2008 – The Year that Was

I know if I were to do a retrospective, it should have been last week, but now is as good a time as any.  2008 was a busy year for myself that I managed to challenge myself and push myself in many different ways.  From joining CodeBetter to speaking at conferences, there has been a lot of things going on.  I’ll focus on three areas, the personal, local and more global levels.

The Personal

On the personal level, 2008 was a bit of an interesting year.  Lately, there has been a large focus on Haskell here along with my usual postings on functional programming in general.  That’s going to continue of course as I try to take on a title like Erik Meijer’s “Language Pimper” (great business card BTW).  I’ve followed the Pragmatic Programmer guys suggestion of learning a new language every year.  Last year I had a focus on Erlang, Ruby, Haskell among others in more of the functional side.  So, what’ll it be this year? 

Not to be only technical, but I’ve picked up a lot of the Lean Software Development ideas lately and have been reading the Corey Ladas Scrumban book as well as following the groups and conversations on the topic.  With the presentation at DC ALT.NET on Kanban to my other readings, there is still so much yet to explore.

The Local

The Washington, DC developer community has been active this past year.  With such groups as the NoVA Languages group, FringeDC , the local Ruby groups (DCRUG, NovaRUG) and of course the .NET groups (CapArea.NET, CMAP, RockNUG, etc) have been active and quite rewarding experiences.  Given the opportunity to speak at some of these events were a great experience.

Running the DC ALT.NET group has been a lot of fun moving into our second year of operation.  With such topics ranging from Common Lisp, Ruby, Selenium to Kanban, we’ve covered a broad range of topics that you won’t find at many other user groups.  This year will be no different with exploration into service buses, acceptance testing, TDD among other topics.

The strength of the Ruby community here in the DC area has been great to see with events such as RubyNation and  and RubyDCamp.  Also, the Northern Virginia Languages group (novalang) and FringeDC have been fulfilling my language fix from Erlang, to Scheme and now to Haskell where the novalang group is co hosting the Real World Haskell Book Club.

The Global

As for the more global events?  The ALT.NET Open Spaces, Seattle was a great event that I was glad to be a member.  Subsequently at the Continuous Improvement in Software Conference (KaizenConf), there were even more interesting conversations especially around many of the ideas coming from Lean Software Development.  Getting an opportunity to talk about functional programming in both was a lot of fun and best of all, I learned a lot through teaching as well.  I’ve found that to be a pretty effective way for me at least to gain further insight.  My hope is that these events continue and to further the discussions and some of the ideas that have been core to the movement.

QCon San Francisco was another great event to be able to share ideas with some in the Haskell community, DDD community among others and a good number of my CodeBetter peers.  It was also a great experience to accompany Don Syme to talk about F# with the Bay Area Functional Programmers Group.   I highly recommend QCon as an event to attend.

What’s In Store for 2009?

So, what’s in store for 2009?  Well, I already have a bit of a busy schedule for the next month such as the following:

This is going to be an exciting year of challenges!  What are you doing this year to challenge yourself?

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