Strange Loop was Awesome

Wow… Strange Loop was a most excellent tech conference. It was three days (including the Emerging Languages Camp) of excellent speakers, cool people to talk to, and an overall stellar vibe.

Emerging Languages Camp

The first day of the conference was the Emerging Languages Camp. While I'm a big fan of emerging languages and I'm and author of one, I did not have high expectations about what we were going to hear. Boy was I wrong.

First, the room was huge and packed (standing room only for most of the day). There were hundreds of geeks interested in what kinds of developments were on the horizon in languages.

Alex Payne did a stellar job of recruiting and ordering some of the most interesting creators of some very exciting new languages.

The days started with Jeremy Ashkenas discussing the meta aspects of language creation and the fact that with targets like JavaScript, the JVM, and LLVM, language designers could focus on the language rather than the runtime creation.

Personally, I loved the Roy, Elm, and Rust presentations because there was plenty of awesome design stuff related to Visi that I can borrow.

But virtually every presentation was excellent in style and jam-packed with substance. It was one of the most intense learning days I've had in a while.

The Main Conference

I am an old, jaded conference goer. I've been to hundreds of tech conferences and seen maybe a thousand tech presentations. I tend to like the ~100 person conferences that are focused on one topic. I tend to avoid the "industry" conferences (JavaOne) and the academic conferences.

Strange Loop managed to have the energy of a small conference, the attendance of a medium conference (~1,000), and the best spectrum of presenters I've ever seen.

Presentations ran from the practical (okay… I didn't go to any practical sessions) to the super interesting (Rich Hickey on Datomic and Datomic has become my #1 to-evaluate piece of software this year) to the funny to the super helpful to the Sublime.

I got to learn about the genesis of Light Table and talk a walk on the wild side with expressiveness and abstractions. There was also the ridiculous: implementing the JVM in JavaScript (it was an excellent presentation… just a ridiculous concept.)

On top of it all, there was just an excellent vibe around the conference. Lots of people just talked to each other and learned from each other and did the kinds of things we do to further our knowledge and exchange ideas. Yes, I did get to do the "We're no worthy" thing to Bret Victor (he probably thinks I'm more of a flake than he did before… and he might not be wrong). I met a whole lot of other folks who I only knew online.

All in all, Strange Loop was a super excellent time. A huge thanks to Alex Miller and Alex Payne for putting together such an excellent event.

Rock on guys!