Today begins the fall session of the Northern Virginia Software Symposium put on by No Fluff Just Stuff (Jay Zimmerman and crew). That means I have to decide which one of the six concurrent sessions to attend in each time slot. That means I have to decide which of five sessions to miss during each time period.

Today has three time slots in the afternoon, followed by an after-dinner keynote by pragprog co-founder Andy Hunt. For the 1:15 p.m. session, I’d like to attend Stuart Halloway’s “Ajax Architecture” session, Brian Goetz’s “Java Performance Myths” session, and Venkat Subramaniam’s “Open Source Tools for Agile Development” session. I’m not a web UI designer, but knowing the browser’s asynchronous JavaScript abilities would help on a current project. We want to add dynamic page updates to an existing web application. The design of the server code I’m working on will be affected by what services the client needs. Brian Goetz’s session promises to show how common Java idioms we use, thinking it helps the Java compiler optimize our code, actually make it harder for the JIT compiler to figure out how to optimize. Venkat Subramaniam will recommend open source tools he finds most useful to develop code and improve its quality. The open source world changes so fast, it would be good to get these tips from the good doctor.

See how hard Jay makes it to decide which session to attend? I’m leaning toward Stuart’s Ajax session just because it’s the area I know the least about. I’d like to know what cool features Ajax libraries Prototype and Scriptaculous provide.

Later in the afternoon, Venkat has sessions on test-driven design for Spring applications and working with rules engines. But these sessions conflict with sessions on how Acegi supports JavaScript for better user authentication interaction, and a session on Jini (the technology whose coolness keeps it alive despite being almost wholly ignored for years). Decisions, decisions.

I plan to blog more this weekend on the sessions I attend and what I learn.