Live from JAXconf

JAXconf Keynotes – Hickey analyses the value of Value, Humble on Continuous Delivery

Chris Mayer

Rich Hickey provided a convincing argument for a developer rethink of values, whilst Jez Humble’s whistle-stop tour of continuous delivery.

Day Two of JAXconf continued supplying top quality speakers, and
smack bang in the middle was a double header keynote with Rich
Hickey stepping up to deliver ‘The Value of Values’ and Jez Humble
showcasing the wonders of ‘Continuous Delivery’

He started by splicing the definition of IT, debunking what the
dictionary says and took us on a whirlwind tour of programming over
the ages and how practices had changed. Rich discussed
place-oriented programming (PLOP), immutable strings, memory and
records and also dismantled the definition of a value pretty
neatly, hoping to change the room’s thinking on them.

We then went onto programming values, more specifically
immutable and what makes values valuable. Value can be shared and
create reproducible results, something which Rich believes really
matters, and can be easy to fabricate.

“Values are language independent – the notion of a string has
nothing to do with a programming language. They’re generic.” said
Rich. Conveyance, perception and memory are key things to think
about with values. Rich then moved onto to understanding facts and
how it helps in programming, saying facts are a documentation of
the past and cannot be changed.

“We should certainly be building systems that are
value-oriented:” Rich added, before going onto decision making when
developers are writing source code and controlling it. Timestamps
are key to tracking values.

Rich then went onto the field of Big Data, breaking up
some myths surrounding it. ‘I think we’re moving into what I’d like
to call the space age – the unlimited expanse in which all things
are located, and all events occur: said Hickey.

“We still get databases that use place-orientation but the
rationale is gone. We’re missing out on the value of values”:
suggested Hickey. A rethinking process needs to occur for the
enterprise to fully realise information systems.


Jez Humble then delivered a
rapid-quick overview of Continuous Delivery, resonating with the
audience on the woes of the Agile manifesto. In a developer-centric
room of developers, there was even a round of applause from testers
before Jez discussed the main benefits of Continuous Delivery – the
software automated practice to make sure software is always
production ready through a number of means.

The magic ingredients for CD are
configuration management, continuous integration and automated
testing. ‘Continuous integration is not just Jenkins, it’s a
practice. It’s a feature, not just a tool’ said Humble. He then
spoke about testing: that it should be done all the time in a
variety of ways to make sure everything is perfect.

We then looked at the deployment
pipeline – an automated implementatio of your system’s build,
deploy, test, release process. ‘All this stuff should be push
button – we need rapid feedback on what we’ve just done.’ The whole
process can be done in 10 minutes and in times of hardship, people
can only log in to solve the problem – it’s a millitary drilled
intricate process where it’s a high priority to fix the problem and
make sure minimal impact occurs in trouble.

Humble touched upon the issues of
convincing your business to adopt CD, but said it’s not risky to
implement. The two goals of operations and developers are in
conflict, and Humble talked about Devops and the merging of the two
to collaborate.

‘The tools and patterns exist for this
to happen today.’ said Humble, concluding that it wasn’t a
technical problem to improve release cycles but a people problem.
Everyone needs to be together at the beginning, keep meeting and
visibility is a key driver for Continuous Delivery – you need
everyone on side.

Humble put forward a convincing
argument to those not fully realising the Continuous Delivery
principles, casting aside Scrum and the like to fully embrace the
wonders of CD.

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