Technology Entrepreneur, Innovator, Author and Thought Leader

Shashank Tiwari

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Last week I spoke on Flex 4 at SD West 2009. Apart from the warm California weather, I enjoyed the great conference. It had the usual impressive line-up of speakers and attendees, a good number of expo participants and the annual JOLT awards ceremony.

The flagship topic of the conference, as is at most SD conferences (SD Best Practices and SD West), was “agile” software development. Added to it was a pinch  of DSL(s), good old C++, Java, .Net, cloud computing, web2.0, security, testing and the now much less talked about data structures and such. The conference was structured around the following tracks:

  • Agile Processes, People & Methods
  • C++
  • Cloud Computing
  • Java
  • Modeling & Design
  • .NET
  • New Horizons
  • Pervasive Parallelism
  • Requirements & Analysis
  • Security
  • Testing & Quality
  • Web 2.0 and Beyond
  • Web Services, REST and SOA

Considering that conferences are increasing getting specialized, the diverse set of tracks might make you dizzy. However, things are not that confusing though. There was clearly some old love for C++ and favor for the wide spread Java and .Net and as mentioned the theme of agility pervaded through them all.

The Web 2.0 and beyond track, in which my Flex 4 presentation was categorized, was not really the central focus of this event, although the track included some well known speakers like Neal Ford and Allen Holub. So my initial feeling about number of attendees for my session (Introduction to Flex 4) was quite mixed. At one level I anticipated complete indiffernce from the masses and at another I suspected the lure of the “new new thing” pulling them to me. Finally, ended up having a room full of attendees and am very happy about it. Better still, I think I probably made a good presentation, cause hardly any were distracted during the session or walked out in the middle. There were a ton of questions and active participation. From the questions, it was clear some knew Flex well and had possibly used it for building real life applications. However, it was also apparent that some knew just the bare essentials of Flex.

My presentation focused exclusively on the concepts and stayed away from discussing the API (considering its volatile current state). I did show some working code and a whole lot of partial code snippets, which was much appreciated. From prior experience, I am convinced the developer in us gets quite excited on seeing interesting code bits and goes off to sleep when exposed to reams of it sprayed all over the slides.  All-in-all I think many people felt happy at the end of the session having discovered part of the future now.

I can’t post the original presentation online due to the contractual obligations with the conference organizers.  You can buy the recording from them though. I plan to run a set of public presentations on Flex 4 and I promise to make them available online soon.

 Apart from speaking at the event, I was also acting as the proxy JOLT award receiver on behalf of my friends at ZeroTurnAround, who could not make it to the conference. They have a pretty cool tool called JavaRebel, which alleviates the pain of repetitive compile-deploy cycle during Java development. Wonder, if my Ruby friends who love to bad mouth Java’s shortcoming  and overhead related to compile-deploy have to say anything about it. JavaRebel won the JOLT productivity award in the utilities category this year. Congratulations folks!

It was a hurried up trip for me as usual and as it always happens on my way back to New York, I spent a good amount of time at the SFO airport and on the flight. Got back and was immediately caught up with my next set of endeavours.  Life seems perpetually so busy, but honestly it isn’t a bad thing in these recessionary times. What say?

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I am a technology entrepreneur, innovator, author and, as some say, a “thought leader”. I like to solve challenging computing problems, especially those that drive innovation. Being a polyglot programmer, I can program fluently in many languages, including Java, Python, C++, C, Ruby, ActionScript, JavaScript, Objective-C, Haskell, Scala, Clojure, PHP, Groovy, Lisp and Perl. I must admit that I like to learn programming languages and if there is a new interesting one coming, I wouldn’t be far behind getting to grips with it. Over the last many years I have built some cutting edge enterprise and consumer software applications, many of which have leveraged large data sets and the web based programming paradigms. This means I also know a lot about data bases and persistence. I am very conversant with relational databases, embedded databases, object databases, text based data and XML. Having leveraged web based programming paradigms, I have first hand experience with a lot of web development frameworks, including but not limited to Adobe Flex, Spring MVC, Rails, Grails and Django. Not to forget, I obviously have worked a lot with HTML, JS and CSS. My experience and interest are varied and diverse and range a wide spectrum of application development realms that include the server, the client and the middleware. Besides, programming, I am also deeply interested in mathematics and theoretical computer science. This motivates me to bring my knowledge of applied mathematics, statistical modeling, artificial intelligence and sometimes simply data structures, to good use, when I build applications. A couple of domains like financial mathematics and scientific computing seem to have been good fit for such expertise. I am an ardent supporter of open source software and try and contribute to open source code bases and causes. I like the plurality and variety that software development offers; the choice of programming languages, the abundant availability of tools and libraries, the existence of multiple operating systems and the possibility of varied software development methodologies. As a member of the technology community, I am an active contributor to the ever evolving software development languages, methodologies and standards. I am an expert group member on a number of JCP (Java Community Process) specifications, for example JSRs 274, 283, 299, 301 & 312, and have been recognized as an Adobe Flex Champion.I run and organize a few community events like Flex Camp Wall Street, Show Ramp and Polyglot World. I bring together all my expertise in terms of services and products via my primary venture, Treasury of Ideas LLC, in which I play the role of a Managing Partner. Treasury of Ideas LLC, through its focus on innovation and value optimization, offers many best of the breed services and products and has incubated many ideas to help translate them to reality. Our clients range from large enterprises, government agencies, not-for-profit organizations to promising new startups. I write regularly in many technical journals and magazines, present in seminars and mentor developers and architects. I have authored a few books, including Advanced Flex 3 (friends of Ed/APress, 2008) and Professional BlazeDS (Wrox/Wiley, 2009) , and am in the process of authoring a few more. You can learn all about my books and public talks by browsing through the Publish & Present page at www.shanky.org.