How We Organized the First ICCQ

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First, let me clarify what kind of conference we are talking about. There are two types: professional and academic. The difference is huge. My understanding is that professional conferences are for practitioners, while academic ones are for researchers. ICCQ, which we organized this year, was an academic conference. I haven’t had any expertise in organizing such things, and had to go through it all for the first time. Here is a more or less detailed description of the journey. Feel free to learn from it and make a better conference yourself. We will try to make a better one next year, ICCQ 2022.

Imposters to Win!

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The time of objectivity is fading out. Meritocracy is now a rude word. Metrics in management will soon be considered as harassment. Productivity is already a false objective. It’s time to start taking advantage of this era of nonsense. The era of imposters is coming! Don’t miss the opportunity to become a great one. Here is a quick summary of key techniques to make you highly successful in any argument you may have in your flat democratic organizations of the future without any skills, knowledge, education, or real achievements. Just pure love and emotions.

Dataization

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There are three things in EOLANG (and the 𝜑-calculus which we based it on): data, atoms, and objects. There is a dataization function, which puts all three together in order to make an EO program alive. Here is how it works together with Java, for example.

Greed-Based Planning

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You have an objective, a budget, and a team. You are a manager and you want the project to be done. You get your team together in a meeting room to discuss the plan. You tell them what needs to be done and ask them how fast they can do it. Then, you do the motivational dance and beg ask them to commit. They nod and go back to their cubicles. Of course, after a few months of “hard work” all the milestones are missed and you get back to the planning meeting. And, yes, you pay their salaries anyway.

Put a Number on Your Boss's Emotions

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You got into a company that believes in democratic values, doesn’t measure performance, doesn’t judge, doesn’t control, doesn’t force, and doesn’t blame; however, at the end of the year they tell you that your performance was not as high as expected. Why? “Just work better, my friend, we count on you!” Bad luck, you are in a teal self-managing organization. They’ve already killed the management, but still didn’t dare to kill the managers. They don’t know how to measure, but still have people who are supposed to do it regularly, in order to distribute monetary rewards. What do you do before you quit? Here is a survival recipe.

Self-Managing vs. Manager-Free Organizations

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We are in trouble. On the one hand, most managers are weak and incompetent. Their mistakes destroy our motivation, decrease productivity, and lead to business failures. As a result, many of us believe that managers are evil. On the other hand, there is a new idea that self-managing organizations are the future. Its proponents are trying to convince us that chaos is better than management mistakes. They want us to believe that subordination, hierarchy, control, and order are new bad words to be prohibited in a respectful society. We must stop them!

Abstract Objects

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How do you create objects in your object-oriented language? Let’s take something classic, like C++, Java, or C#. First you define a class, and then you make an instance of it. The first step is known as abstraction, and the second one as instantiation. A similar pair of operations exist in functional programming: declaring a function is abstraction, while calling it with specific arguments is application. The question is: why does OOP need classes and objects, while FP survives with just functions?

Objects Without Methods

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What do you think an object is in OOP? No matter what language you are programming with, you will most probably agree with Bruce Eckel, the author of Thinking in Java, who said that “each object has a state and operations that you can ask it to perform,” or Benjamin Evans, the author of Java in a Nutshell, who claimed that it is “a collection of data fields that hold values and methods that operate on those values.” However, hold on… What if I told you that an object may have no “operations” and still be a perfect “equivalent of the quanta from which the universe is constructed,” as David West suggested in his great book Object Thinking?

Strong Typing without Types

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In 1974, Liskov and Zilles defined a strongly-typed language as one in which “whenever an object is passed from a calling function to a called function, its type must be compatible with the type declared in the called function.” Strong type checking, without doubt, decreases the amount of type errors, which leads to higher quality. However, the question is: do we really need types in order to strongly enforce typing?

The Pain of Daily Reports

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A few days ago I asked my Twitter followers to vote in a simple poll. They did, screaming in comments that only a stupid incompetent manager would ask programmers to send daily reports, while everything they do can easily be tracked in tickets, Git history, and so on. Indeed, why on earth would a sane manager ask software engineers, already very busy with coding, to spend time on writing these ridiculous reporting emails? Let me try to give you a good reason.

New Metric: the Distance of Coupling

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Encapsulation, as you know, is one of the four key principles in object-oriented programming. Encapsulation, according to Grady Booch et al., is “the process of hiding all the secrets of an object that do not contribute to its essential characteristics.” Practically speaking, it’s about those private attributes that we use in Java and C++: they are not visible to the users of our objects, that’s why they can’t be modified or even read. Booch et al. believe that the purpose of encapsulation is “to provide explicit barriers among different abstractions,” which leads to “a clear separation of concerns.” However, does it really work as planned? Do we really have explicit barriers between objects? Let’s see.

Lack of Problem Is the Problem

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Do you know the most typical mistake startup founders make when they pitch their ideas to investors? According to Jake Mendel from Silicon Valley Bank, they often focus on the solution they propose instead of the problem they are trying to solve. Inability to identify the problem is the common cause of startup failures. However, it’s not only them. Look at your project and try to answer “What’s wrong with the world now?” and then “How is this product fixing it?”

Spell Check Your LaTeX Writings Using GNU Aspell

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Do you use LaTeX for your academic and technical writings? You don’t? Well you should! It’s the most only professional instrument for making properly formatted PDF documents. MS Word and Apple Pages are for secretaries non-tech people, while LaTeX is serious. It’s perfect in so many ways, thanks to Donald Knuth (the creator of TeX) and Leslie Lamport (the author of LaTeX), but it lacks one very convenient feature: spell checking. The only solution I’ve found so far, which works perfectly for my documents, is GNU aspell.

Open Source Etiquette

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Here is a short list of common courtesy rules for open source software development. Actually, they apply elsewhere also, but they are most visible when you do GitHub-based coding. I strongly believe that sooner or later all programming will be open source and these rules will apply to everybody. Consequently, it makes sense to start following them now, whether you are an active Apache contributor or a happy owner of the “Java for Dummies” book.

To Measure or Not to Measure

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The question was asked on StackExchange nine years ago (just around the time the site was launched): “If not lines of code, then what is a good metric by which to measure the effectiveness of remote programmers.” The answers, not surprisingly, were all along this line: programmers are not supposed to be measured! I bet those who answered were programmers themselves. Indeed, why would a programmer be interested in being measured and being reduced to a mere number?

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