Functional conference, 2015

Last year, I had attended the rather useful, first edition of the, Functional conference, and returned this year too.

I walked in when the keynote, by Amit Rathore, was in progress. The talk seemed to veer in the direction of “functional-programming-awesome, functional-programmers are ninjas, or some equivalent fighter hero types”. I am not big fan of that sort of messaging; it does not appeal to me. But it was interesting to note that Amit’s company continued to build on the advantages that functional languages provided, and were able to keep the organization nimble and productive, considering their mission to disrupt the media industry. Continue reading “Functional conference, 2015”

Functional Conference, Bangalore

Thanks to Twitter, I came across an announcement for a Functional Conference in Bangalore. I usually do not attend conferences, but then a conference focused on functional programming and ideas was a novelty in India. Quickly took a look at the people behind this conference, liked what I saw, and booked a place for myself. This was back in June 2014.

Coming to the conference itself, the registration process was a breeze, and the conference venue was a rather good hotel, with decent conference room facilities. Most of the talks listed at the conference were rather interesting. I attended the following sessions:

  • Functional Reactive UIs with Elm – was curious about Elm, and the presentation content was interesting enough, though the presentation of the content was not engaging.
  • Applying functional programming principles to large scale data processing – application of “lambda architecture” for data processing. Would have liked to see more depth/details in this session. In any case, it introduced me to the phrase “lambda architecture” – I was using the “functional-style-of-architecture” in my design discussions earlier.
  • Compile your own cloud with Mirage OS v2.0 – creating a “unikernel”; where the OS is treated as a library, and is statically linked to the user application; and all of this runs as a single binary. Wow! I wanted to attend this session because OCaml was mentioned in its abstract, and this turned out to be a session that got me thinking about possibilities, and something I continue to think about. This was a session that gave me a lot of vocabulary and ideas for what I was once proposing within IBM – the concept of “Lean middleware” – the idea being to reduce indirections, and to use the OS as a library.
  • Property based testing for functional domain models – I have been following Debasish on twitter, and reading the lucidly written entries on his blog. This session was presented rather well, and I got to learn about “property based testing”, and “dependently typed languages – Idris“. Something I want to use, the next opportunity that I get.
  • Code Jugalbandi – this was an interesting experiment; a quick introduction to the idioms in different programming languages – Scala, Clojure, Groovy.
  • Learning (from) Haskell – An experience report – liked the way this was presented, and learnings that were applied to improve code quality; reinforcing best-practices / idioms in a language of choice – Python / Ruby, etc
  • Pragmatic Functional Programming using Dyalog – It just so happened that I had installed Dyalog, and played with APL a couple of months before this session. So, the APL terseness and unique syntax was something that I was aware of. This session was one that made me re-think how important concise, yet readable, code can be. The demo where Morten – the presenter – scraped Wikipedia content to create a FOAF network was really interesting.
  • Monads you already use (without knowing it) – an introduction to Monads.
  • Purely functional data structures demystified –  a very good introduction to a rather dense topic, and inspired me enough to look up the work that Okasaki has done in this area.
  • An introduction to Continuation Passing Style (CPS) – the topic started off on a rather simple note, and quickly developed into something that made me sit at the edge of my seat – intellectually stimulating topic.
  • Keynotes – I liked the engaging keynote by Daniel, where my key take away was “approach new topics with an open-mind, and treat people with kindness”.

Overall, the Mirage OS session, Property -based-testing sessions were the ones that engaged me the most, and ones which got me thinking about possibilities.

The conference was a well organized one, and one that I would attend the next time around too.