What's ACCU About

The previous post was to let people know about the mechanics of session proposals and their submission. It did not though set out the scope of ACCU conference content – hence this post.

ACCU the organisation (https://accu.org) is a membership organisation of software developers, software engineers, programmers, coders, choose your preferred label for someone that creates software. The members are interested in programming, programming languages, testing, the tools of developing software, the process of developing software, and all related things. The tag line for the organisation is Professionalism in Programming. ACCU produces two journals, CVu and Overload, published every other month.

ACCU the conference is put on by ACCU the organisation, but is open to anyone who wishes to attend, not just members of the organisation. Obviously ACCU the organisation hopes that anyone not a member that attends ACCU the conference joins ACCU the organisation – and there is a stand at the conference for people to do exactly that.

So for content, ACCU the conference is looking for any material that is interesting to people who create software. Historically, ACCU has a lot of C++ and C content, and is proud of that: ACCU is the foremost annual conference for people interested in C++ and C, at least in and around the UK. But it is not just a C++ and C conference, ACCU is about programming in whatever language people are using, with whatever tools and processes people are using: D, Chapel, Java, Kotlin, C#, F#, Groovy, Rust, Go, Python, Ruby, Lisp, to name just a few programming languages about which there have been sessions at ACCU conferences.

The call for session proposals opens tomorrow, if you have an idea for a session do submit it. If you want to chat an idea over with someone before submitting, please email the conference chair conference@accu.org

Proposals for ACCU 2018

Tomorrow (2017-10-16) at, most likely, some time around 09:01+01:00 the call for proposals for ACCU 2018 sessions will open. The call will close at 2017-11-17T23:59+00:00.

The conference comprises:

  • 90 minute sessions, either:

    • 60 minute presentation with 30 minutes questions and answers[1].

    • a workshop[2].

  • 180 minute workshops[3].

  • 20 minute sessions, 15 minute presentation and 5 minutes questions and answers.

There are also lightning talk sessions, but, as ever, these are organised at the conference: this call is for proposals for just the scheduled sessions. This call is though also for the:

  • full day (6 hour with breaks) pre-conference workshops

Although not part of the conference per se, they are separate pay-for things, we manage them as part of the overall event.

There is a "lead presenter deal" for lead presenters of 90 (and 180) minute sessions. This comprises a free conference ticket, two nights accommodation at the conference hotel, remuneration of travel expenses if needed, and a free ticket to the conference dinner. Sadly it is not possible to provide a "presenter deal" for the 20 minute presentations. Lead presenters of the full-day pre-conference workshops get a free conference ticket, two nights accommodation at the conference hotel, reimbursement of travel expenses if needed, and an honorarium.

We anticipate getting submissions from all the usual suspects, and that is good: an ACCU without the usual suspects would be suspect.

However we really want to see lots of sessions from people not in the set of usual suspects as well. If any "not a usual suspect", or indeed any "usual suspect", wants to discuss an idea before making a proposal please email the conference chair conference@accu.org.

1. Some people choose to structure this as 90 minutes of interactive presentation instead of 60 minutes presentation and 30 minutes Q&A, and that is fine – the point is to have interaction and dialogue. A 90 minutes one-way presentation without interaction is not really what we want.
2. A workshop is all about people doing things.
3. For the situation when 90 minutes is just too short for the activity.

Trying Out The New Submission Application

The ACCU 2108 call for session proposals isn’t actually open, but it seems wise to try the software out to try and make it usable, unlike last year. Things are still very much under development, this is alpha or perhaps beta software at this stage in the general scheme of things.

If you fancy doing a source trial feel free to follow the instructions below. If you just want to try things out, I have set up https://cfp.testconference.accu.org as though it were a live call for session proposals. Any comments, criticisms, bug reports, etc. please file issues on GitHub https://github.com/ACCUConf/ACCUConf_Submission_Web_Application/issues

The source for this Web application is at https://github.com/ACCUConf/ACCUConf_Submission_Web_Application please clone the repository in the usual Git/GitHub-ish way. You will need to ensure you have SQLite3 and Python3 installed, and then ensure you have the Python packages in pip_runtime_requirements.txt installed. I do:

pip3 install --user --upgrade -r pip_runtime_requirements.txt

If you want to run the tests (and who doesn’t :-) you will also need the packages in pip_test_requirements.txt.

Running the Python tests:

pytest tests_cfp
pytest tests_cfp__selenium

The tests should be green. Running the JavaScript tests requires NPM with Mocha. If you have those installed then:

npm test

should also be green.

To actually run the application, you have to first create a database:

./cli.sh db_init

to create accuconf.db. Then:


should set the server going. Navigating to localhost:8000 with a browser should get you to the page. The default state should be "closed" so nothing interesting happens. To change the state close the server, and create the file accuconf_config.py with the line:

from models.configuration import CallForProposalsOpen as Config

and then start the server.

For any comments, criticisms, bug reports, etc. please file issues on GitHub https://github.com/ACCUConf/ACCUConf_Submission_Web_Application/issues Pull requests with constructive changes will be most welcome.

Herb's Keynote

When we first asked Herb Sutter to come back to ACCU and do a keynote, he agreed, but wasn’t sure which of many things he would talk about. We ran with a meta-title and some meta-blurb so as to allow for any possibility. A week before he was due to be on stage, Herb emailed us with the title and blurb for his keynote, which by now had been scheduled as the closing event for ACCU 2017. We quickly changed the meta-title and meta-blurb to the real title Thoughts on Metaclasses and associated blurb, which still seemed a bit meta, but quite classy. He also made what seemed at the time a strange request. He was happy for the session to be videoed, but wanted an embargo on publishing for a while.

Anyone who was at the session will, I suspect, agree that is was one of the most exciting session on C++ in ACCU history – the energy of the audience during the session was palpable. This was borne out by the questions going on for a good 80 minutes after the presentation.

Despite lots of requests for immediate publication of the video of this by now world famous ACCU session, the organisers stood firm on their commitment to the embargo. Herb wanted to make a presentation to the full C++ committee before the ACCU video was published; it was important for the ACCU organisers to fulfil their commitment to Herb. The embargo was lifted 2017-07-26 with Herb publishing his blog post about all this. The ACCU video of the session was release a few minutes after the blog post was published and is here. For once in the history of the Internet, the comments are actually worth reading.

The ACCU conference has a You Tube channel Notice the header image is a photo of the opening of Herb’s session.

We look forward to getting Herb, and also Bjarne Stroustrup and Andrew Sutton, back to ACCU, to bring more new C++ things to us. All keynotes are unique, many are very special (as Herb’s ACCU 2017 one was), none are reproducible – nor should we try to reproduce per se. The challenge for the committee and organisers is try and get another keynote that creates the same audience energy. This is an aim, not a meta-aim.

And So Begins The Process To ACCU 2018

The observant may have noticed something of a change in the ACCU conference website. We have decided that #363e6d (aka Dark Midnight Blue) will be the colour for ACCU 2018. The rationale for this will not be revealed now (so as to engender a feeling of suspense) and may, or may not, be revealed sometime in the next 8 months[1].

The website has been rearranged to create a clean slate for ACCU 2018, with ACCU 2017 joining ACCU 2016 in the "Previous ACCU" drop down menu. I expect various changes to happen to the website over the next few months. The source is still a Git repository on GitHub. Investigators of this repository will notice that it is now just the source of the static website generated using Nikola. The Web application for submission and review is being rewritten and is now separated completed from the main website – avoiding many of the problems people had last year. The new "submission Web application" has it’s own repository here. Work has only just started on this Python3/Flask/SQLAlchemy/SQLite-implemented system, but should progress very rapidly. If you want to get involved, please feel free to chip in using the issues, and think about possible pull requests.

Although the conference dates are now fixed (Workshop day 2018-04-10, Conference days 2018-04-11/P4D), the dates of the call for proposals, etc. are just proposals. Unlikely to change, but they may.

If you know anyone who wants to sponsor the conference, get them to contact The Conference Chair in the first instance.

1. With apologies to the late (, very late) Douglas Adams for the allusion to the style of writing in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Thanks For Getting Some Video Links In Place

Huge thanks to Ahto Truu for sending in a pull request updating the ACCU 2017 conference schedule page with links to the videos. Not all have been checked, and not all are there as yet. If you find an error, or a link not yet in place, please feel free to send in a pull request, or at least an email telling us the changes needed.

Thanks again Ahto Truu for getting the "updates after the conference stuff" moving. The pressure is now on us to do the slide PDFs!

Herb's Keynote

The original title and blurb for Herb’s keynote closing ACCU 2017 left room for one of many actual presentations. Herb has now sent in the choice he has made. So the printed materials now have the wrong title and blurb. The selected title is:

which is a link through to the blurb on the website. The website and the Web application have the correct title and blurb even if the printed materials have been overtaken by events.

Some New Sponsors: Riverblade, SNSystems, and Steema

Three new sponsors of ACCU 2017 to note.

The first is Riverblade, a company deeply committed to making software developers' lives better with good development tools. In fact Riverblade signed up as a sponsor a while back, but due to failure on the part of the wetware running this website, their logo was not added to the list of sponsors, and blog entry not posted. This is particularly bad as Riverblade have been a staunch supporter of ACCU conferences for many years. I hope the good folk at Riverblade accept the wetware’s apologies for this error.


The first of our actually newly signed up sponsors is SNSystems. It is great to have this games-oriented company on board. Games may be fun (mostly), but software that implements the games, and perhaps more importantly, the software that implements the tools and frameworks programmers used to write the games software are important bits of software. ACCU members like good software.


Our second new sponsor is Steema. Anyone involved with data is aware that visualisation of that data is a critical part of finding information from that data. Steema contribute to visualisation by making charting software. Expect prizes from them at ACCU 2017.