Cutting Into The Future
Dave McKinnon and I had been tossing around the idea of having a day long conference solely for discussing functional programming. Functional programming seems to be poised to make the leap from the academic realm to the practice of the working software engineer, as object-orientation and structured programming did before it. As more and more developers are asked to start taking advantage of multi-core chips concurrent and parallel programming will come to the fore and the functional programming story in this regard is very good. As more and more moves to the cloud, functional’s stateless model will come to the fore and allow programmers to build more bullet-proof systems. Dave is committed to building the best community of software developers in the world here in Detroit and I am wholly in agreement with him. One aspect of the best community of software developers in the world is mastering new technologies as they come along.
So Dave and I discussed how we might best structure a single day conference for developers interested in hearing more about functional. Dave pointed me to the UK firm Skills Matter; for the last three years they’ve staged Functional Programming Exchange–a day long event devoted to all things functional. At Functional Programming Exchange they discuss Haskell, F#, Scala, Erlang and all things functional.
I was also aware of an F# Users’ Group in Cleveland, Ohio and a pocket of functional programmers in Kalamazoo. And then someone pointed out that one of the guys from Atomic Object in Grand Rapids had written a blog post about how useful Seesaw is. Well Dave Ray from Ann Arbor is the author of the Seesaw Clojure library. It seemed like a sign–one Michigan software developer blogging about the work of another Michigan software developer. It seemed to say “It’s really time to try to get all of the functional programmers around the Great Lakes together for a day to meet, learn and socialize.”
So I contacted Dianne Marsh, a nationally recognized expert on Scala, and asked if we could maybe get together over in Ann Arbor. Quick as a flash, being the supportive person she is, Dianne gave me the go ahead. So May 5, 2012 is zero hour for the first gathering of those who are coding functional code and those who would like to.
If this sounds fun or interesting to you, keep your eye on this space. I can guarantee a great day with other developers who want to be there as the edge of new technology cuts into the future.