Battle of the Geeks 2007 – An eyewitness report

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Yesterday I attended the Battle of the Geeks. It was hosted by Finalist at the Netherlands Architecture Institute in Rotterdam. There were four presentations about different subjects. CMS Container, Google Guice, Gruby on Grails and Mule. A former colleague of mine (Peter Maas) was giving the presentation about Groovy and Grails. At the end of every presentation we had to rate the presentation (1-5 stars). The presentation with the best rating was rewarded with the battle of the geeks award, a plastic viking helmet and a paper with the name of the speaker on it.
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CMS Container

The first presentation was about CMS container, an open source CMS based on MMBase. The demo’s looked cool but the presentation was a bit superficial. I wanted to hear more technical details (there were only geeks after all) to get a good view of the product.

Google Guice

The  second presentation was about Google Guice. I once wrote a blog about Guice and know something about the subject.  This presentation was given by Che Schneider, a developer at Finalist. He started his presentation with asking our opinion on drinking beer, when you use Google Guice there is more time to drink beer.
Guice is a dependency injection framework developed by Google. It doesn’t use configuration files and everything is configured by annotations. Che claimed that this saves a lot of time and that you don’t have to bother with large xml files any more. After that he showed us how to inject objects into other objects and how easy it was to switch to a unit test context. This presentation was very clear and I learned some knew things, but I still don’t  have a good reason to switch from Spring to Guice.

Gruby on Grails

Now it was Peter’s turn to score some points. Peter’s supporters screamed and applauded even before he started. The first thing Peter pointed out was that the term Gruby is very wrong, we have to use Groovy and were not allowed to compare Rails with Grails.
Groovy is a programming language that compiles to jvm byte code and is interchangeable with Java. Grails is a collection of very famous frameworks:  Spring, Hibernate, Lucene and some others. There also is a Groovy ORM framework (GORM) included in grails. The developer hasn’t got to know anything about the underlying frameworks, this is al hidden by Grails. The power of Grails is the ability to generate database tables and CRUD-web pages based on domain objects. When you develop a standard CRUD application it’s blazingly fast. Peter even showed us how to make changes to the generated pages (something that’s often left out of presentations to impress people) and that was fairly easy too.
This presentation definitely was the funniest one to watch and listen to, Peter was the only one who brought fans with him, that might have helped too.

Mule

The final presentation was about Mule, an open source ESB (Enterprise Service Bus). The speaker wasn’t well prepared and forgot to explain what an ESB was.  Despite of the bad preparation I got an idea what Mule was about (maybe because I attended an ESB-presentation at AMIS) Mule is pretty cool and it’s something we have to take serious. The discussion afterwards was more valuable than the presentation itself.

Conclusion

This battle was really worth spending two hours in rainy traffic jams. The main reason I attended was the presentation of Peter, but the Google Guice presentation alone was worth the traffic jam. The geek-factor wasn’t very high, the term geeks probably scared the other AMIS-employees to join this evening ;-)
Giving short presentations (30 minutes) is a good idea. It is short, but long enough to introduce one to a new subject.
I learned that Grails and Guice are both subjects to watch closely and that we will hear a lot more about them.

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