Impact Session Notes: Developers Mini Main Tent: "The New Development Reality"
Noah Kuttler 110000SVNJ firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  development impact2012 impact
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This session was available on ImpactTV and I watched it from my desk in Austin.
Grady Booch (IBM Fellow; Chief Scientist for Software Engineering)
The first speaker was Grady Booch and he talked about the history of computing. Literally. The term "computer" originated from the people (usually women) who sat in rooms and did all the complex mathematics. By hand!
He transitioned to show a neat chart mapping architectures of development environments and showed how Eclipse and Jazz/RTC are in the "artifact-centric" and "semantic" tools quadrant.
Grady also spoke about how the experience of the developer is changing. How the number of languages that the average developer needs to know is increasing as "programs" change to "systems" and those systems move from isolation to working together.
(Interesting fact: the US tax system is written in IBM Assembly Code, and much of it is the same code written before some of us were even born!)
There was also mention of continuous integration and delivery (more on that later) and how that has become a huge part of the development strategy.
One of the most fascinating parts of his talk was about the changing development team. The fact that people like lawyers are now a core part of a development team. And people who speak for the business as well.
And it's not just these new roles, it's also about teams that span space and time.
And the scope of development is changing. Those "programs" are giving way to "systems" and they are built with other systems that the developer may or may not have control over. The days of "stand-alone programs" are over.
In fact, every line of code impacts the business; including implications that are often unforseen (including ethical implications).
But to be a developer is both a privilege and a responsibility.
Venkat Gaddam (Director - IT for Verizon Wireless)
Next up, Venkat Gaddam talked about a project they worked on at Verizon and looking at the complexity of some of the software projects they work on.
With mobile, there are no standards. There are any number of security issues and there's a limited amount of time to develop.
And yet, when given the task to develop something in 4 weeks, they met the challenge. They revisited the architecture, middleware and backend (he used a great example of how an application on a GPS-enabled mobile phone still asked for a zip code).
Meeting the timeline and providing a best-in-class application is the key.
He expanded on this point in an interesting way. He asked the audience what the best point and shoot camera was? (he held up an iPhone). What the best GPS device was? (he held up a Droid)
They are the best because of the ecosystem. The stand-alone devices are coming to an end. For everything that you build, he said, you should be better than the stand-alone version.
And time to market is one of the most critical pieces to delivery. A developer should not say "I can't make that timeline."
Separate innovation from invention. Innovation should be a part of the cutlure, but it should not be an excuse for missing delivery dates.
He ended with three good pieces of advice
The next part of the session were the "lightning talks" which were 5 speakers going for 5 minutes each.
Collaboration (Social Media) with Ronnie Maffa (IBM, VP Web and Social Software Development)
IBM Connections was of course mentioned in doing this, but the key takeaway was - you must engage!
Mobile with Greg Truty (DE and Chief Architect of IBM Mobile Foundation)
Greg showed a number of mobile application development approaches, and how IBM covers all of them with our Worklight acquisition.
He pointed out that the "right" approach to mobile development is going to vary based on target audience, app function, time and budget as well as IT resources. Those factors determine the "right" approach.
DevOps (Infrastructure As Code) with Daniel Berg (IBM Rational STSM - DevOps Lead)
Deployment? That's the last thing you need to do. Right?
Nope. A line of code changed in a piece of software might not make an impact but one piece of code changed in deployment could be disastrous.
Daniel showed how many deployments are done with written instructions handed to the operations team on how to deploy the code (manually). He even talked about instances where operations knew the instructions were wrong, but followed them anyhow.
The idea with devops is infrastructure as code.
Using AGILE development tools (like SCM) to manage the infrastructure code like software. And you now have a build system. And you automate it in a library and deploy in a consistent manner. This delivery pipeline is continuously being deployed.
Daniel concluded with talking about IBM SmartCloud Continuous Delivery (and more information on this can be found on the Cloud & Service Management blog).
Test with Peter Cole (IBM Rational Director of Quality management)
Pete showed up in a bathrobe over his suit and tie, and it's a funny bit about mixed messages that you kinda gotta see in the video.
Pete talked about the Green Hat acquisition and testing.
Much like some of the other speakers discussed, the average application is joined to any number of systems that it has to test against. The systems get large and larger as the testing has to go end-to-end.
The sheer explosion of testing environments and skills required (not to mention the organization issues as they span across different groups) - VMWare and other applications virtualize the hardware but they don't address skills or sprawl issues.
What Pete showed with Green Hat was a solution that gave the application something to test/respond to. A bit of data and some business rules with the Green Hat solution and the developers can train once and virtualize the solution.
One of the most improtant benefits that Pete covered on Green Hat is that it allows for earlier testing. We can record what the real system does and respond in turn before we get into the late stages of testing where changing can be costly. No more last minute show stoppers.
Java with John Duimovich (DE, IBM Java CTO)
His daughter (studying computer science at college) asked him, "Is Java dead?" and he promises he didn't use charts with her when he talked to her about Java.
Changing Role of Developers with Kristof Kloeckner (IBM GM Rational)