Stack Overflow Dev Days in Amsterdam

Last weekend there was ‘Stack Overflow Dev Days’ in Amsterdam. Stack Overflow is a question and answer site for programmers, brought to life by Joel Spolsky, from the blog Joel on Software. It has less over a year now and it is already pretty popular among programmers. The Dev Days was a one-day conference, around different world cities, covering different topics that are hot and trendy among programmers these days (Javascript, iPhone development, etc) and also bringing the site community together and listen to a bit of propaganda by Spolsky.

Joel opened this edition of the Dev Days with a talk on Elegance and Beauty on software development. I felt this talk had an important message underneath: more functionality doesn’t mean increased complexity for the user if the right abstractions are used. As an example, consider the Amazon 1-click shopping. While some people advocate that “less is more” is about implementing less features it can also be regarded as implementing the right abstractions, in a way that the user doesn’t perceive the complexity under the hood.

Jörn Zaefferer then delivered what seemed to be a sales pitch on jQuery, rather than showing what gets him excited about it. Nevertheless, he showed what jQuery is all about and some of the new functionality in the library.

Eero Bragge talked about Qt and the feeling I got was the only reason this talk went in was because of the sponsorship. Enough said.

Joel then presented Fogbugz and what a nice product he has there. He gave a very nice overview of the product and got me excited to try it. There is a free subscription for students and startups so you might want to check if you apply.

Simon Willison then talked about Python and created a heatmap in a matter of minutes. Overall very nice his presentation and brought the feeling I have to explore Python again.

Nick Johnson presented the Google App Engine and created a small answer/question site in the cloud, also in minutes. Unfortunately what he presented was more or less what you get when following the tutorials on the subject, so for me there wasn’t really too much added value with this talk.

Christian Heilmann talked about the Yahoo! Developer tools, namely YQL. For me it was the best presentation of the day and he completely nailed it. I won’t get into details about YQL because I don’t want to dumb it down but everyone should take a few minutes and check what it is all about.

Chris Heilmann on the Yahoo! Developer tools (mp3)