Saturday, September 16, 2006

Lang.NET 2006 at Microsoft

The presentations at the Lang.NET Symposium have been posted here as the "video" links next to each presenter at

The videos capture the projection with the speaker's voice. This is exactly what you would have experienced being there (sans networking, interactive questions, seeing the speaker's face, etc.) At least the two I've watched so far. I haven't checked them all.

Here are some opinionated highlights of the presentations I enjoyed most:
  • Anders Hejlsberg is the author of C# and gives a presentation on "Language Integrated Query (LINQ) and C# 3.0". I really appreciate how LINQ isn't completely baked: the LINQ expressions translate to ordinary dotted expressions allowing any kind of object to participate in data queries. But I could have done without the XML portion as I never drank the .
  • The Spec# demo was totally bad ass. You would definitely want an engineer to be using this when writing any safety critical code (medical, aircraft, etc.) that intersects with your life. You might even want to use it yourself if you have the patience to deal with *manyof your bugs early and upfront (before you get to runtime). Once again, the architecture is open so that other languages might tap into it. In this case, "it" would be the backend theorem prover that analyzes your code.
  • Jim Hugunin covers IronPython which Microsoft sponsors in full.
  • PowerShell was cool (formally called Monad) and long overdue.
  • BLINQ has some potential for getting webapps kick started. Providing the right kinds of customizations will be challenging, though. Only time will tell if it pans out.
  • Miguel de Icaza presented Novell Mono (an open source clone of Microsoft .NET) in a whirlwind of demo apps, dev tools and that funky cool window manager he uses. I gained an appreciation for GTK# from this and some hope that maybe Linux will be a viable desktop someday (even for really picky people like myself).
  • William Cook's presentation approach was fresh and his angle on optimizing database access was just really, really neat. I hope to see it mature and become accessible for use on future enterprise apps.
  • Shriram Krishnamurthi's presentation was pretty wild in terms of what he was able to do with the browser, although I'm not sure what I take from it in terms of how I would change my approach to web apps. But definitely worth watching for langsmith nerds like us.
  • Don Syme covered F#. Like Shriram's presentation, it was neat to see dynamic, animated behavior come out of a program, that if I recall correctly, had no explicit timer nor loop. I guess the trick is for the language and/or runtime support to recognize dynamic sources like "ticks" and "mouse position".
  • If you're interested in futurism and accelerating technology, that would be the "Gary Flake" presentation. He also has some interesting war stories from the Internet bubble.
  • The "Second Life" presentation had the "cool factor" even if it's not going to impact your future development like the Anders H. presentation and others might.

Hopefully someone finds some of the above useful in terms of picking out presentations to watch.

Also, I was searching for "lang.net2006" and found the flickr gallery of that crazy guy who snapped hundreds of photos every day. Check out the intense expression on this dude.

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