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Whither DDD?

Last Saturday was DDD6. I’ll post some follow up material from my session later. However, last night Daniel Moth asked an interesting question: what is the future of DDD?


First, let me clear up any international confusion. The name DDD comes from Steve Ballmer’s famous mantra, but we soon shorted the mouthful to DDD. No intentional collision with Domain Driven Design. DDD is a UK equivalent of a code camp. Last weekend was out sixth (we have two per year, so we have been going at this for three years), kindly hosted by Microsoft (thanks to Clare Burgess for all the support). The major rules we have are:

  • No Microsoft speakers
  • Open submission of sessions
  • Open voting on sessions to form the agenda
  • Free to enter
  • Multi-track
  • On a weekend

The mantra is by the community, for the community, and one of our key goals has been to encourage the growth of speakers from within the community who can share real-world experience with their peers.

How did it go?

We had 320 attendees, and gave 20 sessions across 4 tracks. Because my session (on LINQ, layered architectures, and n-tier) was on first, I had a good chance to wander around. The feedback I got from people attending was very positive. From an alt.net perspective it is interesting to note that we had a good set of submissions on how to improve practices or expand horizons, such as Dave Verwer on Iron Ruby, Paul Lockwood on Cruise Control.NET, Richard Fennell on Scrum, Mike Hadlow on Inversion of Control, Michael Foord on IronPython and Dynamic Languages in general, and Ben Hall on TDD with MbUnit. Gary Short and I both gave patterns and practices focused talks too. That makes at least seven talks out of 20, which, considering the open process seems pretty healthy. In addition, there is still a real appetite among the delegates for introductory sessions on much of this material; showing new people are becoming involved all the time.

So why questions about the future?

While Code Camps seem to be fairly organic about springing up, we have only just begun to see the emergence of regional DDDs in the form of DeveloperDayScotland. So one question that might be asked is whether the perception that the fact that we sell out of spaces within 24 hours, is not indicative of a demand that is not being satisfied by a central event, and it would be better to let many DDDs spring forth across the country, even if each one was smaller and more localized. It might also stop us falling into the ‘usual faces’ trap for speakers, as only a few would probably be dedicated enough to attend all the DDDs, opening the path for more local speakers to emerge.It would seem that the other way is to up the bar for the central event, and fly in top-name speakers. I’m cautious about this model. While you might construct a cracking event, and it might be on a weekend, and free to attend, it would also lose the ‘promote local talent’ and ‘voices from the coalface’ feel that is, for me, at the heart of DDD.There is a part of me that questions if we should not be more like code camps, publish our manifesto for DDD (my suggestion is an agile manifesto style: We would prefer local speakers to ones from further away set of rules).I know that other members of the committee have raised the idea that we need to meet on the future of DDD. So Craig, Zi, Phil, Guy and I will be sitting down to talk about what happens to DDD. However, it is ultimately the community’s conference, so it would be great to hear what you have to say, especially the usually silent majority, before we sit down.   


About Ian Cooper

Ian Cooper has over 18 years of experience delivering Microsoft platform solutions in government, healthcare, and finance. During that time he has worked for the DTi, Reuters, Sungard, Misys and Beazley delivering everything from bespoke enterpise solutions to 'shrink-wrapped' products to thousands of customers. Ian is a passionate exponent of the benefits of OO and Agile. He is test-infected and contagious. When he is not writing C# code he is also the and founder of the London .NET user group. http://www.dnug.org.uk
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  • Matt Lacey

    I would have loved to have come also. Bit to slow on the uptake.
    I also wanted to come to get ideas and tips as I am thinking about setting up a local user group as all others around involve too much travelling.

    I’d definitely vote for more events spread further afield.

  • Ian Cooper

    Hi Steve,

    I can raise it for you, but generally user groups get started because someone is motivated, and puts on a couple of events. That’s how I started the London .NET User Group back in 2002. Everything really flows from that first step. If you want to give it a try, a lot of people will help you get started. Mail me if you wanted to talk about it more.

  • Steve Garrett

    You can put me in the bracket of somebody who hasn’t managed to yet, but would _love_ to, attend to an event like DDD. I find it tough to do so because of:

    a) the location (and the cost incurred travelling down)
    b) the time-commitment required to book a place (24 hours, thats faster than the boyzone tour sold out)

    I am all for regionalisation and think that it would be incredible step in the right direction, not in the least because it will make the events more accessible, but it also widens the range of venues people can speak at, resulting in better speakers.

    Though, admittedly I’m not a great quite person to answer this question – I’m based in the North West (Liverpool region) and from what I can tell, there is a criminal lack of any kind of .NET community around here (if anyone knows of anything could they let me know), so I’d happily welcome any move that increased the chances I could attend one of these events.

  • Ian Cooper

    Hi Michael,

    Fixed the link.

  • http://www.aristo-samar.com Mariusz Zaleski

    I have attended DDD5 and 6 and I enjoyed it.
    It is true that tickets sell within 24 hr. It tells that the demand for this kind of events is really huge.
    I would be more than happy to have DDD’s in few places within the UK.
    There would be a chance for other speakers, maybe less experienced, but still willing to try.
    What I dont like about DDD is that presentations are too short (60min is never enough).
    Speakers try to cover a lot of material which ends up with very rushed presentations.
    I would want to see a set of presentations about one thing covering a wider spectrum and lasting i.e for few sessions in row.


  • http://blog.colinmackay.net Colin Angus Mackay

    For an event like DDD don’t ship in “top-name” speakers unless they happen to be local. I like the fact that all the speakers are from the UK (and I wouldn’t mind expanding this to Europe as there a lot of good speakers within a 90 minute flight away – You already have speakers that travel 500 miles south to Reading, why not west, east and north also).

    I also really appreciate that the talks are from the “coalface” (or should that be “codeface”) because they aren’t sugar coated with marketing goo. Microsoft produce some great tools (don’t get me wrong) but it is always good to listen to someone who has been there and made the mistakes so you can learn from them.

  • http://www.voidspace.org.uk/python/.weblog/index.shtml Michael Foord

    It was great to finally say hello. I’d love to come to more of the London groups but you keep having them on a Tuesday! Oh – and your link to me actually goes to garyshort’s domain. :-)