C++Now 2014 trip report
published at 22.05.2014 19:08 by Jens Weller
Like in the past 2 years, I've been traveling to C++Now in 2014. This years conference started a little different from the past years, but offered then again a lot of high quality C++ content. What makes this conference so great is the talks and conversations over a week. Also with 150 its the right size for this location to meet with most people. Also its now two years, that the idea for the Meeting C++ conference was born in Aspen.
Tips for attending
I'd like to start this trip report with a few tips for future visitors of C++Now. First, please remind yourself that you are in the Rocky Mountains, Aspen has quite a high altitude, which usually means cold nights and dry air. The days can be very beautiful and sunny. This years conference started with snow, so if you have a longer travel, arriving a day or two early to get rid of jetlag and used to the height is good. Also you should bring good shoes, the conference is also a lot of walking.
This years C++Now
So, as I mentioned this years conference in Aspen started with a little bit of snow. Not so much in Aspen, but much more on the way to aspen, in the surrounding Mountains and in Denver. So some people missed their flights on Saturday and Sunday. I was lucky, to already arrive on Friday evening, but my flight already needed to take a second try on landing in Aspen due to too strong tailwinds. I would have gotten stuck in Denver too probably if the second landing wouldn't have worked, as the pilot announced to not have enough fuel for a third try.
But most of the snow was already gone on Tuesday evening, and didn't really have an negative impact on the conference it self (except getting there).
This year there were only 2 keynotes, which meant also 3 more talks! Most talks at C++Now are 90 minutes, a few 45. So quite some time to go indepth, and have a discussion. I've went to a lot of talks, a short overview of my favorites: The first keynote was interesting, but also a little academic. C++14 through the looking Glas not only provided an overview on C++14, but also an outlook into C++17 and beyond. Chandler Carruth gave a good talk on value semantics and range algorithms, or more what you could do with them. The talk about a boost any based configuration framework showed some inside on how to actually make practically use of boost in the real world. I'd like to have more people having the courage to talk about what they do and build with boost.
Both keynotes of last years Meeting C++ were also given as normal talks at C++Now, and were received very well. Erics talk "C++11 Library Design" was very packed, and a very vivid discussion on the ideas of library design happend through out the talk. Tonys talk had a very description (a haiku), and most people thought it was only UI related, which he only focused some part of his talk. So if you want to see his awesome drawings or know what art has in common with programming, you should watch the recording. Also on Thursday there was the second keynote, "Beware of C++". Which was quite entertaining and showed a few interesting conflicts with in the standard. Nicolai Josuttis showed that there is a certain need for guidelines in the standard.
On Friday afternoon my own talk 0xBADCODE was on the schedule, which was received very well. A comment on twitter even claims its the very talk you should share with your coworkers. I'm hoping to give a similar session at CppCon. I've also attended on Friday the session on how to build refactoring tools with clang and the last talk on friday about boost.MSM and the asynchronous library gave a first sneak peak at Meeting C++. Christophe Henry has written a very cool library providing task based parallelism for boost, he will talk about this later this year in Berlin at Meeting C++!
Saturday started with a nice overview on accelerator programming and the available libraries for this, followed by a short talk on how we could do things differently in C++, if we had a good graphdata base. Which is exactly what Niall Douglas proposed in his talk: a graphdatabase for boost, and building up on this a new way to execute C++ in a far future.
The evening sessions had a nice gem this year: the boost library incubator. This is IMHO really needed, the process on how to get your library into boost is currently not really up to the challenge, so having a central platform for uploading your library is a good first step. In this way libraries can mature a little more before the actual review begins, in my opinion its much more important to have a actual user base which can provide feedback to a library then just a few reviews. The Grill the committee session was also very informative, but as C++14 is out of the door wasn't has good as in the last two years IMHO. The planning session for next years conference gave he chance to join the program committee and featured also a nice discussion on CppCon. The dates for next years C++Now are 11 - 16 May.
All talks have been recorded and should be published with in a few weeks on the youtube channel of C++Now. I'm looking forward to see some of the talks I missed, my favorites of those I couldn't attend:
- the canonical class
- Unicode in C++
- Value semantics - it ain't about the syntax
- most talks on functional programming
I also recorded a video interview with Michael Wong, which is going to be published on my youtube channel in June.