December 5, 2013

2013 Gartner Application Architecture, Development & Integration Summit – Day 2

2013-12-04 05.27.32I expected some nickel and diming when I came to Las Vegas but then I realized that nickels and dimes were too cheap…The picture to the left is what my gym was on Day 2 of the Gartner AADI Summit 2013.  I had been told that there was a fitness center available but packed some in room workout capabilities into my suitcase just in case. I was right, the hotel wanted to charge me $25 a pop to use their “Resort” every time I wanted to workout. Thankfully, I packed my yoga gear and DVDs so I was able to get my workout in nonetheless without paying the extra $25.

You didn’t come here to read about my workout though, here’s the good stuff!

UX Design and the Enterprise Architect

Who doesn’t want a little User Experience (UX) with their coffee? This was a really good session centered mainly around the paradigm shift that is coming/in process. “UX is the looming relevance challenge for IT organizations.” How true this is and how irrelevant are so many of our IT organizations. The speaker talked about the paradigm shift that is needed. He mentioned that you can’t just stick lipstick on a pig when it comes to UX. UX has to be the first part of the process and that is the fundamental problem with IT, we are engineers/developers first so we want our processes to be engineer/developer focused. However, when it comes to UX, design has to come first and it is not just aesthetics. It is fundamentally how your users interact with your apps. One key takeaway that I took from this session was with the fracturing of the UX between iOS, Android, & Windows Modern UI it is impossible to use a cross platform UX that fits with every platform so he recommended developing a corporate UX standard that would be standard across your apps and hold true to that UX framework to simplify your development.

Atlassian: How to do Kick-@$$ Software Development

Aside from the proliferation of the term Kick-@$$ (which the speaker tastefully warned the audience about at the opening of his session) throughout the length of this talk (to the point that I finally copied the text to my clipboard and just hit ctrl+v every time I needed to use it in my notes it was happening so often) this was an extremely good session. The premise of the talk was that in the movie Kick-Ass (I haven’t seen it) the main character decides one day that he is going to dress up as a super hero and fight crime…the first time he does though he is brutally beaten up and stabbed and it is not until he forms a team around him that he really starts to Kick-@$$ so to speak. Complete with the full getup (minus the mask – to which the speaker relayed to us that it is not smart to wear a mask in a casino :-), the casino had guards waiting for him at the elevator before he even made it from his room) the speaker lamented the early days as a software developer where he felt he would go out and save the world with software but just ended up feeling beat up and stabbed.  He then talked about Agile and its adoption history and how we are moving into a post-Agile world and companies are struggling to figure out how to deliver software more and more quickly in this new environment. He then talked about the 4 main ways that Atlassian does Kick-@$$ software development:

  1. Build Kick-@$$ things
  2. One Kick-@$$ team
  3. Kick-@$$ Collaboration
  4. Kick-@$$ Automation

Overall, this was a great talk with a lot of cool takeaways the biggest one for me being how intently focused they were on being a development shop more and not growing their non-development staff in leaps and bounds, but enabling their developers to do the testing, support, & design roles by bringing in a few experts that trained their developers how to fulfill those roles.

The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything

This session was hilarious, though terribly named. Sir Ken Robinson gave an extremely engaging talk about talents and creativity and how they affect our ability to create and re-create our lives and the paths we take. Two key quotes I have from this session are “Whatever you woke up worrying about this morning…get over it! How important can it possibly be in the grand scheme of things.” and “Talent is often buried deep, the challenge for leadership is to create conditions where talent will show itself.” If you are interested, I would recommend watching his TED talks, he is a very engaging speaker and his views on education and the reform it needs seem to be very good.

HTML5 and the Journey to the Modern and Mobile Web

This was a really good background session on what HTML5 was as well as what it isn’t along with the common misconceptions surrounding HTML5. I could tell that both presenters really knew what they were talking about. One key takeaway came during the recommendations section of their session when they said, “If your team has not yet done so, learn HTML5 and CSS3 and emerging modern Web tools.”

Microsoft: Delivering Revolutionary Modern Business Applications with Cloud, Data, and Devices

This one was a good presentation on what is available using Windows Azure for a public cloud provider especially in conjunction with on premise solutions. A key takeaway here is that Microsoft wants to be your cloud provider and they are doing everything they can to make themselves the vendors of choice including giving you options to host non-Microsoft products on their cloud and having easy integration from the cloud to on-premise solutions giving you a truly integrated hybrid solution.

Architecting and Developing Secure Applications

This was a pretty meaty session for 4:30 in the afternoon, but it was a great one! He started out by saying that writing secure applications is a major paradigm shift for so many developers because what they don’t know CAN hurt them. He laid out 3 key issues then expounded on them. The 3 Key Issues were:

  1. Why should enterprises place an emphasis on application-layer security?
  2. Which application security testing solutions can help enterprises develop secure applications and how will these evolve?
  3. How should organizations take a 360 degree comprehensive approach to application security?

I have a ton of notes for all the different sections, but if I were to recommend a starting point for anyone, look at the slide deck (see session title link), then go download the 360 degree approach white paper.


Overall, it was a really good day with a lot of information. I am almost to the point that I am on brain overload, but I think I have enough left for day 3 🙂