Yesterday was another day of talking primarily to people I know, inside and outside of Microsoft. Got into a long conversation with Gareth Jones and Peter Provost about combining test-driven and model-driven development. Having done evangelism for five of the last six years, I haven’t been an agile practitioner. I’m getting to the point where I feel dirty when I don’t write tests or don’t check in, but not dirty enough to actually do anything about it (yet). But practicing or not, it was fascinating to hear Gareth and Peter brainstorm on this topic.
Speaking of storms, we had a downpour here yesterday. Thunderstorm moved right over the convention center – you could tell by how loud the thunder and rain were. I hit a seam in the storm heading back to my hotel, but I did get drenched heading to the influencer party @ Margaritaville. The party was fun, after I dried off, though I seem to remember knowing more of the influencers last time I was @ TechEd. Ended up sharing a cab back to the hotel with Ted Neward and Mark Miller. Ted’s like the IT Industry’s Switzerland, so I took the opportunity to pick his brain on the goings on in other communities – primarily the Ruby community.
I did get a chance to hack a little code yesterday. As a side effect of my interest in programming language design, I’m also interested in parser development. Towards that end, I’ve been learning about Parsing Expression Grammars. The original PEG parser was built in Haskell, but I decided to write mine in F#. Even though I had never worked in F# before, I got my parser up and running fairly easily the first time. I did hit one syntax snag that Don Syme helped me with. I’ll blog this more in detail later, but I ported a simple arithmetic grammar packrat parser written in 120 lines of Haskell to about 90 lines of F#. Not bad for a first timer. (Don got it down to 25 lines, using F#’s new Active Patterns feature.)
I gearing up for my second talk, which happens right after lunch. I recorded a Virtual TechEd session this morning with the help of my friend Jon Flanders. It’s an 8 minute overview of the Rome project, so it is VERY high level. But anything that helps get the word out I see as a good thing, right?