Few weeks ago I went to attend a WeAreDevelopers conference in Vienna. The venue is just 10 minutes walk time from the place where I live.
I will go through all of the talks I watched with a very brief message before giving my thoughts on the organization of the conference.
Opening. For such a small country as Austria a conference hosting 3500+ developers is a big deal. Chancellor of Austria (most powerful position) took the keyword and, to my disappointment, for the most part spoke in German. I think this would be fine if only this conference wasn’t advertised as an international conference. In any case it is admirable that importance of IT industry is acknowledged by the Austrian government.
Build a World We All Want to Live. This talk was a lot about the future and exponential growth. I’m afraid there not much of takeaway except of a sense of a motivational inspiration.
Challenges of Autonomous Driving. I first heard about Rimac concept car on TopGear TV Show. It was very interesting to hear about the Croatia’s concept car from engineering perspective. What I learned is that there are a lot more of a challenge that has to be addressed than it is advertised by the car makers such as Tesla, Honda, etc.
IoT & Advanced Analytics – Real World Challenges for Developers. Austrian railway company explaining how they use all kinds of detectors on their trains and how their data is analysed. This does not get anywhere close to using IA, though still interesting.
One ID to Rule Them All. This was supposed to be a presentation on identification methods (think passports, ID cards) but somehow the presenter talked about solar panels, exponential growth of technology, and near free energy. Not sure how these two play together, but the title was definitely misleading.
How Different Open Hardware is to Open Software. Interesting talk, but again misleading title. Speaker presented his robotic arm project and how it can be used by people without an arm. Takeaway: these days you can download some code, buy Arduino and 3D-print yourself an arm within hours.
The Early Days of Id Software: Programming Principles. I found zillion of youtube videos with the same title where Romero gives the same talk on different conferences. Best to watch would be this another video here. He goes through the history of Id-software in the talk. Takeaway: John Romero’s Principles for Programmers
Getting Computers to Understand Us. This was a presentation on NLP and AI that started with punchcards.
How to Design Human Centered Chatbots? Takeaway: I didn’t learn how to design chatbots but I understood that chatboat euphoria is on a downtrend.
The Future of Online Money: Creating Secure Payments Globally. This was about PayPal money transactions and security. Takeway: eliminating middleman helps in improving processes.
Less Process, More Guidance. Takeway: The Atlassian Team Playbook.
Extreme Continuous Integration. Automic company presented how they do hundreds of builds of different components for multiple platforms continuously.
Continuous Delivery Journey @ Wirecard. This was more of continuation of CI and CD topic.
Monorepos in the wild. A story of going to one repository. Some pros and cons where presented with a message that monorepo != monoapp.
Rebuilding an Aircraft on the Fly. Yet another story, now about fixing CSS by Trivago company. In my opinion this was just a common sense story.
JS @ Uber. About programming languages & architecture approaches at Uber. Things like NodeJs, Go, Python, and micro-services were mentioned in addition to JS.
The Artist and the Machine. A lightning talk about nice spiral graphs. Takeaway: I bought my daughter a spirograph toy.
Working Backwards from the Customer. Amazon explained how they start developing with a press release. If they don’t like what is written it might not make sense to start doing it. If they like what is written and it sounds cool they add more details, create more technical translation and finally this is converted into development. I believe this was my biggest takeaway from the conference in general. In software projects it happens very often that customer does not get what they want. Starting with customer and being obsessed with the customer is probably something that makes Amazon stand out.
Model-Minded Development. A presenter from Google talked about importance of having a good model between computer and the real world.
Customizing Railways to Individuality. National Austrian railroad company talked about their challenges. They are in business for 178 years and can be considered dinosaurs when it comes to software.
Scaling Open Source Communities. Tips and tricks of handling an open source project were given. A lot of insight into OS software lifecycle.
Angular, Google’s Popular Application Framework. A relatively simple demo of Angular framework was given. Takeaway: Angular will last longer than any other JS framework. Let’s see.
PHP in 2017. This was somewhat hilarious talk by the inventor of PHP. He talked about lots of performance improvements that come with PHP7 and how that can “save the planet”. Takeaway: This blog is self-hosted word-press. I upgraded the PHP version to 7 making my contribution to more sustainable future.
Developers Are Writing the Script for the Future. Definitely the highlight of the conference was a presentation by the creator of StackOverflow Joel Spolsky. This was inspirational talk and a great way to close the conference.
Many people have complained about significant overbooking for the conference. It was very unpleasant to see organizers bragging about 3,8K attendees when there was obviously not enough room for all of them. There are some angry tweets and blog posts online, like this one WeAreDevelopers – A Mess of a Conference. I agree. It was very disappointing to find myself in crowd of people and not being able to switch tracks. Basically, if you decided to switch track you would end up somewhere standing on the side not being able to listed or to see. Second day proved to be much-much better, but who knows, maybe, this is because of some people simply decided that this conference is not worth their time?
In my opinion it was the second day that saved the conference. Better talks were delivered at the second day and more comfortable access to stages, food, and company stands was possible.
In any case, I’m really happy that such a big conference was organized in the city where I live now and that many well-known speakers from well-known companies came to talk. There was a lot to learn. I’m looking forward to #WAD2018.
Disclaimer: I’m white, straight, or better say cissexual, able-bodied, married man and I have a child.
.concat() is new web conference organized by local enthusiasts in Salzburg, Austria. I’ve decided to attend it mainly because it is relatively close to place where I live, it is not expensive and it had few big names.
You can see complete schedule with descriptions here: http://lanyrd.com/2015/concat/schedule/
Next two I listened to were “Tonight We’re Gonna Code Like It’s 1999: Designing Responsive Emails” and “No RSVP Required: Asynchronous Messaging”. First one was just not for me. I never worked with e-mail templates and I wish I never will. All I understood is that e-mail templating is pain. Didn’t grasp anything useful for myself from that talk at all. Second was list a terribly boring university lection I wish I would have skipped for “Credit Card Walks into a Bar” jokes.
Lunch was good. Nothing too special, typical Austrian lunch, but this is a great plus for the conference.
“No More Tools” was all about the tools. Friend who came with me was expecting that this will be about ways to avoid using tools like VS, or avoiding burden of hundreds of JS libs. Instead it was a whole bunch of tools being recommended for all kinds of things. Although most of the tools make sense I don’t understand how this helps to avoid tools.
“Useful Performance Metrics” was actually useful as we have some performance issues in project I’m working on. Takeaway for me was idea of having performance thresholds that are nothing too specific but should make a team pay attention to performance should any threshold be crossed.
I also liked “Containerized Applications with Docker” very much. Docker is really great tool for doing lots of quick virtualization. Plus this was one of very few presentations with live demo. I’m really glad there are people who have stomach to demo live. This is really appreciated.
“The Meaning of Words” was a depressing talk. Or at least presenter advertised it in such a way. Maybe pace in which it was presented was slow and looked like presenter didn’t do any eye contact with the audience. But talk was about a better programming word. And there was some hope in it.
I intentionally mentioned that geek person. I think that introverts, real nerds are having hard time to get better conditions for themselves when it comes to careers and social networking. This leads us to “A Talk About Nothing” which wasn’t about nothing at all. It was about equality and diversity in technology industry. I really liked the way this presentation was delivered. It was a great performance. But I have some disagreements with contents. Lets start with some questions. Are women underrepresented in tech? – Yes. Are women less interested in tech? – I guess, yes. Isn’t it logical that less women work in tech? – Work it out for yourself. I’m of opinion that this is logical. I would honestly like to see more women developers.
I’m of opinion that representation in tech should be proportional and not influenced artificially. Though we should encourage everyone. Should there be more gays and lesbian in tech? Sorry, I use my privilege not to care. I simply don’t want to know if someone is a gay. What does it have to do with tech skills? Should things we do be not discriminating and working well for all people, including disabled. – Of course.
To be honest, I think it is in human nature to care more about self and self-alike than others. Isn’t it how people evolved and survived? I’m convinced that people should tolerate each other and be completely aware of inequality and different minorities and respect them, but I also think that nothing should be taken to any extreme level. In a sense that tolerance has its limits. Would you tolerate a guest who does a mess at your home? Every stick has two ends. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for my daughter being software engineer who lives in a better world where she can travel the world and see no poverty or inequality and where women are equally represented everywhere, but I’m not happy about the world where doing crap to your body or weird behaviour is considered normal.
Unfortunately some feminists will say that I’m just another “wrong” person. That’s why I put that disclaimer at the top so it is clear who wrote this post so in case you are one you can ignore my thoughts.
Overall, conference was very good. I will seriously consider to attend concat 2016 should there be one. I will do better home work on presentations to always be on the right track.
What a silly title for the post. What if everyone wrote about what they are NOT doing?
Well, I write this blog post partially to convince myself that decision on not attending NDC2014 is right and partially to share my thoughts on such aspects of attending conferences as price and return of investment.
I always wanted to visit some big developer’s conference. One of the conferences that I definitely like is NDC (either in Oslo or London). I think it has best mix of technologies that match my interests and at the same time has big names in it.
I wanted to go there for 4 times. First time I just asked my company in Ukraine, but it would be too expensive for them and I don’t know if they ever sent people to such conferences. Second time I asked company here in Austria, but I was new employee to send me somewhere – I didn’t have a chance to prove that I worth it. Third time I just couldn’t do that because my daughter was about to be born. And this summer I’m not going to allow myself to attend it on my own.
Reason is simple – price. I’ve calculated that it would cost me around 2600 Euro (~3600$) to attend it. This includes tickets for the conference and flights, hotel, food and 3 working days. Organizers wouldn’t give me a discount.
Being self-employed makes you really consider such things as conferences from manager’s or company’s perspective. You start to think about return of investment and how to justify conference attendance. Real question is if money spent on conference will benefit you correspondingly.
NDC videos are available online shortly after conference. It is not a secret that what people get from conferences is not content of presentations but possibility to establish relations with gurus who are at the top in the industry. I heard this so many times. One of my old friends said that conference really starts when presentations are over and people get together at lunch or dinner or at party.
Taking this into account it is very hard for me to believe that I could establish good connections at any conference. I’m usually shy, especially when it comes to social events and new connections. I don’t think that I’m only one who has this problem. Probably most of developers to some extend have similar issues. I found some articles on how you can attend conferences as yourself. But point that I’m trying to make is that usually it is company that pays for their employees therefor developers are not that much concerned about the price and of course they are happy to attend. I would also be happy if someone paid for me. Some say that conferences are often just a reward for best developers for being loyal to their companies.
I concluded for myself that from learning perspective I would not gain much from this conference and from networking perspective it doesn’t worth so much money. Of course there is tiny chance that I’m overlooking some big opportunity.
I believe that if I spend just half of those money on small conferences and tools/learning I will get more in return.
This beginner’s guide to attending conferences is quite useful. I think I will use some of the provided hints when I’ll be attending smaller conferences.
One last thing, probably ultimate goal for any attendee of any conference is to grow to the level when you are invited as one of key speakers.
On September 14, 2012 I attended conference for .NET developers here in Vienna, called Professional .NET 2012.
I’m very glad that company has sent me to this conference. Well, it was not any kind of exclusive and expensive conference somewhere abroad, but rather excellent money for value event for employees, who like to improve their professional skills. When I just started I asked about going to Oslo for NDC, which is awesome conference. For new developer it was bit too over budget and I understand it – who knows, maybe in reality I’m crap-code writer, which shall be fired the next morning.
Conference took place in some hotel, and from what I understood, not cheap one. So accordingly it resulted in great tasty lunch. This is always a big plus for any conference. Despite it was called “Professional .NET” I have seen a lot of young people which didn’t seem to have years of experience at all. If I were student I wouldn’t take much out of that day.
Intro and 2 side talks were in German, so I cannot say anything about those, for me it was boring. All other sessions were in English.
Two special presenters were invited and they were core for the conference.
Ayende Rahien just turned all things upside-down. Whatever you learnt from any smart patterns books older than few years is just not acceptable. Everything could be written in very simple manner with depth averaging 4. True or false?
Personally I liked very much the way Ayende presented stuff and how he talked about things and also that he made people think. Even flow of his speech was like some continuing brainstorm. What I didn’t like completely is that he is very concentrated only on one side of the problem, talking like all software is just about reading data from database. Yes, I say something against known Ayende, because I’m sure he shows only one side of the coin. Besides, he likes to blame other people, so why not other people blame him a bit.
If you don’t know Ayende, for sure you have heard about his projects. Oren (his real name) has written Rhino Mocks, RavenDB, NhibernateProfier and contributed to tons of open source projects.
Sebastien Lambla was another special guest. To be honest, I’ve never heard about him before (but I realize now that I read his posts time-to-time). Apparently he has contributed a lot to open source and community, as people, who attended with me knew about him. You maybe heard about OpenWrap or OpenRasta. I just went though this interview with him, to understand more about what he does. Steve Ballmer, you should finally respond him with Microsoft’s vision on open-source!
It was interesting conference, but not a revolution.
#mpdays2011 Не хочу бути занудою але всі ці речі загальні для будь якого типу розробки. Де спицифіка розробки під мобільні платформи. #q
@caxarock #mpdays2011 Scrum це гнучка методологія. :)
#mpdays2011 О! Останній слайд із пляжем мені сподобався.
@UkrDaddy А не по кількості людей? Там цікаво про #wp7? #mpdays2011
Ситуація із кнопкою не того розміру або не там дуже знайома. #mpdays2011
За якоюсь історією мало бути 42 а не 7. #mpdays2011
А нашим клієнтам радять тримати телефон на зарядці в автомобілі поки вони виконують роботу. :) #mpdays2011
Таке враження що на #mpdays2011 одні студенти. А де бородаті дядіньки?
@eGoOki ти мене заплутав. Я #wp7 прийнов на #ios і був певен, що там цікавіше. #mpdays2011 хм…
Хочу побакланити презентацію по restkit. Що за слайди із тууучою коду? І що він там говорить… КАПУТ!#mpdays2011
#mpdays2011 Презентеру влаштували інтерв’ю. Таке враження, що ті хто запитують знають відповіді. Тупо фейл…
Музику врубали, щоб блондинка із першого ряду станцювала. Єуех… Давай! #mpdays2011
Про #cloud і #social цікаво. Принаймні Тарас доповідає впевнено! #mpdays2011
@Alokard #mpdays2011 Якщо доповідач толковий, то твітеряни це помічають. Не було б сміття в ленті.
At #mpdays#2011 I understood that the coolest platform is #wp7 not because of presentations, but because of using actual phone here!
Listening to #iOS UI guidelines. I think #metro in #wp7 is much better. #mpdays2011 (I know ’cause I’m using it & it rocks.)
Нас зомбують 25тим кадром із сіськами :) #mpdays2011
Man called C# a bubble! O_o Java isn’t bubble than? #mpdays2011 Crap is it going to be HTML and JS?