(Brian Marick blogged a couple days ago about the OOPSLA 2006 essays track, and I remembered that I should’ve blogged about last year’s event a few months ago.)
Last year was the inaugural OOPSLA essays track. I was pleased to see it, because I enjoy the kind of papers that OOPSLA used to be famous for. The essays track (as well as the “Onward!” track that has been featured at OOPSLA the past few years) is intended to provide a forum for research that’s a little less “hard” and empirical than the typical modern OOPSLA fare—but no less important.
When I saw the announcement of the essays track last year, I was thrilled, partly because I had done some unpublished work that seemed perfect for the new forum. I wrote up the essay, and was thrilled to have the opportunity to present it at the conference. Brian, the track chair, lined up Kent Beck to respond to my essay during the presentation, which made for a fun discussion.
As it happens, my essay, A Simple Model of Agile Software Processes, -or- Extreme Programming Annealed, was the only essay accepted last year, out of several submissions. I wasn’t privy to the details of the review process, of course, so I don’t know why the other submissions weren’t accepted.
But the track was very well received, and I certainly hope it continues and grows.
I certainly wouldn’t hold my essay up as an exemplar of an OOPSLA essay, but I do hope it might suggest the kind of form that the essays committee is looking for. I hope to see more (and better) examples in this year’s essays track.