Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The German Connection

Hoo boy, I'm still tired from Berlin :) Or maybe it's the accumulated trips that have caught up with me. Either way it has taken me some time to get around to unload the camera and sleep and work and.. oh wait, I just realized I had planned to post about the latest GTUG Stockholm meeting. Oh well, next up I guess.

I missed the original and first JSConf in Washington, since I had a client default on me at around that time. No nice experience, double so because of missed attendance.

I was dead set at not missing the European JSConf.eu at any price, and was more than happy when I was admitted as a speaker with my dojox.gfx talk. I had never been to Berlin before and to Germany only once, twenty years ago (yes I am that old!), so I had no idea what to expect, really.

Well, two things stuck me at once: 1) Berlin is *huge*, 2) It's also beautiful. Due to the first fact, you have to take Taxi everywhere (which generally a) lack onboard GPS and Maps R2D2, b) lack any card readers, forcing you to luggage around lots of Euros).

Oh, the conference? The conference was a huge success, but more than that it was immensely enjoyable. Day one had a great opening by Dion Almaer (now, as we all know, of Palm).

What I took away from most of the speeches is that I probably need to brush up on the noble art of making slides. Dion's presentation was fun, tons of fun, and also very nice to look at. What do I have? Slapped together pictures and pages of code. Not much fun that :) Actually, that was also a theme underlying much of Dion's speech,something I know but don't react enough on - sex sells, people want to have fun, et.c.

Some other notable talks was Remy's HTML5 presentation (mot least because it contained Sharks with lasers!), The cappuccino presentation by Francisco Tomalsky was also really good, but after a lot of head-wrangling I feel that I somehow still want to code my clients and that the WYSIWYG will only get in the way. Well, right, they had stellar support for hand-coding as well. OK, OK, I admit it, I'm just jealous. There, I said it, can we move on?

The CommonJS and Server-Side JavaScript in general lay as a barely audible hum throughout the two days of presentations. A comment from Malte on how he had used Joose on the server-side, the OpenAjax guys (Hi Lieke, Mike and everyone else from Javeline), naturally who made their very own SSJS VM, and lots of other comments in and around the talks made SSJS feel very present.

The natural focus of Server-Side would of course had been Kris Kowal's CommonJS talk, which was very good in itself, but what really dropped a bomb was @ryah's node.js unveiling. Naturally, as everybody (now) knows, node.js has been going on for over half a year, but it hasn't had lots of attention. Until now. What got our attention was the off-beat assertion by Ryan

that using thread-based logic was doing everything wrong.

He talked about how he had done quite a lot of advanced magic (with threads, inside node.js) to be able to expose system events, pipes, sockets and services to be handled by JavaScript callbacks- that is node.js.

By implementing non-blocking I/O and using event handlers instead of threads, the logic for common servers and services could be made much simpler.

He had a simple IRC server going, which was implemented in its entirety in JavaScript. I have done some of that before, having fiddled with 10gen's application server, but instead of living inside Rhino, node.js includes the Google V8 JavaScript VM, and exposes system services, such as streaming file operations and DNS lookup (non-blocking you see :).

I could go on, and probably will, but for the record, node.js was the mount everest peak ascent, or maybe Roswell crash of JSConf. Nothing will be the same ever again. But in a good way.

And the partying was excellent. I finally got to met the Uxebu Dojo folks, including Nikolai Onken (@nonken), PHP, github and jQuery people, including @paulca and @furf (who just had reinvented deferred's (something I've never done)) and lots and lots of other people, champion drinkers one and all.

Almost noone managed to get hit by quick bicycle ladies in the early morning, and most of us got some sleep between the two conference days, but it was a total blast. I had also a small request from @frebro who has designed my business cards - could I possibly take a photo of them in a cool setting? Not to let him down I shot them together with both Remy Sharp and

Douglas Crockford, who were nice enough to lend their star quality to my nefarious purposes.

The day I was travelling home, on Monday, I had planned to do some general shopping four hours before the plane should lift, and then take a quick taxi to the airport some two hour later.  Little did I know that this specific Monday was the 20 year celebration of the fall of the Berlin wall, unification and so on. The traffic stood practically still. it took me nearly all of the time I had to get to the airport in time.

I arrived home late in the evening, fully aware that I was leaving for Moscow 10.20 the day after. but more of that in another blog post.

And that's me in the middle. The long-haired, thin guy without a beard.


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