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Dyn at DevDays Boston

Yesterday, myself and Eric Stein of the DynDNS development team attended StackOverflow‘s DevDays in Boston. It was an event filled with speakers talking about a variety of topics of interest to the development world including Python, iPhone development, Fogbugz, ASP.Net MVC, Javascript testing and Mono.

My day started off by arriving ‘fashionably late’ after an unintended tour around Boston (a few times it seemed), courtesy of my GPS. I caught the second half of Joel Spolsky‘s keynote speech, which was comparing simplicity against feature-rich products, along with a humorous chart showing how most applications are really just used as a way to potentially ‘copy our DNA’, which was a great way to get some laughs and get everyone loosened up at the start of the day. (And initially, yes, I did automatically type “DNS” instead of “DNA” in that last sentence, if you were wondering.)

After the keynote, Ned Batchelder gave a good Python presentation dissecting a 21 line spell corrector written by Peter Norvig of Google, along with a quick overview of Python for those who weren’t familiar with it. He’s been kind enough to post the slides from his presentation on his site.

At about this point, we realized that the Wifi was not working as a result of the DHCP server running out of IP addresses for the attendees; and since the conference was downstairs, cell service was tough to come by. Life without internet access is scary. It made for many trips up to ground level during breaks to get cell service to check email or make a quick tweet.

Mixed in among the breaks were talks of iPhone development, Fogbugz and ASP.Net MVC. But my favorite talks of the day were actually the last two: John Resig of Mozilla speaking about Javascript testing, and Miguel de Icaza talking about Mono.

John Resig is the creator of jQuery, among many other projects. His talk focused on some statistics that he gathered showing that the vast majority of developers do no kind of unit testing for javascript in their projects. He showed a few different test suites, including QUnit for unit testing and Selenium, which is a kind of browser automation that we actually use for testing here at Dyn.

Miguel de Icaza wrapped up the day and I must admit, being a Linux user who doesn’t use Windows much, I really hadn’t given much thought to Mono, which is an open source .Net implementation for Linux. Miguel showed off some really cool stuff, including Visual Studio plugins that allowed running a Mono application on a remote Linux machine while still setting breakpoints and debugging on the local machine. He also showed off the Mono port for the iPhone, which adds memory management and garbage collection, a nice alternative to the traditional objective C language for the iPhone.

It’s hard to do any justice in words to just how funny Miguel’s presentation ended up being, but suffice it to say, if something didn’t work correctly right away, Miguel’s demeanor was pretty hilarious as he quickly fixed it. The comments of ‘never being able to get Windows to work correctly’ and that ‘we’ (Linux users) really have taken over the world after a show of hands in the audience certainly got some laughs.

Overall, Joel Spolsky and company put together a great event with a great mix of speakers, and if they decide to do one next year, I’m sure members of the Dyn team will be in attendance again.


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Whois: Dan McCombs

Dan McCombs is a Principal Software Engineer at Oracle Dyn Global Business Unit, a pioneer in managed DNS and a leader in cloud-based infrastructure that connects users with digital content and experiences across a global internet.