JCrete Takeaways

As you may know, I was at JCrete last week. JCrete is something a bit unusual, an "unconference" in which you can share your expertise and tap into that of others considered to be experts in one or more areas of the Java ecosystem. It's rife with Java champions, published authors, major OSS contributors, and in many cases, all three in one package. One has to be invited to attend, which tends to keep quality and intimacy high; and owing to the less-structured nature of an unconference, great dollops of knowledge are doled out with such frequency it feels like you're both feeding into and drinking from the firehose every waking moment...which is beyond impressive. Perhaps "awe-inspiring" is a more apt description.

I actively participated in several sessions and took in several more. I added plans and ideas to my "to do" list, but like many life experiences, the greatest Eureka! came from an entirely unexpected quadrant. As a result of some eye-opening discussions, I've re-tooled my workflow, making it simpler and more streamlined...and already much more productive.

Regardless of good intentions, all processes and activities take on a bit of cruft over time, just as code does when it's maintained and extended. Small add ons and modifications are often harmless initially (or at least of limited impact), but effects are cumulative. We call this technical debt in systems, but workflows experience similar degradation unless periodically refactored. If you haven't done this recently, I can't encourage it enough.

Many thanks to Heinz Kabutz and Kirk Pepperdine for inviting me, and tremendous thanks to all who made JCrete what it was (and is)!