So two weeks ago, I was attending the Gartner Architecture, Development and Integration Summit in Nashville. It was my first Gartner conference and had its ups and downs, but that is not why I'm writing.

Gartner has these gaps in the agenda where only sponsors present. The presentations are usually dry (although I saw some good ones's- specifically BEA's AquaLogic and the Infravio/WebMethods/Software AG sessions), and you have to either attend or wander around the Opryland hotel. Since this was the third day, I chose to sit in on Sun Microsystem's "Futureproof SOA" presentation that Ross Altman was giving.

Ross is the CTO Business Integration Platforms Company and seems like he was up on the marketing speak. His presentation seemed like the least worst so I sat down for an hour to listen.

The part that struck me was how Sun had some new web service, orchestration products that could create new applications with "Near Zero Code"tm (I guess Sun trademarked this so no one else would steal their excellent tag line). The speaker went on and on about all the new wonderful possibilities and specifically this new feature that the "model is self documenting", etc etc. It sounded like the good old days of someone pitching a 5GL.

So I'm wondering about why it's so great not to write code when building applications. It's like some marketing wonks are sitting around talking about how code is so confusing, and if only they created some new xml-driven, supertool the analysts could write the apps directly. I've complained about this a bit here so I shouldn't be too surprised to keep hearing it.

But the alternative to writing code is training your team to use some proprietary tool to crank out reams of nasty, nasty models or xml or whatever. The last time I coded, the latest IDEs did all the grunt work for you. Between IntelliJ, Eclipse and even NetBeans programmers don't really spend a lot of time writing out wrote code.

So, it was especially comical that in a "Futureproofing SOA" presentation, one of Sun's CTOs was advocating extreme model driven development using some tool with minimal exposure, learning new techniques, trying to get analysts thinking logically and most importantly not using the only good thing Sun produces, Java.

In other news, I'm in DC this week working on my FEA certification that the FEAC Institute teaches. So far, I'm in the second week and they've had some really great speakers and teachers. I'll let you know how useful the classes and certification end up.