Java Symposium

The Java Symposium is next week!

I just made some more tweaks to my keynote and Architecture talk. Though I want to continue to prepare some additional models and diagrams for the architecture talk to show some cool examples…

Hope to see you there 🙂

Scott Ambler — the Bum

On 6th November, I was looking forward to heckling Scott Ambler during his scheduled talk to the Philadelphia Java Users Group (JUG). One of the JUG leads, Fred Stluka, says it best:

Jon spoke at a Philly Java Users Group recently, in true agile fashion. As he was walking into the building from the parking lot to attend the meeting, he was told by the meeting organizer that the intended speaker (Scott Ambler) was stranded in Boston due to a canceled airline flight. Since Jon knows Scott, and is very familiar with Agile principles and techniques, if not with Scott’s actual slides, he volunteered to give the talk in Scott’s place to the crowd of 100-150 people already assembled.

The talk went very well. It was clear that Jon had never seen this set of slides before, but equally clear that he knows the material REALLY well, and is an excellent and comfortable public speaker. Some of us took him out for a drink afterwards, and got to talking.

As promised, here are some of your lines from the presentation that I particularly appreciated:

– Be a “generalizing specialist”

(A good way to put it.)

– “Cyclical, rhythmic development”

(Yes, has the right feel to it. Good description of a well-oiled Agile machine.)

– Post design decisions at Wiki: “why”, but more importantly “why NOT”

(Absolutely critical! Almost all of the large comment blocks I put in my code are explaining why I did NOT do it the other more obvious way because it unexpectedly didn’t work. Or explaining why there is NOT a block of code here to do something that seems to be missing — why it would NOT be a good idea to add such a block of code.)

– “In-house” vs “out-house”

(Hilarious! I love it!)

– “Agile is recursive”

(I agree. There is no excuse for a 100-man agile team. Split large teams and large projects into smaller teams and smaller projects.)

– Protect developers from too much input/distraction during development cycle

(Right. Allow lots of input, but protect critical heads-down thinking and coding cycles.)

– “A lot of what I do is because I’m lazy”

(I’ve told people this for years. I’m a good programmer because I am too lazy to keep doing it tediously over and over, so I always automate it to save myself the trouble. I think a bit of this sort of laziness is one of the marks of a natural-born programmer.)

– Take picture of whiteboard and put it in the Wiki

(Good idea! I never thought of that, but then I’ve worked in a lot of “secure” buildings, where cameras were not allowed, or before the era of cheap ubiquitous digital cameras.)

– Don’t want to have to add quality at the end

(Always worth mentioning. You can’t just slap in on afterwards.)


Fred Stluka

Oh, and Scott really isn’t a bum. He was just enjoying the wonders of East Coast weather travel 🙂

Philadelphia IT Architecture Conf. (23-24 Sep)

Just a quick note:

The International Association of Software Architects is sponsoring this conference.

The IT Architect Regional Conference is the largest event in the Philadelphia area to address the pressing needs of IT architects today. There are over 15 seminars and two tracks separated by specialty: Enterprise and Software Architecture. Architects of all levels can take their skills to the next level.

Heinz Kabutz Interview

You can read a nice interview with my friend Heinz Kabutz.

The bits about doing timing for various code approaches reminded me of my early days in teaching C/C++ and doing various compares.

Though these are “micro” performance numbers, there are a couple of key points to take away:

  • You have to measure that which you wish to improve
  • Don’t lose sight of the big picture — clear code is far superior to overly optimized and obtuse code
  • Big performance gains for a major system typically come from architectural decisions, not micro-code

Thanks Heinz!

Miami JUG May 9th

If you happen to be in the area, we’ll have a nice opportunity for a roundtable discussion!

Topics and Speakers:

  • Agile Project Management Techniques by Jon Kern. We will discuss how to consider a simplified agile technique for managing a project, and how to blend it with classic “MS Project” style of management by Gantt chart.

Speakers Bio:

Jon is passionate about helping clients succeed in delivering business value through software development efforts. His varied career has spanned jet engine R&D through centrifuge-based flight simulators, to being an object-oriented evangelist through the 90s and his work with the Agile Manifesto for Software Development in 2001. Many credit him with much of the success that TogetherSoft enjoyed during his tenure with the UML modeling/ development product and the professional mentor group he founded.

Jon works with teams to solve challenging development projects for the stakeholders. From analyzing the approach, to helping provide solutions, to mentoring teams — and all points in between — Jon routinely has significant impact on the projects he works on. Often with a team of experts from his friends at, the small teams of 3-6+ people supply a quick-hit ability to solve problems and deliver results. Projects routinely see high quality solutions in half the time, and typically leave the local team in place, mentored on OO and agile, and excited.