For OOPSLA 2008, one of the goals of the conference is to re-think how industry should be involved with presenting content at the conference. Historically, the venues which have the highest industry involvement are practitioner reports and panels. As Development Co-Chair, I've been thinking about this question.
Lately, I’ve been focusing on the progression of an idea at OOPSLA. I don't think that we've done the best job at taking ideas from our research track and nurturing them in such a way that we see how it works when it makes it out into more widespread use in the industry.
One possible way for an idea to progress at OOPSLA is:
This isn't the only way that an idea could progress, of course. There doesn't have to be a poster, or you could add in a demo at some point in here. Or maybe it should continue on through a tutorial or workshop. And not all ideas should follow this kind of progression; their work ends up in use in other contexts. For example, I’m not sure that a paper about garbage collection would end up in there (well, unless the Xcode team wanted to submit a practitioner report that talks about adding garbage collection). Just as all research papers probably won’t end up in a development paper in the future, not all practitioner reports (or other submissions from industry) will start off from a research paper. I think that this is fine — there is room for expansion, room for growth.
My goal is to better provide a natural progression from research to industry. OOPSLA as a conference is uniquely positioned to provide that kind of natural progression.
Here are my random thoughts:
Posters work best for students who want to get practice presenting their idea before they move onto a paper. More experienced researchers tend to skip this step, although I think I mentioned my LCD idea to you in Montreal...
Onward! papers could substitute for early presentation of a radical idea with only some implementation. Onward! videos could be used to present design walk through of some kind of vision, especially if one has the budget and talent to play around with the video format.
Demos, workshops, and tutorials are all good. Workshops tend to be more academic special interest groups. Maybe we should play around with industry-oriented special interest groups? It would be nice to see more tutorials at OOPSLA on cutting edge technologies (e.g., WPF, developer/designer co-design with XAML).
Research papers are very academic and even the industry papers mainly come from research labs. I've been shying away from research papers personally given so many other cooler ways of presenting research in OOPSLA (e.g., Onward!). IMHO the research paper format needs to be rethought in both OOPSLA and ECOOP.