What's on this week: Plus Grady Booch, Innovate 2011

At Innovate, Grady Booch provides a Watson anatomy lesson for hardcore developers

IBM® Chief Scientist of Software Engineering Grady Booch, the co-inventor of the Unified Modeling Language (and probably of fire, too) talks about what's new in IT. Rational's Theresa Quatrani talks about the IBM Rational Innovate 2011 Conference (June 5-9). And John Swanson discusses what's new at developerWorks.

Scott Laningham (scottla@us.ibm.com), Podcast Editor, IBM developerWorks

Scott LaninghamScott Laningham, host of developerWorks podcasts, was previously editor of developerWorks newsletters. Prior to IBM, he was an award-winning reporter and director for news programming featured on Public Radio International, a freelance writer for the American Communications Foundation and CBS Radio, and a songwriter/musician.



27 May 2011

developerWorks: Welcome to the developerWorks podcast. I'm Scott Laningham. This week, we hear from both Grady Booch, Chief Scientist of Software Engineering at IBM, and Terry Quatrani, the lady with the hat, as they call her at Innovate each year. She's Rational®'s Technical Event Content Lead.

Grady, of course, is a favorite speaker and teacher among software developers and well known for his work as the co-developer of the Unified Modeling Language and a leader at Rational for so many years.

And Terry plays a key role, again, putting on IBM's Rational Innovate conference. Both will be helping us to preview what's coming up at Innovate 2011, which is happening just around the corner June 5-9, in Orlando, Florida.

What's new at developerWorks

John Swanson provides a glipmse at the new resources available on developerWorks: Week of this webcast | Current.

But first, John Swanson, our developerWorks newsletters editor, is here again as he is every week to let us know what's going on with the newsletters. Hi, John.

Swanson: Hey, Scott. I don't have a hat to offer you, but ...

developerWorks: You know, you and I both need hats, I think, clearly. [LAUGHTER]

What's going on with you this week?

Swanson: This week, well, every week I'm working on the newsletter, and this week we're focusing on the developerWorks community, which, as you may recall, we launched just a little over two years ago now.

developerWorks: Right.

Swanson: So we're in our third year with that, and we have over 700,000 profiles have been created ...

developerWorks: Wow.

Swanson: ... which is a fair number of folks out there.

developerWorks: That's like a good-sized town right there.

Swanson: It's like, it's bigger than Boston. I think I checked, it's bigger than Florence, and it's bigger than Venice.

developerWorks: Wow.

Swanson: Yes, not all together, but individually, so. So that means there's more people out there creating more blogs and posting to more forums, and it's just a whole mess of activity going on.

They're sharing files. They're creating and working with wikis. Just hundreds, thousands of resources just stacking out up there and waiting to be used and taken advantage of.

developerWorks: And we want to encourage everybody to take a part of that, too, right?

Swanson: Exactly.

developerWorks: Because there's plenty of room. It's not like there's 700,000 chairs and the hall's closed or something.

Swanson: Exactly. There's plenty of room for everybody out there, and if you haven't created a profile, now is the time to do it. If you have, get in there and poke around, because there is so much going on, and so many tools at your disposal. And it's just, the activity is amazing. Just for example, I know you post to a blog with your podcasts. Every week I post my newsletter intro to the My developerWorks Enthusiasts blog.

And in the time it takes me, you know, I'll post to the blog, and in just the few seconds it takes me to get from the blog posting to the main wall of the developerWorks community page, the main wall with all the new statuses, you know, in that just short time several people have already done several other things in the meantime, there's just so much going on that you've got to check it out. And you'll probably post a sample of what I'm talking about there at the wall.

developerWorks: Absolutely. And you know, being a part of the community, it's a way to connect with all of these people and to have a richer experience with developerWorks, customizing how you receive all this content, right?

Swanson: Yes. We've got momentum. And we've got big things going on out there. And if you're an IT professional, you've got to be part of it. It's just ...

developerWorks: And if you come, you can connect with John, you can connect with me, you can connect with everybody else.

Swanson: That's right.

developerWorks: Just lots of great connecting going on.

Swanson: That's right. You're going to show our pretty little profile pictures there. And hopefully I'll change mine before my hairline recedes any more. [LAUGHTER]

So that's the main focus of the newsletter. Also focusing ... also highlighting the current features on developerWorks. The top feature this week is WebSphere Developer Technical Journal. And I know there's always a whole bunch of folks looking forward to that. And yes, just looking forward to getting that thing out the door for you.

developerWorks: John Swanson, developerWorks Newsletters Editor. Always good to see you, John. And everyone, do subscribe, if you haven't already. You go to ibm.com/developerworks/newsletter. It's all right there. It's the best way to stay on top of what's new on developerWorks each week. Right, John?

Swanson: Right, Scott.

developerWorks: Again, also new on developerWorks this week beyond the feature that John mentioned:

  • Multithreaded data structures for parallel computing: Design concurrent data structures without mutexes (AIX® and UNIX®).
  • Tuning SQL with Optim Query Tuner: Tuning individual queries (Information Management).
  • Define the scope of your development environment (Rational).
  • Optimize load handling for high-volume tests with Rational Performance Tester (Rational).
  • HTML5 fundamentals: Get your feet wet (Web development).
  • Five tips for using XPath in XSLT (XML).

Find all of that and more at ibm.com/developerworks.

Watson, from a forensic archaeologist's POV

Listen to the podcast | Watch the video.

Joining me now via Skype is Grady Booch, Chief Scientist of Software Engineering at IBM and an IBM Fellow. Well known among this audience, I'm sure. He's just a rock star among software developers. Good to see you, or good to hear you anyway, Grady.

Booch: Glad to be here, Scott. Thank you.

developerWorks: Grady does not have his webcam today, but we're glad to have him in any way we can get him. Audio only is fine. [LAUGHTER]

Grady, so this conference, Innovate, is clearly the one that's focused most intensely on the development part of the [A] Smarter Planet story for IBM. And I know you go to a lot of these, or go to all of these conferences, but is this the one that's focused, is this the one that's the closest to your heart? That's what I wanted to ask you.

Booch: It is, largely because of my background, having been with Rational since its foundation in '82 and then through its acquisition by IBM in 2003, you know, it's been part of my life's work for several decades now. So, yes, I'm very close to the soul of what Rational does.

developerWorks: Grady, can you talk about your message this year at Innovate? Does it change a lot from conference to conference? Do you have a special focus this time?

Booch: This is a different one because it's more of a case study. I was asked to come in and explain how Watson works. On Wednesday, at the plenary session, it's going to be kind of Watson Day. We'll be starting off with David Shepler talking about the story behind Watson.

And I'll be opening up the curtains behind Watson, really we developed a presentation specifically for the Rational development crowd looking for the hardcore developers, the code warriors, the project managers, who would like to understand both the architecture of Watson as well as the process that got us there.

I am not part of the Watson development team. Never have, likely never will be. I'm just the storyteller here. And so what I've done is take the techniques I've used, developed through my handbook of software architecture, done an archeological dig on Watson and you'll be seeing those results on Wednesday of that week.

developerWorks: I wonder if I could ask you about what you feel is maybe one of the more exciting opportunity spaces for developers right now, what would you say to that?

Booch: Well, I've always been a fan of collaborative development environments. So I'm pleased to see Rational continue advancing its work with the Rational Team Concert and Jazz platforms. I've always been of the belief that the most difficult problem developers face are partly technical, partly social.

It's really a socio-technical problem in that if you look at the things that make it difficult for people to deliver upon their vision — deliver in terms of software kinds of systems — there's some things that limit us, we can't get around. You can't pass information faster than the speed of light. No amount of job is going to change that.

And there will always be political and moral and ethical issues that will confound any technical solution. These things we can't necessarily deal with through our tooling and the like; they're just the nature of the human experience.

What most organizations face in terms of barriers to advancing their vision to reality is in this wonderful dance between the technical and the social, the problems of how I design a system and how I design a team to build that system.

So things like Rational Team Concert, the way that Rational has been advancing it, I'm very, very keen on because they work at the cusp of those two problems, very excited about that notion.

I've also always been jazzed by — bad use of the word there, good use of words, I guess; an unintended pun — jazzed by the notion of what we can do to automate the use of understanding and reasoning a system, reasoning about a system.

I was able to use an earlier release of some emerging tools from Rational for modeling sort of this next generation stuff that allows one to make very, very informal sketches of the system and then bind those so things are a little bit more formal.

I found advances in that space really helped me do the archeological dig upon Watson, because there's so much wrapped up in the tribal memory of this team, it defies formalization early on. You have an iterative process moving from informal to more formal things. So those kinds of tools, I think, attend to the reality of how developers really develop. And I'm always a fan of bowing to reality. It's a good thing.

developerWorks: Great stuff. It's always a pleasure, Grady. Grady Booch, again, Chief Scientist of Software Engineering at IBM and an IBM Fellow. He will be keynoting at Innovate 2011. You've got to get there to hear him or watch him on Livestream. Grady, I hope we get to connect there.

Booch: Happy to do so. Come grab me on either side of my keynote on Wednesday. And we're also doing, I don't think it's been announced yet, but David Shepler and I are going to do a longer session on Wednesday.

I only have about half an hour to walk through Watson's architecture, and there's lots more detail to discuss. So we're going to have a whole hour later in the day where we'll be able to open it up for Q&A among the two of us, and dive as deep as people would like to go. So join us there.

developerWorks: Thanks so much.

Booch: You're welcome, Scott.

developerWorks: Next up, here's T.Q., Terry Quatrani, bringing the hat as usual. Terry, how are you doing?

Quatrani: I'm good, Scott. How are you?

developerWorks: I'm fantastic. And I couldn't wait to see what you were going to have on. I know you're not going to leak the hat for this year's Innovate yet, but which one does this come from?

Quatrani: It's a secret. Never comes out until Sunday night.

developerWorks: Tell me about this one. Where does it come from?

Quatrani: This was actually from a couple of years ago where the theme was Our Heros. So I was "super whizzed up momma."

developerWorks: Do you design these hats?

Quatrani: Absolutely.

developerWorks: And how long does it take to get them together?

Quatrani: Oh, a couple of months, usually, because I have to figure out what I'm going to do and then I've got to find the hat, and then I've got to find all the decorations for it. I'm just starting to put together this year's. But it is quite lovely.

developerWorks: And the history of the hat is what again?

Quatrani: I started many years ago with little Minnie Mouse ears, and they've just gotten progressively bigger as the years have gone by.

developerWorks: Tell us, Terry, you've got a big part in putting on Innovate every year, as the content lead, the technical content lead. What's the theme this year, and what's going to be happening around it?

Quatrani: The theme this year is Software Everywhere and really showing that, you know, software is really everywhere. So I'm real excited. We had an overwhelming number of applications this year.

We actually had close to 1,250 abstracts for 297 sessions. So the sessions, I think the quality we have is really, really good. We've got 28 hands-on workshops going. We have about 64 peds of GA solutions in the Solution Center. I've got another 28 peds showing Rational, Innovate Labs. Have 16 peds there, which are really our futures.

And then new for this year we added 14 peds showing interoperability — so how you can connect Rational products to other Rational products, and also the third-party products using OSLC capabilities.

developerWorks: Cool. Who is hosting this year? Scott Hebner is not going to be doing it this time, who has been in recent ...

Quatrani: We actually have, Gina Poole will be there. And also have Felicia Day.

developerWorks: Great.

Quatrani: Everybody is excited about Felicia Day coming in and going to chat with us for a couple of days.

developerWorks: Fantastic. Is it too late to register? Can people still register?

Quatrani: Absolutely not. You can go online www.ibm.com/rational/innovate. Online registration will probably be open, my guess will be next Tuesday or Wednesday, then they'll shut it down. But you can register onsite. We have two desks with onsite reservations. So come on down.

developerWorks: And a big party Wednesday night?

Quatrani: Big party Wednesday night. We're going to Universal Studios to Harry Potterland. If you're a Harry Potter fan, it's just phenomenal.

developerWorks: It is cool, isn't it? And the village, it looks just like movie.

Quatrani: Looks just like Harry Potter. I'm a big Harry Potter fan, so ... [LAUGHTER]

developerWorks: Terry Quatrani, Rational Technical Content Lead for Innovate, lady with the hats, big Harry Potter fan. Terry, thanks so much, and I look forward to seeing you at Innovate.

Quatrani: And guess what, Scott? I'll have a hat on.

developerWorks: Okay, take care, Terry.

Quatrani: Bye-bye.

developerWorks: Again, that was Terry Quatrani, the lady with the hat and a big driver behind the Innovate 2011 conference. She'll be there of course, and we will, too.

Again, Innovate 2011 is just two weeks away. There's still time to register. Just go to ibm.com/innovate. ibm.com/innovate.

This has been the developerWorks podcast, ibm.com/developerworks is IBM's premier source for developers with tools, code and education on IBM products and open standards technology. I'm Scott Laningham. Talk to you next time.

Search terms for these topics:
Grady Booch | Innovate 2011 | IBM Rational | Teresa Quatrani | Unified Modeling Language | A Smarter Planet | David Shepler IBM | IBM Watson | Rational Team Concert | Rational Jazz | IBM Gina Poole | Felicia Day

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