Tuesday, July 18, 2023
Another amazing day in Toronto! Let's talk about what sessions I went to so far.
I started with Patrice Roy's Moving an Existing Project to C++ 20 for Fun, Beauty… and Results!. The first part set up a problem and showed some C++17 code to handle it. I was a little impatient during this part, because it was a lot of code and I would have done some of it differently (because I am doing C++20 which is the point of the talk) but I did notice that it was carefully written to be fast and readable. Then the fun started as things got shorter, simpler, and (proven with some measuring) faster using C++20 goodies.
Next was Ben Deane with Calendrical C++: std::chrono, History, Mathematics and the Computus. This very entertaining talk took a problem few of us really face in code (when is Easter next year?) and used it to show off what chrono can do with dates. Probably my favourite slide was the one to show when Thanksgiving is. When you get to it, you'll see why.
The first break of Day 1 was the "Canada Snacks" -- see the published menu for details. I've never put a blackberry on a Nanaimo bar, but they certainly were delicious.
I enjoyed And Then() Some(T) by Victor Ciura a lot, even though I had to duck out early. If you would say no to "are you using higher order functions today?" this is the talk for you. Because you almost certainly are, and knowing that will make a lot of things easier to understand.
For the last talk of Day 1 I had planned to attend Rud Merriam's A Journey into Ranges, Views, Pipelines, and Currying but some last minute schedule juggling as speakers ran into travel problems put it up against Timur Doumler with C++ and Safety. Safety is a timely topic, so I'll wait for the video to watch Rud's talk. Timur did an interesting review of what the word "safety" even refers to, why governments are starting to have an opinion, and whether C++ can ever be proven safe -- and why you should care.
We wrapped up the day with the conference dinner, a nice mix of old friends and new, speakers and not, and good food. I enjoyed the conversations a lot!
Day 2 started with a keynote from Ben Deane, Optimizing for Change. Some excellent advice in this talk even if I did find the dark background a bit of a challenge on some of the code slides.
I had an online meeting I couldn't miss, so I didn't go to another morning session. After my call I walked over to the St Lawrence Market to get some lunch. I wish more conferences were fully in the towns where they are held, and made it simple for attendees to walk out and experience a little sunshine and access a wider variety of food options.
The afternoon had more tough choices, but I went to Why Good Code is Relative by Daniel Withopf. A good summary of why you can't "just write it the fast way" and some solid code samples about how to actually follow advice like "avoid heap allocations."
Then I went to Get() into Retroactive Static Reflection by Vincent Tourangeau. This was a slideless talk, bopping around in a lot of surprisingly-readable code that showed how to get properties, introspection, and a lot of other things you think C++ doesn't have -- and all with C++11. I know I'll be watching the video when it's out because there were a few moments where I wanted to rewind and see something again!
For my last session of Day 2 I went to Writing C++ to Be Read by Vincent Zalzal. I really enjoyed this talk! It's the sort of talk I would give, but Vincent included a number of excellent points I had not made or heard before. He also had fantastic slides, with highlights to point out the parts he wanted to draw attention to, and good examples.
That left the Lightning Talks. Wow, these were so good! As always, some were funny, some showed something we needed to learn, and some were highly personal. I've seen a lot of lightning talks and I always get a lot from them. But I don't remember lightning talks from student volunteers and members of the organizing committee anywhere else. Worth staying up for!
Next, one more day!
Monday, July 17, 2023
So great that the second year of CppNorth has really happened, and started so darn well, too!
We started planning year two even before year one had happened, with a "next year" folder, and never really stopped. If you thought it was challenging to plan and host a conference with a pandemic still underway, that's nothing compared to doing the same thing during -- what are we calling it? -- an "economic downturn"? Getting attendees and sponsors took a lot of work, and luckily a pile of people who aren't me did that work.
Me, I showed up on Day 1 and did a keynote. I really enjoyed it, too. I'll post again when the video is up ... if you're an attendee you should be able to get the slides any time now.
This is 90 minutes of "stuff I've learned" like "Take Notes in Meetings" and "Always Take a Moment to Check" (aka Shift Left but for people) and the like. Many people told me it was helpful, which is very reassuring.
Saturday, July 15, 2023
I had a lot on my plate when the MVP renewals appeared July 6th, but I'm delighted to number myself among this illustrious group again. I'm never worried that I haven't done enough for the C++ community, but I do sometimes worry if the C++ community is the target audience for the program any more. Still, I suppose it must be, since they renewed me.
I updated my profile on the MVP site a little.
Saturday, June 17, 2023
From time to time I think it's wise to summarize the courses I have on Pluralsight. There is a link on the side you can use to get a free trial if you want to take any of these. Because I redo most of the courses each time a new version of C++ becomes widespread, there are quite a few courses with similar names. Here's a quick summary.
If you are using the latest version of a major compiler, you are on C++20. These courses have been updated for C++20:
- C++ 20: The Big Picture This is an overview covering "what is C++?" and "what is it used for?". If someone has suggested you learn it, start here to understand why you might want to. The title means that it's up to date to C++20, not that it only covers C++20. The actual content is equally applicable to older versions of the language.
- C++20 Fundamentals is more properly "the fundamentals of C++ including things that were introduced in C++20". This is an introduction to the ideas, syntax, and standard library. At seven and a half hours it can't cover absolutely every corner of the language, but it does cover what you need to call yourself a C++ programmer, and get started writing real code. This course assumes you already know how to program. If you don't, try Learn to Program with C++ 17 which will cover the building blocks of programming languages like loops, functions, and objects while teaching the C++ syntax and library. Afterwards, you can take Fundamentals to fill in any gaps.
- C++20 Algorithms Playbook again covers up to and including C++20, so plenty of things that have been around for decades, but it does have a lot of content that is C++20 only, because ranges made such a big difference here. If you're not on C++20 yet, take the C++17 version, listed below. Both versions are designed to convince you to stop writing raw loops and start using the many useful functions provided in the standard library. I demystify iterators and show you the benefits of using library code instead of rolling your own.
If you're not on C++20 and are wondering if you should be, try What's New in C++20.
It will show you what you have to gain by updating to the latest version of your compiler (and how to try things out if your compiler doesn't support something yet.)
If you're on an older version and can't move, you should still use the latest iteration of Fundamentals. There's very little C++20 only material in there, and it's all signposted, so you can just move past that part if you need to. For the algorithms course, Beautiful C++ 14: STL Algorithms
is the older version that doesn't have all the ranges additions.
Some of my courses are really not version specific, but apply to particular kinds of work you might need to do.
I plan to update everything for C++23 when the compilers have support for the new features. There are a few things coming I'm really looking forward to!
Friday, June 16, 2023
Time for an update on the conferences I'm doing in 2023.
In April I did the closing keynote at ACCU, Grinding, Farming, and Alliances
How words and ideas from casual gaming can make you a better programmer. My idea here is that certain things you are fine with in games, like "daily housekeeping", don't feel the same in your job. If you could feel better about them, you might be happier or more successful. Also, games pull on strengths like altruism and responsibility to get you to do things -- can your job do the same? Can your harness that to be more successful (however you define success) or happier at work? This talk was recorded and I expect it on the ACCU Youtube channel some time in June.
Next up will be "my own" conference, which is to say the one dearest to me as well as geographically nearest, CppNorth. There's still time to register for this: it will be in Toronto at the King Edward Hotel. July 17th and 18th are preconference workshops, and the 19th, 20th, and 21st are three jam packed days of sessions with evening activities Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. If you live in and around Toronto this is your chance to see famous speakers (and discover some new ones) without having to fly a long way. I recommend you get a hotel room though, so you can truly immerse yourself in the conference while you're attending. My keynote is Steps To Wisdom: some tips I want to share with you that I earned through hard experience.
In September I'll be returning to NDC Techtown, this time to deliver the closing keynote on Day 1. These days I choose conferences based on many factors and small friendly ones like CppNorth and NDC Techtown really appeal to me. Both attract very good speakers and I expect to learn things -- I know I did last year!
In November I'll be doing something I haven't done before -- I recommend doing something new at least once a year no matter how old you get. In this case it's Qt World Summit in Berlin, where I will have a small keynote. I look forward to new people and new ideas from this experience, and hope to reach some people who haven't heard me speak before.
It's not too soon to think about the 2024 season, for me anyway. If you'd like me to speak at your conference, you can see many of my previous talks on my YouTube playlist. Please check my Speaker Kit for the details of my preferences.
See you at a conference, I hope!
Wednesday, August 03, 2022
I've been working away for the last few months completely overhauling my C++ Fundamentals course at Pluralsight. Of course I updated everything for C++20, but I also added a module on error handling options, tweaked most demos, and lightened the overall look and feel. I'm really happy with how it turned out.
Here's the table of contents:
Leaving pointers almost till the end may seem like a shock, but this is how I teach C++ these days and it really works well.
As always, if you need a trial code, look for the image in the sidebar here to get a free trial and give it a whirl! I had a great time writing and recording it and hope you enjoy watching it.
Friday, February 25, 2022
Maybe you hadn't heard? There's going to be a C++ conference in Toronto this summer. It's very exciting! I'm helping to arrange it. We've got a great venue (the King Edward) and are busy building a program right now that includes breakouts, workshops on concurrency, generic programming, and game development, plus entertainment in the evenings and plenty of special extras. I want to see Canadian C++ programmers well represented, and hope we attract people from further afield as well. Toronto in the summer is warm, fun, and light well into the evening.
Right now, the early bird price of $925 is in effect. After we announce the full program in April, the regular price will be $1250. So you can save a lot of money if you trust us to put together a great conference program for you (and we will!). You'll save enough to be able to pay for the speaker dinner, a conference Tshirt, and so on. And you'll let us know that we'll get the attendees we need to put on a great show.
Registering early helps us do things like make deposit payments to our vendors. We don't have a surplus-from-last-year, because this is our first year. So support from the community will really help. Why not check your schedule for the third full week of July (the conference is the 17th to 20th, and there are two-day workshops over the weekend of the 15th/16th) and arrange now to join us?
Monday, February 21, 2022
I have missed conferences for a long time now. I did a few online talks, but it's not the same, not at all. This year, ACCU are holding their conference as a hybrid event. This means while many will gather in Bristol for all the networking, friendship, serendipity, and other benefits of being in person, others will join us online. I think that is great: for many people traveling to a conference is not an option -- for reasons of money, physical limitations, visa restrictions, and so on -- and being able to attend online is terrific for anyone who can't travel to the conference. For me, it feels safe now to travel. I have traveled twice during the pandemic: to Singapore in Feb 2020, when it was underway but hadn't really reached Canada yet, and to Singapore again in Nov 2020 for urgent family business, complete with two 14 day quarantines and multiple tests. I'll be taking all possible precautions, and I think it's going to be safe.
The schedule has
been published and my talk will be Friday afternoon. I've booked my
plane tickets and hotel room, and am starting to build out the list of
talks I plan to attend and people I want to meet. By the way, Guy
Davidson will also be there (doing a keynote, in fact) so if you're
hoping to get your copy of Beautiful C++ signed, that's a good opportunity! I think there will probably be a table for #include <C++> but even if there isn't, watch our for our shirts and say hi!
I'm going to talk on Abstraction Patterns: things I've learned to spot in code that show a missing abstraction. Unlike the sort of "business objects" that you design at the start of a greenfields project or a major expansion, you don't need deep business knowledge and a long meeting with a business analyst to design these: the code will show you what to do. Come and see what I've found and if it can help you.
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