The last time I was “North of the Border” was when I was a wee boy of five years. Holidaying in Fife, close to where my grandfather was born, was the only place in Scotland I’d ever visited.

So not only was I overjoyed at having my session, “Rewriting Software is the biggest mistake a software company can make”, being accepted for a second time – and therefore dispelling the idea that the first acceptance at DDD9 was a bit more than a fluke – but I was also over the moon at being given the opportunity to make the journey upto Scotland.

This second run through of the presentation included changes based on feedback from DDD9. There was a new slide on the benefits and opportunities available to a development team as they work through the process and there was also mention of testing and the new build radiators we have installed.

Whilst at DDD Scotland I also managed to catch a couple of sessions myself. The first was from a gentleman I have never had the opportunity to listen to before, Kendall Miller, from Gibraltar Software. His session, “Creating Your Own Software Company: A Survival Guide”, was very good. He is a very confident speaker and I am envious of those User Groups who have him lined up as a speaker whilst he is in the UK.

I took some time to talk to Kendall about the toolset offered by Gibraltar. (For those who didn’t know, Gibraltar is, and I quote, “…like an airplane ‘black-box’ for web apps, desktop apps and services”. The ability to capture so much information about how users move around our apps, specifically when they encounter problems, is especially interesting. We have already integrated our apps with FogBugz and use their error-capture tool, BugzScout, to capture some information but this is nowhere near the amount offered by Gibraltar and it would appear that the two can work in harmony together. I think a test project is required to get a good feel for some of the data that we can get hold of.

There's an advantage to being called Phil Collins. This was just three of those advantages. There were five others! (Photo from @Plip)

The other session I was able to watch was Phil Winstanleys’ (note the spelling!) session, “Making Crap Code Better – Real World Coding Standards”. I have a great deal of respect for Phil. His sessions are always entertaining without exception and he has an awful lot of time for the community. His session raised some very interesting points about how we all regard our own code and whether we consider ourselves to be “good” developers. It also raised a good question about how toolsets affect us as developers. For me there is a golden rule that regardless what tools I use, if I lost them all I should still be able to write code.

For me DDD sessions are all about catching up with people I’ve previously met at other events, forging new friendships with others in the industry, taking a look at what others are doing at the leading edge of software development and listening to others talk about their experiences. It’s the latter subject that I will be basing future talks on, occasionally dipping into technical areas, because if there is one thing I can take away from DDD Scotland it’s that my code isn’t as good as Phil’s.

As ever most events leave us with a specific memory that allow us to remember the event better. I believe last year’s DDD Scotland post-event dinner concluded with Sebastien Lambla setting fire to Phil Winstanleys’ hair. This year we were treated to the birth of the biggest ego ever. @GaryShortsEgo is a twitter profile celebrating the ego of our very own Gary Short, and long may the humour continue. I was told that GaryShortsEgo was going to do a grok talk during DDD Scotland, however once GaryShortsEgo was in the room there was no space for anyone else so no-one saw it. Rumour has it that it was the best grok talk ever, so said GaryShortsEgo.

As a final sign off I’d like to say thank you to the organisers of DDD Scotland for organising the event and a “Hello” to all those I didn’t get a chance to meet. I look forward to next year, and also to the next event, DDD South West, on the 11th of June. I shall be there, and if all goes well I shall be doing my rewrite talk plus a 20/20 “Pecha Kucha” presentation. See you all there.

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