Eric Evans reports from DDD Exchange

DDDx2009_ParkBench_photo_WendyDevolverLast month in London we held the first conference dedicated to DDD, co-sponsored by Domain Language and Skills Matter, our certified training partner in the UK. (You can link to a page on this site and then link to Skills Matter from there.) We heard about topics ranging from DDD in the Cloud to the successful project that rebuilt the Guardian UK Online (a high-volume, complex online newspaper).

Alberto Brandolini, one of our certified instructors, gave a particularly funny and occasionally hair-raising talk. He drew from his experience in software development for the Italian government to illustrate the value of context mapping, even within some very dysfunctional organizations. His context maps helped explain why frustrating projects were not going anywhere, and how these organizations were unlikely to change their practices in ways that would have resulted in successful outcomes as originally conceived. Alberto illustrated how he and the other team leaders were able to devise strategies that allowed projects to succeed in more modest ways and within the realities of bureaucracies.

One speaker from outside the DDD community, Dan Hayward, demonstrated the use of the Naked Objects (“NO”) platform to improve the collaboration of domain experts and developers during model exploration. NO attempts to use the domain objects directly to control application functionality and power the UI by emphasizing the expressiveness of those domain objects. One could say that NO is aimed at reinforcing the Ubiquitous Language. Dan made the point that rapidly prototyping and changing application behavior is cheaper with NO and this, combined with the directness of the expression of the Ubiquitous Language allows for more experimentation and feedback.

Gojko Adzic, another certified instructor, discussed the usefulness of the Aggregates pattern in addressing some of the knotty problems of distributed systems, including Cloud computing.

After so many interesting presentations, I was surprised that the best was yet to come. The highlight of the day occurred at the end when we had the “Park Bench” discussion. Beer had arrived and the crowd had thinned, which resulted in broad participation and lively debate. One hot topic was how business analysts can be more useful on a DDD project. Then we all shared ideas on how to draw in business experts and how to keep them engaged.