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CUSEC Day 3: Rails keynote and Student Panel

David Heinemeier Hansson, Rails creator, was supposed to give a keynote on Rails, but his plane was stuck in Seattle. Bummer. Chad Fowler pulled double duty and gave a presentation titled “Ruby is a Toy and Rails is Boring”. Ruby is a toy because it’s actually fun to program. Rails is boring because you don’t have to spend a day to install Tomcat and configure a bunch of xml file. He gave a very brief example of rails. Most of the presentation focused on the philosophy behind Ruby and Rails, like the idea of convention over configuration. He asked us to always question why we’re doing something in a specific way, and see where we can apply the same philosophy to other languages.

After a presentation on software startups, the panel discussion was next with Chad Fowler and three students. The usual question of the difference between computer science and software engineering came up and caused again quite a stir. As always, I noticed two debates going on: the situation right now and what should be. Most software engineering curriculum are pretty new. It’s no surprise then that computer scientist have been doing engineering until now. However, I think it’s time to further separate the two, just like in every other field. Engineers will build software, while scientist will research better and new algorithms, data structures, languages, distributed systems, operating systems, etc.

That’s the end for CUSEC 2006. It was a fun event. There were three keynotes that were very good, two by Chad Fowler and of course the one by Kathy Sierra. I’m still thinking about first one from Chad, it’s made me see my career in a different light. I had to order his book and I just received it this morning from Amazon.

I’m looking forward to CUSEC 2007!

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