For some 11 years now, I’ve been going to Sardinia during the Summer, and often the winter as well. Cagliari (CAL-yar-ee) is my wife’s home town, where my daughters’ grandparents live, and the island’s main city (you may remember the name from Italia ’90 when Ireland drew with England in the city’s football stadium). Since the start I’ve seen parallels with Ireland: Island economy, reknowned for hospitality, educated workforce, fantastic weather and beaches (hang on…). Over those years I’ve heard more and more about [tag]Sardinia[/tag]’s growing Informatics industry, but I had never seen anything with my own two eyes. Until now.
This year, I did a little research so that before I even reached Cagliari, I had made some new friends online. I contacted, amongst others, Massimiliano Dessì from Jug Sardegna who kindly invited me to present to a meeting of [tag]JUG Sardegna[/tag]. (Note that these guys were winners this year of the Duke’s Choice award at [tag]JavaOne[/tag].) The topic I was asked to present was pretty much the same as that which Yagiz and I presented at [tag]SpringOne[/tag] last month. The event took place on Thursday, the 19th of July at the University of Cagliari’s Faculty of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, where the audience was subjected to the twin tortures of furnace-like conditions and an Irishman speaking Italian. An assault on the senses. Despite all this, I was made to feel very welcome indeed and I found the experience very rewarding.
About 70% of those present had no experience with Spring (or else it was too hot for many to put their arms up), so it is commendable indeed that so many turned up – it demonstrated a willingness to learn about new things, and perhaps is yet another indication of the increasing popularity of [tag]Spring[/tag] itself.
After the event I was introduced to Prof. Michele Marchesi, co-author of Extreme Programming Examined and [tag]Extreme Programming[/tag] Perspectives – two volumes from the very successful Addison-Wesley XP Series. We shared a short conversation during which time Prof. Marchesi pointed out that the first ever international conference on XP was held right here in Cagliari in 2000 (the word Agile slipped into common usage a year later after the [tag]Agile Manifesto[/tag] was unveiled in Utah).
Sardinia is an autonomous region with its own elected regional government. The head of that government is a man called Renato Soru. You’ve probably never heard of him but you may have heard of his creation [tag]Tiscali[/tag] – a serious force in the European Telco market. It’s no surprise then to find out that Sardinia is beginning to flex its IT muscle and is getting plenty of help from the state in doing so. One of the long-standing projects in the region is a Science and Tecnology Park on the outskirts of Cagliari called Polaris, a cathedral in the desert which houses a number of ICT and Biomed companies.
Maybe it’s because after years of seeing nothing the island’s technical prowess is hitting me all at once, but the quality and energy of fellow developers and IT folks I’ve met here give me a feeling that Sardinia is a place to watch.