Onward! is a conference focused on new ideas, new paradigms, and new problems related to programming — "programming" pointing both to the tools and languages of programming, as well as to the processes and social nature of producing software.
Onward! wants to be more radical, more open to not so well proven but well argued ideas, more welcoming of different ways of thinking about, approaching, and reporting on programming language research—if I may be permitted to anthropomorphize for minute.
HistoryIn 2002, Onward! was created as a special track within OOPSLA to be a venue for bigger ideas than normally are accepted by mainstream computer science conferences, but within the scope of OOPSLA’s focus. "Bigger ideas" included new approaches to programming, software, and software development; new paradigms; and even new ways to present ideas.
Beginning in 2003, Onward! papers were included in the OOPSLA proceedings, and in 2005, Essays and films were added to Onward!. As the track grew, it became clear that there was a need for Onward! in a larger context than object-oriented programming, and this year (in 2009) Onward! spun off from OOPSLA to become a stand-alone conference focusing more broadly on software and programming in all their manifestations, and including not just the pure technology but also processes, methods, and philosophy.
This year and at least in 2010, Onward! will be co-located with OOPSLA, but in the future, the sky’s the limit.