ClojureBridge Germany 2015

05.03.2015 Permalink

Programming languages breed cultures. They do it by means of their advocates who talk about them and differentiate them from other languages. They do it by how members of their communities interact with each other and with the people from the "outside". But I should be more precise: A programming language itself can't do anything. People create cultures, and using a programming language or not is just one type of boundary to make a distinction between "us" and "them".

Learning a programming language and its ecosystem sometimes requires quite a bit of frustration tolerance. The way members of a community interact with each other, the way how welcoming it is to people looking for guidance or people with different ideas makes a great deal of how attractive it is in the long term. But if you add fear of rejection or hostility to the hard work of learning (and sometimes failing), the community scares away even those who could potentially bring substantial contributions.

When I started to learn Clojure I recognized the openess within the community and a strong will to nurture a healthy mode of interaction among people. The other thing I immediatley enjoyed about the community is that its members have -- in summary -- the best ratio of good-vs-crap ideas in software engineering that I experienced in programming so far. In fact, those ideas changed fundamentally how I think about system design.

And then I came across ClojureBridge, a type of event that was new to me. Odds were high that I was missing an important idea, simply because its adoption in the Clojure community usually is a strong sign that it's valuable.

So I tried to understand the deeper purpose of ClojureBridge, I digged into diversity, understood how the lack of it was connected to how racism, sexism, ableism and all these other -isms work, and that such an event is one type of action to keep this insanity from growing further.

By the end of 2014, I played around with the idea of organizing the first ClojureBridge event in Germany, as I could rely on getting full support from my employer, itemis. I was very pleased to find out, that Silvia (innoQ) and Gerrit (codecentric) already had the same idea in their minds, so we formed the organizing team to distribute the work. Both got immediately full support from their companies, too.

However, one important question remained: will there be enough Clojure trainers available that help the attendees succeed in learning the language? And again, a very pleasing surprise: in only a few days we received more commitments than we have hoped for, especially from regional companies engaged in professional Clojure development like bevuta and doctronic, which -- in addition -- will help as sponsors.

So, we now have a date (June 12th to 13th), a building (thanks to codecentric), strong financial backup and the support of the local Clojure community. For all of this, I am very grateful, and I'm looking forward to the workshop in June!