Presentation: "Objects On Trial"

Time: Wednesday 09:20 - 10:20

Location: Metropolitan Ballroom

Abstract:  It’s been a quarter of a century since objects really arrived on the software scene, with great fanfare, lofty expectations, and more than a little hype. One can argue, and there are those who do, that objects have won. That their triumph is complete. That object-oriented programming has become, well, programming. And yet, the case can be made that this “victory” has come at a cost that must be measured against the conceptual complexity these highbrow languages have brought with them, the architectural Balkanization and “Trail of Tiers” they have wrought, and the impedance mismatches that have resulted from the Babel of languages that O-O has spawned, and its defeat in the data tier.
Have objects met the transformative promises made for them a generation ago? Or have they done more harm than good?
The time has come to put them on trial. We’ll remand  objects themselves to the dock, and hear from a panel of distinguished, expert witnesses for the prosecution and the defense, before letting the You, the Jury, decide their fate.

Brian Foote, Software Ethologist

 Brian  Foote

Brian's research interests include object-oriented programming, design, reuse, languages, frameworks, software architecture, patterns, reflection, metalevel architecture, and software evolution, for starters. I've managed to come up with electronic copies of all my publications and workshop position papers (and several talks as well) going back to 1985.

Brian has electronic copies of all his publications and workshop position papers (and several talks as well) going back to 1985.

These can be accessed via the links on Brian's website. These are organized into the following categories. Some probably belong in more than one category. Direct hypertext links are given for papers for which HTML versions exist (such as Designing Reusable Classes). Links to versions in other formats are given after each paper's pseudo-bibliographic entry.

Brian's website:

Dave Ungar, Co-Creator of Self and ACM Fellow

 Dave  Ungar

David Ungar is an out-of-the-box thinker who enjoys the challenge of building computer software systems that work like magic and fit a user's mind like a glove. He received the 2009 Dahl-Nygaard award for outstanding career contributions in the field of object-orientation, and was honored as an ACM Fellow in 2010. Three of his papers have been honored by the Association for Computing Machinery for lasting impact over ten to twenty-four years: for the design of the prototype-based Self language, dynamic optimization techniques, and the application of cartoon animation ideas to user interfaces. He enjoys a position at IBM Research, where he is taking on a new challenge: investigating how application programmers can exploit manycore systems, and testing those ideas to see if they can help scale up analytics.

Eliot Miranda, Smalltalk VM Expert

 Eliot  Miranda Elliot is a loooong-time Smalltalk VM implementor and systems programmer having written his first VM in 1983.  He was lucky enough to work on Peter Deutsch’s HPS VM for VisualWorks throughout the 90′s and early 2000′s and essentially double its speed (mostly by adding polymorphic inline caches and rearchitecting its mapping of contexts to stacks).  Elliot was technical lead for VisualWorks from vw 3.0 through vw 7.4.1, leaving at the and of 2006.  Amongst other things Elliot has invented method pragmas/method tags as seen in VisualWorks and Squeak.  Elliot spent an all too brief but stimulating time at Cadence in Gilad Bracha’s Newspeak team, and then went to Teleplace (née Qwaq) where he was free to implement another fast VM for Croquet, a 3d immersive collaboration architecture built above Squeak Smalltalk, but this time (unlike VisualWorks) the VM is open source.  Elliot returned to Cadence early in 2011 where he is working for Yaron Kashai on system-on-a-chip design support in Newspeak running above the Cog VM.

Joshua Kerievsky, Founder, Industrial Logic and Author of "Refactoring to Patterns"

 Joshua  Kerievsky

Joshua Kerievsky is founder of Industrial Logic , Inc., an early pioneer and expert in Extreme Programming (XP), author of the best-selling, Jolt Cola Award-winning book Refactoring to Patterns, thought leader behind Industrial XP, a state-of-the-art synthesis of XP and Agile Project Management and an innovator of Agile eLearning, which helps organizations “Scale Agility Faster.” Joshua has over 20 years of experience in software development and loves coaching agile project communities, helping executives understand and manage technical debt, leading excellent workshops, and building software products (because it enables him to “walk the agile talk” as an entrepreneur, manager, customer and programmer).

Books: Refactoring to Patterns
Twitter: @JoshuaKerievsky

Michael Feathers, Author of "Working Effectively with Legacy Code"

 Michael  Feathers

Michael Feathers is a consultant with Object Mentor. He balances his time between working with, training and coaching various teams around the world.

Prior to joining Object Mentor, Michael designed a proprietary programming language and wrote a compiler for it, he also designed a large multi-platform class library and a framework for instrumentation control.  Publically, Michael developed Cppunit, the initial port of JUnit to C++, and FitCpp, a C++ port of the FIT integrated-test framework. Michael is also the author of the book 'Working Effectively with Legacy Code' (Prentice Hall 2004).

Twitter: @mfeathers

Richard P. Gabriel, IBM Research

 Richard P. Gabriel

Richard P. “Dick” Gabriel overcame a hardscrabble, working-class upbringing in the dreadfully industrialized and famously polluted Merrimack Valley of eastern Massachusetts to become one of the few genuine Renaissance men to emerge from the OO milieu: scholar, scientist, poet, performance artist, entrepreneur, musician, essayist, and yes, hacker…

Though somewhat less well-endowed of the effortless intellectual incandescence, easy charisma, and raw animal magnetism of so many of his generation of future object-oriented luminaries, he was able, with discipline, determination, and hard work, to survive the grueling demands of elite, first-tier academic institutions such as MIT, Stanford and UIUC to earn his PhD and become a leader among the burgeoning legions of Lisp-dom during the early nineties.

However, after a series of the inevitable, endemic startup setbacks that the Internet boom all too often left in its wake, Gabriel grew weary of the cold, cloistered, celibate tedium of engineering culture, and fell willing prey to the lure of the exotic social and intellectual stimulation and blandishments that only the Liberal Arts could offer.

And they, in turn, embraced this gruff emissary from the exotic, intimidating, but newly chic world of technology. Gabriel’s dissonant, desiccated, plainchant blank verse was dark, disturbing, distant, candid, calculating, and desperate, at once florid yet monochromatic. It could “cons-up” a soul in a single haunting, searing stanza and remand it remorselessly, insouciantly to the heap in the next. It was like nothing that could be heard on the stale, staid, inbred Writers' Workshop circuits of those times.

But then, as always, poetry alone seldom pays the bills, so the prodigal poet, like a salmon to spawn, returned to his object-oriented roots, proselytizing a newfound artistic sensibility to an aesthetically impoverished community.

His technological audiences, who had subsisted on bland, austere stylistic pabulum born of their collective status as a poor stepchild of mathematics, physics, and engineering, embraced his audacious set-piece guerilla performances and this novel aesthetic dimension in a manner akin to that in which Medieval European palates had embraced the infusion of spices from the East Indies.

His considerable successes in synthesizing the "Two Cultures" in this software setting will likely stand as his enduring legacy.

Gabriel lives in Redwood City, CA, and works for International Business Machines Corporation as an itinerant enforcer. He likes to unwind by playing his electric guitar. Oddly enough though, his passions for riff and verse have yet to beget any lyrics.