Caelum Day in Rio

Last Saturday I participated in Caelum Day in Rio, an event about Software Development that had great presentations and several speakers.
Phillip Calçado gave the keynote “All I wish I knew before I had become a tech leader” (my own translation of the title in Portuguese). He actually just reinforced the importance that in software development only one thing guarantees survival: delivering value (all the time, at the exact moment, before it is too late). He mentioned that one of the most important tasks of a tech leader is to avoid the unexpected. To do that, it’s necessary to build barriers, whose objective is to encourage the feedback cycle. Barriers come in five layers:1. Development, 2. Integration, 3. Verification, 4. Validation and 5. Production. The barriers on each of these layers can be achieved through the use of established best practices, to name a few: TDD, fast builds, continuous integration, close relationship with the customer, kickoff-play-walkthough model, DDD, incremental and frequent delivery, and simulation environments.  Phillip also emphasized that barriers will be broken, but what we want is to know when that happens.

Fabio Kung talked about Cloud Computing, a topic that is in fashion in our industry recently. He went over the several aspects of cloud computing: Infrastructure as a Service – IaaS (eg.: machines, hardware, network, etc.) , Platform as a Service – PaaS (Google App Engine, Amazon EC2, etc. ), Software as a Service – SaaS (GMail, Google Docs, etc.). The great majority of Cloud Computing relies on virtualization. With virtualization, we can solve common problems related to waste, provisioning and costs. With Cloud Computing, we can go a little beyond and also tackle the problems of capacity planning, maintenance and availability. What I found interesting is that only 1% of the worldwide major applications are running in the cloud, mainly because they need to have control over their own infrastructure. The great niche of cloud computing are small and medium-sized applications, where one doesn’t want to care about infrastructure and platform issues. It sure was a very enlightening talk, full of interesting stuff. BTW, Kung also showed some funny videos of GOGRID, which can be seen here.

I also watched some cool short presentations: Paulo Silveira, on Java Persistence API; and Rafael Martinelli on Adobe Flex. Sergio Junior e Luiz Costa talked about RESTful webservices in Java and Caue Guerra talked about how the adoption of  Ruby on Rails in Brazil has increased tremendously in the last years (especially in 2009). Guilherme Silveira talked about nice features of the Java web-framework VRaptor 3.

To finish the event, Nico Steppat delivered a great presentation about NoSQL and non-relational databases (examples of those include: SimpleDB, CouchDB, MongoDB and BigTable). Nico talked about how difficult it is to scale out relational databases and how non-relational databases can effectively address this problem. He quoted the Brewer’s CAP Theorem, which says that we can have at most two of the following properties for a shared-data system: Consistency, Availability and Partition Tolerance. Relational databases are good to achieve consistency and availability, whereas non-relational databases are better suitable to achieve the other two combinations.

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