Wednesday, July 1, 2009

On EPIA and hands-on experience

Yesterday, Peter Niblett and myself, the co-authors of the EPIA book, had a meeting with the publisher and editor in order to summarize the review process of the first 1/3 of the book. One of the topics discussed was the ability of readers to have "hands-0n" experience.

As I explained in a previous posting, our approach is to teach our view about what is event processing and not teaching a specific language. We spent much of the review around this issue, the publisher suggested that for the benefits of readers who would like to have hands-on experience while reading the book we should provide a way to do it. What was agreed is that we'll use the use case that accompanies the book - the fast flower delivery --- to be a bridge between the book and the hands on experience. Since we would like to expose the reader to the multiple approaches that exists in the event processing area -- we'll provide the reader several alternatives to experiment, each alternative will be a language from different type -- it will be emphasized that the languages are just representatives, and the book does not endorse any of them in particular.

For each of the languages we shall provide:

  • The fast flower delivery example coded in this language.
  • Link to a site from which the reader will be able to download an implementation of this language (e.g. trial version of the product implementing this language) on which the reader will be able to run the example and experience in using that language.
Of course, this should be available to the readers without payment. In the next few days we shall talk with some of the language owners to select those who will be able to support these requirements.

I don't know how many readers will indeed spend time to take advantage of this option, but since 2 reviewers (out of 14) mentioned their wish to have "hands-on experience", I guess that there is certain segmentof the potential readers who will do.

Actually, I am a big fan of learning by hands on experience, my own experience from my long years as student is that courses in which I had substantial programming assignments are the course in which the knowledge gained in these courses is retained over time. I'll tell about my experience as a teacher on this issue another time. Stay tuned, this is going to be fun !


Hans said...

I think you have taken on a very interesting task here. Hopefully the vendors will provide help!

I do wonder if you will dedicate more time to explaining how to run and use the various software than to describing how to translate the semantic language into the platform language. Again going to the level of the reader, simple tasks like setting up a file of test input events might stump a beginner, unless explained in detail.

Your criteria of availability disqualifies some very interesting EP products, but I guess that is life.

Opher Etzion said...

Hello Hans. I have an experience of teaching an event processing course, at that time I approached some of the vednors and found out that some of them already have a free downloadable versions, about documentation, you are right that we should check if there is a good documentation / tutorial about how to start. You are right that not all vendors can or willing to participate in these games for various reasons. I think that those who'll do are getting exposure, which is why typically vendors agree to provide free software for university courses.



Ed Spencer said...

Hi Opher,

Will one of these languages be JavaScript by any chance? I've been doing a lot of work with event based UIs in JavaScript recently and would be interested in either seeing how you go about it or perhaps offering an implementation of my own...

Opher Etzion said...

Hi Ed. I am interested to know more about your implementation, please send me Email directly.