) at the 2010 CodeMash conference in Sandusky, at the spectacular Kalahari resort (if you've never been here, its way worth it). We attended the "precompiler" presentations yesterday, and have been to 3 presentations so far today. While the conference seems very heavy on the Microsoft and Ruby fronts (almost every presentation has had C# or Ruby code, some of them have had both), there's a lot of good stuff to come away with anyways.

For example, the two presentations we attended yesterday discussed test-driven development, something I'd never experienced before. In addition, the presentations both discussed the merits of OOP, specifically when narrowing classes down to one particular function each. This was something I'd encountered before, but never really understood -- why would I want to create a class for something I'm only doing once in one place? It wasn't until discussing a very simple problem - how to write an application to handle cash register functions - that I finally understood, thanks to the help of a fellow attendee whom I'd never spoken to before, the instances when programming like that is especially useful.

The keynote today was presented by Mary Poppendieck, who explained to us how businesses can push responsibility and decision-making as far down as possible in the IT department in order to drive up efficiency and productivity. She also discussed at what point in the development cycle developers normally freeze changes to test for bugs. The most common response is 2/3 of the way through the cycle, but often as much as 1/2 of the cycle is devoted to testing. She went on to explain that the most efficient companies spend just 1/10th of the cycle on testing, as they've developed methods of identifying bugs earlier and/or preventing bugs to begin with.

Other than the keynote, we attended an excellent presentation introducing attendees to Adobe Flex, the open source SDK for creating Flash and Adobe Air applications, a presentation introducing attendees to jQuery, a JavaScript library for manipulating the DOM, making AJAX requests, and creating animations, and a presentation on NoSQL, a group of alternative databases, such as CouchDB and Cassandra, that are less structured than typical databases such as MySQL or PostgreSQL.

All in all, this is so far an EXCELLENT conference, and if you do any sort of programming, I highly recommend attending next year. If nothing else, your hotel reservation includes passes to the waterpark :) But come for the waterpark, and stay for the talks.

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Christina O’Neill has been working in the information security field for 3 years. She is a board member for the Northern Ohio InfraGard Members Alliance and a committee member for the Information Security Summit, a conference held once a year for information security and physical security professionals.

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