First London D Users Meeting

A number of months ago, on one of the D programming language mailing lists there was a thread about D users getting together. I suggested that D users in London should get together. Iain Buclaw said that would be an excellent idea. I checked out Meetup as a tool, but then something came up and I never got back to doing anything about getting a London meeting group organized.

A few weeks ago, Kingsley Hendrickse, create the London D Users Meetup group on Meetup, and suggested a "Play with D" meeting for 2015-02-03 and arranged with Skills Matter to allow us use of one of their rooms.

13 people turned up, which was excellent for the first meeting. Kingsley had arranged an agenda, which looked like it might work well, and it did. Everyone gave a brief thumbnail sketch of who they were, their experience of using D, and why they had come to the meeting. Some attenders were "old hands" at D, some were brand new to it and looking to "check it out".

There were a number of people from various areas within the London finance industry: investment banks, hedge funds, etc. Some of the people are using F# and Haskell in preference to Java and C++, but are interested in D as it seems to combine the F#/Haskell approach with the Java/C++ performance. Also, there are C++ (and Fortran) libraries to be used and D handles this better than any of F#, Haskell, Java.

Kingsley then showed his alpha version of a plugin for developing D code using IntelliJ IDEA. It was most impressive. This led to a discussion of tooling for D development with the standard candidated of Vidual-D, DDT, VIM, Emacs all getting mentions. One that wasn't mentioned that should have been was CLion. Of course a plugin that works for IntelliJ IDEA (Mainly JVM focused) should work with CLion (mostly C++ focused).

We then had a shorter than most people desired period of pair working using D. People new to D paired with people who knew D to get a feel for the language by tackling a small dojo type problem – given some data create a "Secret Santa" solution. Judging by the "vibe" at the end of the session everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

Most people then headed for an hostelry, I'm afraid I had to wend my way home.

I am hoping we can turn this into a monthly or bimonthly meeting. There is clearly energy associated with native code languages that are better for programmers than C and C++. The candidates of the moment are Go, Rust, and D. Go, with the backing of Google (*), clearly has traction. Rust will undoutedly create some user energy because it is (relatively) brand new. D has no big corporate backer, and is a 10 year old language. Yet it still has a lot going for it.

(*) And the fact that it has processes and dataflow integrated into the language.

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