Yuvi Panda

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Functional Programming Geekweekend at Thoughtworks

[Note: I’ve a rather large backlog of blog posts to do, will push them out as soon as I can]

Saturday (22 Jan 2011) was spent at Geekweekend, organized at Thougtworks Chennai. The event had awesomeness written all over it, even before it started – how can any event where you register through a (rather limited, but still) command line interface on a website be not good? :D

I was late as usual (damn living so far away from everywhere) – and found my way walking through the underbelly of the Kathipara junction thanks to Google Maps’ Walking Directions :P

Clojure

Missed the first session. Turned up for the clojure session – it was good. I’ve been meaning to learn one of the OMGPARANTHESES langueages, and from the tooling/library support – clojure seems to be the way to go. Spent time during the talk setting up my machine to do clojure dev (took forever to setup – it is a netbook, afterall). Wanted to build something small before the end of the event (like a URL Shortener!) but too late for that.

I do plan on writing something with clojure in the short term though. Looking for ideas.

Lunch

Lunch. Met the usual group of geeks around. Fun, as usual :D Lunch was excellent. Me and Superkiddo continued the tradition of stealing sweets from Kishore‘s plate :D

Monads

Then came the session on Monads. I still don’t understand them. But that’s okay – the discussion was rather intellectually stimulating. It also reminded me that my mathematical/theoretical-cs foundation is incredibly weak (by geek standards) and needs updating/pushing up. Should start on SICP (again).

Purely Functional Languages on the fringe

The discussions were the most fun, productive part of the day, IMO. Most people who weren’t fully interested had already left – so the self-selected crowd was rather intense. Nobody there was actually using any purely functional language in production – which was expected. My opinion is that purely functional languages will always be on the fringe – as they should be. But features from them will trickle in slowly into mainstream, blub programming languages (even PHP has lambdas now!). Learning to think in a functional way will expand your mind, and make you a better programmer – even if you’re not programming in a purely functional language.

My Irrational Hate for Java

I’m not sure from where — perhaps the fucked up Java GUI apps, or my early stage semicolon/case-sensitivity hate (hey, I was 14, what do you expect!) or the fact that Java the language is way too verbose — I’ve had an irrational hate of all things Java/JVM. But that’s just that – irrational. So I’m taking a concerted effort to learn myself some JVM – hence clojure. I still don’t like Java the language (C# FTW!) – but the tools and libraries around JVM seem to be pretty good. Let’s see how this experiment at de-biasing turns out!

Functional Programming Users group

The idea of a Functional Language Users group was floated around. Waiting for it to turn up!

Update: Here you go. Join up and keep posting. I’m not sure how the idea of posterous groups will work out though.

Thoughtworks ‘crowd’

I’ve generally found that events organized at Thoughworks/by Thoughtworkers have higher average audience quality than most other events. Thanks for putting together events guys :)


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