ooPSLA Impressions

I was talking to Mary Shaw (CMU) at ICSE this year and she told me she hadn't been to ooPSLA for a long time because debating "the detailed and exact meaning of inheritance" was boring. No kidding. But that debate ended at ooPSLA many, many years ago - probably the year she last attended. When ooPSLA started, it wasn't a given that objects would "win," but now they have, and the OO in ooPSLA is passe. That's why on this website we typeset it "ooPSLA"and by that we also try to highlight that ooPSLA is about programming, programming languages, systems, and applications more so than about their expression in an OO language.

Most ACM conferences are single-minded when it comes to focus; we aren't. We have a Research Track which is like other conferences, and in it we take the same sorts of papers sent to POPL and PLDI. But we have Practition Reports which takes the same sorts of papers sent to JavaOne. And in the Dynamic Languages Symposium we take the same papers as ICFP. In WikiSym, the same papers as WikiMania. Etc. You see where this is going. ooPSLA is about programming - theory and practice. With our workshops and tutorials, we cover methodologies too. If it has something to do with programs and programming - with software and software development - we have it.

Most conferences prefer to present only well-proven research - what some sarcastically call the smallest unit of publication. We don't. Our Research Track is like that and we're proud as can be about it - ooPSLA is one of the most respected publication venues for programming language research. But we also have Onward! where well-argued but otherwise far-forward-looking ideas and work is presented in various forms: long papers, short papers, films, and tool demos.

We have co-located conferences galore.

Yup, that's APL like the old, still revolutionary, programming language. We're serious about liking programming.

Phil Wadler showing us what he's made of

Elisa Baniassad and Robert Biddle @ Onward!

The rest of this page is pictures and quotes we found on the Web about ooPSLA. Check out the pix and comments; or listen to one of the podcasts.

Au revoir.

Tons of other stuff of course. Guy Steele gave an awesome talk about the design of Fortress. Phil Wadler, donning a red cape and a blue lambda shirt, made the point that if we are visited by aliens, they are unlikely to recognize C++, but will surely know lambda calculus. A lot of talk about Ultra Large Scale Systems...

Jonathan Edwards

Something like this always happens

Joe Bergin

One of the great and terrifying things about OOPSLA, for me, is that I find myself unable to remember all the things I now absolutely must learn. This is at once both incredibly exciting, and daunting.

Mark Santaniello

Jutta Eckstein & Friends

William Cook and Guy Steele

That is, OOPSLA has never really been about objects. OOPSLA has been about discovering new ideas about programming. Talking to people here you always sense that they are convinced that there should be a better way to program than we do today. Sometimes there is just a sense of a direction we should explore (the Onward! Track) sometimes it is as concrete as optimizing the control flow of Aspect Oriented Programming in Java VMs.

I regularly visit other conferences but most of the time the attitude is different. Most people go to those conferences to learn a technology. I come to the OOPSLA because they want to discover a technology.

Peter Kriens

Sometimes we don't eat too well (this will be different in Montréal)

Sometimes a little too much

OOPSLA again, lots of conference and all sorts of ideas. It's impossible to do a proper write-up of this conference - there's too much for any one human to attend, let alone take in.

As the conference went on I found myself enjoying it more and more. More than anything OOPSLA is a community, and although advocating OO is old hat, the people in that community move on to plenty of other interesting things. OOPSLA is a chance to catch up on all this stuff.

Martin Fowler

Big Fun

Finally the OOPSLA finished with the traditional one hoists scream social and all we come back a bit toward house wiser.

Fabio Kon
Translation thanks (?!) to Google

Sometimes Very Serious



...a little too much...

OOPSLA is not your typical developer conference. At first sight it can appear utterly disorganized and a little clique-ish. Dick Gabriel even created an unofficial schedule because the official once was nearly impossible to figure out. And the venue was a sixties relic of a "resort" that would be more suitable as make backdrop for a teenage slasher movie than a professional conference. Alas, attendees came from pretty far away and for good reasons.

If I was marketing OOPSLA my slogan would be "If you are too smart to go to JavaOne or TechEd, you should come to OOPSLA!" OOPSLA offers an eclectic mix of tutorials, often taught by leading authors and thought leaders in their respective fields, and presentations from academia that can appear a bit on the intellectual fringe. In combination, though, it makes for an inspiring mix of pragmatic information and intellectual stimulation. Care to learn more about new programming languages and models, such as programming by example? Learn more about dynamic languages? It's all right here, including GoF fellow Ralph Johnson getting box lunches for the panelists....

Gregor Hohpe

It’s been my observation that OOPSLA is a great place to come to get a feel for where software development is going on a 5+ year horizon.

Greg Vaughn

Both JAOO and OOPSLA have a strong reputation on bringing together thought leaders in the software space. These conferences are often the first to highlight new and emerging technologies. These conferences are typically where you will hear about new developments, before they show up in trade magazines.

Magnus Christerson

OOPSLA was great. I got a lot of positive comments and encouragement. It was quite heady to have established researchers, whose work I respect, introduce themselves and tell me that they liked my work. Perhaps a bit too heady: it wasn’t until the last day of the conference that I realized I should be using the opportunity to seek criticism and advice from the masters.

Jonathan Edwards

I've just got back from OOPSLA 2005. It was held in a soulless conference center in San Diego that was, strangely, shared with a couple of quite scary fundamentalist ... groups who publicised their predictions ... in magazines left around the foyer. It was odd to be surrounded by two groups of people who clung zealously to their strange ideas in the face of incomprehension from the general public. But of course there's more to OOPSLA than Smalltalk and Common LISP.

Nat Pryce

Wow - just got an email informing me that I have been accepted to present a practitioners report....

I'm pumped about this for a number of reasons . . .

Peter Bell

Well, OOPSLA was amazing this year! But I'm biased, since I was program chair. I had fun meeting everybody who came from around the world to share the OOPSLA experience. This year had some consolidation and regrouping, but also gave some glimpses of what's to come.

Guy Steele gave a great talk on Fortress, a high-productivity language for the Fortran crowd. It was also a great sequel to his 1998 talk on Growing a Language. And I had fun introducing him.

I also had fun dressing up as Luke Skywalker (complete with OOPSLA badge... hey, I should scan that in) and going to OMSI. I taked with Sam Kamin about my ideas for model-driven programming, but I'm not sure I made a lot of sense. Peri Tarr dressed as Darth Vader. We developed a little skit, but didn't use it. And we decided not to do battle... although now I think we should have. One line from the skit: Luke hears Obi Wan saying "Luke, Use the Fortress"!

William Cook
OOPSLA 2006 Program Chair

Scott Ambler

Gregor Kiczales

Brenda Laurel readying her weapon

Crista Lopes with Elisa Baniassad's baby

Doug Lea lecturing and being lectured to...

Wayne Cool?


I have nothing to declare but my genius

his naked ears were tortured
by the sirens sweetly singing

remembering John Vlissides

Being a computer science student, I knew of him, and I had seen him a few times at OOPSLA. He was conference chair of OOPSLA 2004, and I held a junior committee position that year. I was nervous about working with him; after all, if we can say that CS has rock stars, one of the members of the Gang of Four has to qualify. I was surprised when I found him to be immensely approachable. He gave me enough leeway to run my portion of the conference as I saw fit, and was very careful to ensure that I knew that I had his support in all of my efforts.

Nadyne Mielke

Photos courtesy of Kevin Sullivan, Joe Bergin, and rpg

"Wow, I would not expect a conference on object oriented programming to be so interesting. I will probably attend."

Yannick Gingras

I've done three interviews for the oopsla podcast—every interviewee has used the same word to describe OOPSLA: fun. I just thought that was notable—I do a lot of this sort of thing and that's not generally a word that comes up to describe conferences.

Daniel Steinberg

OK, [this] is going to be a really fun conference. The keynote lineup is unreal amazing. I've got to say that OOPSLA has become by far the most interesting conference for me over the last several years. It is one of the very few remaining places where you can still get that blue sky anything is possible and life is all about interesting technology (rather than immediate practical problems and commercial applications) feeling that was such a great part of computer science when I was young(er).

Martin Rinard
Speaking of ooPSLA 2007