Jessica Kerr

Panel Debate: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back
Keynote: Complexity is Outside the Code

Infrastructure Developer at Stripe

Panel Debate: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel once said that "The only thing we learn from history that we learn nothing from history". While the context and era was different, these wise words can also be applied to the software industry. Why are we repeating the same mistakes done by others decades ago? Why are we reinventing the wheel when tackling problems already researched and solved, and in doing so, reinventing them badly? We are trying to reach nirvana, where programming languages are not only beautiful, but also useful. Compact, easy to maintain and predictable.

But in our quest to do so, we seem to be taking two steps forward and one step back. In this panel debate, representatives from the industry will be discussing and debating with the audience (and language inventors) on the reasons we are in the mess we're in and what we need to do to get out of it.

Keynote: Complexity is Outside the Code

We talk about code review, modularity of our software, smaller pieces of code, refactoring. Forget all that. The real complexity these days is outside the code. Small services are lovely to reason about internally, but they push complexity outward. And systems these days aren't so much written as assembled.

We write some code, our precious business logic, and then all the real work is hooking into everything else.
Databases, web servers, routers, monitoring systems, search tools. Plus the easy stuff like version control, issue trackers, continuous integration. Then there’s deployment.

Every piece both adds and takes away complexity. Every piece (well, of the good ones) is elegant inside but a disaster when we try to implement it without understanding its internal concepts, or when we use it for an unsuited purpose.
 
Join Jess and Dan on a journey through complexity. At the other side we may find simplicity, or we may find the light at the end of the tunnel is just another oncoming enterprise service bus.

 

About Jessica

Jessica Kerr develops infrastructure at Stripe, remotely from St. Louis, Missouri. She podcasts on Greater Than Code, tweets as @jessitron, speaks at conferences about Scala, Ruby, Clojure, Elm and more. Sociotechnical systems fascinate her, as do octopuses, time in distributed systems, and dandelions.

Github: jessitron

Twitter: @jessitron

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