Norwegian government open sources travel expense project

The norwegian department of renewal and administration has released an open source solution for managing travel expenses (english translation). This is an interesting event and I hope and think that it is a practice that will be followed in the future.

No doubt, I think it is a terrifying experience for most developers to have to publicly publish their code in such a high profile project. And surely it didn’t take long before someone was picking it apart on Twitter, but that’s just part of learning. Quality review is now free, focus on that. πŸ™‚

What is important now is that this is handled as a living product where feedback is included and others get to contribute. And you will need an active core of developers, so the people that did develop it needs to be kept on payroll for a good while to actively improve the product. Over time more developers will hopefully contribute, but in the beginning the core group is extremely important.

I can’t wait to see more projects like this. It will increase reuse and savings in the public sector, and it will put the code out there for everyone to see and contribute. In the case of consultants beeing hired to develop software for the public sector, they can no longer say that a project was successful because it delivered according to contract. They will also need to deliver quality. The code and system will be out there for everyone to scruitinize. Let’s hope more and more projects get open sourced like this.


JavaZone 2008 is over

So JavaZone 2008 is over. Had a blast, and saw lots of cool stuff. It was a bit crowded some times, and a bit too many talks was full, but all in all good. Just a short summary for on the good stuff:

  • Heidi Arnesen Austlid on Open Source in the public sector – The government in Norway has a strong preference for Open Source. The motivation for this is to reduce costs, enable exchange of information through open standards and take back control of their it-systems.
  • Rickard Γ–berg on Qi4J – A good introduction to the component oriented stuff Qi4J is built upon. Everything i compiled by the Java compiler, and everything is refactorable. Really nice stuff, that will be extremely interesting once it matures.
  • Mary Poppendieck on the Double Paradox of Lean Software Development – Mary is always interesting. Utilisation is not the thing to strive for, throughput is. In fact if you maximise utilisation for the expected you have no capacity to handle the unexpected and performance will suffer severely when the unexpected occurs.
  • Robert C. Martin on functions for Clean Code – Uncle Bob is also one of those really good speakers that are always entertaining. A good talk on the basics of function design and how to make this readable and maintainable. Most of us has a lot to learn about pretty basic things, and that a lot of this basic training in good programming (often good OO) is ignored in our education.

Reviewing the program I now see that I have missed more good talks than I really wanted. A mix of bad planning, beer and walking around meeting people will have to take the blame. πŸ˜‰ I hope they publish most talks as videos later on.

Great conference, see you next year. πŸ™‚