Ballerina Day 2018: As graceful as the dance itself


Calm down. We’re not going to talk about two people dancing in their tutus. But rather, about WSO2’s cloud-native programming language. Ballerina was officially released last year. But it has actually been in the works for almost 2 years. Just days after WSO2Con Asia 2018, WSO2 organized Ballerina Day 2018 at the Galle Face Hotel. The aim was to raise awareness and promote the language. So here’s what happened.

The father of Ballerina takes the stage

Dr. Sanjiva Weerawarana, founder of WSO2 and Chief Architect behind the programming language kicked things off at Ballerina Day 2018. He began his session by talking about the what and why around Ballerina. He mentioned how ballerina is not really a brand new set of ideas. Rather, its one that has learned from all kinds of programming languages, merging them all smoothly.

We wanted to pick the best and most useful constructs and concepts out of different kinds of paradigms, and marry together, hopefully in a smooth way” – Dr. Sanjiva Weerawarana

Sanjiva continued to brief about quite a few concepts with regards to Ballerina such as parallelism, option types, etc. In the case of parallelism, in most languages, a program usually runs from the main method. The other processes commence afterwards. With Ballerina, multiple processes could be executed at the start itself. On the topic of option types, Sanjiva mentioned how NULL is the billion dollar mistake of the programming world. Ballerina tries to avoid this problem with option types. Hence there are no NULL pointers within the language, to put it simply.

Sanjiva Weerawarana at Ballerina Day 2018
Sanjiva also highlighted the importance of security they’ve placed in the language

Before concluding, Sanjiva mentioned that Ballerina “is not done” and that it’s still evolving. Although it’s a production-ready industrial programming language, according to Sanjiva there’s more to come.

Time to hack!

Once Sanjiva concluded his session, we saw members from the Ballerina team run the participants through different aspects of the Ballerina language. Here, the first 30-minute session was spent guiding the participants through the basics of Ballerina. The next session talked about writing services with Ballerina. This was followed by two more sessions, highlighting aspects such as resiliency, security, and tooling. Once these tutorial sessions ended, then it was a matter of teams hacking away.Ballerina Day 2018

Over the next few hours, the teams got busy with their ballerina experiments. They were given a few suggested solutions that can be built with the language. But the teams were free to tinker with Ballerina however they felt best. After all, this session was mostly about getting hands-on with the language and getting feedback from the programmers.

Ideas are presented: Ballerina Day 2018 comes to a close

Later in the evening, each of the teams presented the applications they’ve built with Ballerina. One of them even included a multiplayer game that utilized web sockets. Once the presentations were done, the organizing team offered their feedback to the participants. With that, Ballerina Day 2018 came to a close.

Now, for those of you curious and yet to try out Ballerina, you can give it a try here. If you’ve already someone who’s tried out Ballerina, do let us know what your thoughts are in the comments below.


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