DevDay 2015

September has come and as usual at this time of the year I went to Krakow (Poland), to attend DevDay. Since the last year, the conference changed a bit - it’s not a free one anymore (but the cost is very reasonable) and it takes two days now. Expect that changes everything else is the same - great sessions with superior service around them (lots of good food, free drinks, helpful crew).

During those two days, I’ve attended 14 sessions about various subject. I will shortly write my feelings about each of them.

Day one

“The Passionate Programmer: 10 years later” by Chad Fowler

There is a good chance, that you’ve heard about Chad Fowler. If not, then I will only say that he is the author of “The Passionate Programmer” book (and many others) and currently works as CTO in a company (bought by Microsoft recently) that created Wunderlist app. This short introduction should be a good taste of the quality of the speech he gave. In 45 minutes talk he told a story about his career and what other can learn from it. After the talk I was motivated and full of the energy to do more as a developer. Definitely one of the best session I saw during this year DevDay.

“The T in TDD: Tests, Types, Tales” by Mathias Brandewinder

I’m not in the “F#” business, but still I enjoy hearing about it (still my choice for the functional language is Clojure as I have a love affair with the lisp syntax). Mathias showed how you can use rich type system of F# to simplify your code (in comparison to C#). This wasn’t anything new for me, but if you looking for some introduction to F# then you probably enjoy it.

“Introduction to Aurelia” by Scott Allen

I went to this presentation, because I wanted to see Scott Allen (a blog writer, podcaster, screencasts creator) in “action”. He talked about JavaScript framework called Aurelia. As interesting this framework looks I’m not a fan of it. I prefer simpler and more declarative solutions (like Backbone or React). If I ignore the subject and focus only on the way Scott presented it, I can definitely say he is a good speaker.

“The Wonderful World That Is Twitter Bootstrap” by Shay Friedman

I went to this talk, because I thought that I learn something new (and tricky) about Twitter Bootstrap css framework. Unfortunately this was beginner friendly talk, that describes every element of the framework. For me this wasn’t anything new and after 30 minutes I went out of the room. If you haven’t use it and want to hear overview of main features, then this talk is for you.

“Rethinking NoSQL: Four and a Half Reasons Why RethinkDB Is Worth a Look” by Rob Conery

I admire Rob Conery for his work as a programmer, speaker and screencast creator (IMHO TekPub was the best screencast site ever made ;)). When I heard that he will be on DevDay I knew that I want to be there. The subject he presented was about RethinkDB, which isn’t surprising if you read his blog. He made an overview of the main features of this NoSql database with its advantages and drawbacks. The way he presented this topic is amazing - very focused on subject, but with enthusiasm and fun in the voice, with good knowledge about things he talk. For sure one of the best speaker I’ve ever saw.

“Roslyn and .NET Code Gems” by Scott Allen

The subject of this talk can be a bit misguiding. At first I thought that this will be about Roslyn compiler and how you can use it to extend the C# language. In fact this was about the code optimizations used by people writing Roslyn compiler (you can look at the source code here). Quite interesting things you can find in this code ;)

“Heretics, High Priests, and Hagiolatry” by Will Evans

The title of this speech was very promising. I thought this could be another great, motivating, talk. Will Evans started very good, with some interesting quotes. Unfortunately the farther he was in his talk, the more blur the subject was. I couldn’t find one, single, idea he wanted to convey. After the talk I’ve spoken with other people who had similar feelings. Maybe it’s because this talk was more about people management then about technical subjects.

Day two

“Quo vadis, JavaScript?” by Chris Heilmann

I’ve seen Chris Heilmann presentation (on similar, but not identical subject) before on WrocSharp 2015, so I knew he is a good speaker. I wasn’t disappointed. In his speech he summarized state of the JavaScript as it’s defined in ECMAScript 6 and how we can use those features now. It was good start of the second day of the conference.

“The Twelve Factor App Methodology” by James Hughes

On a daily basis I don’t work with Software as a service, so for me the twelve factor app methodology was something new. The idea is quite interesting and it’s good to know about it. From my side I give a plus for a subject. The only objection I have is about the monotonous way of presenting it.

“Hacking F# on Systems, Not Windows” by Adron Hall

A very brief presentation about using F# on operating systems other then Windows (which means OSX and Linux). Author showed how you can use Visual Studio Code or Atom to work with F# on those system. It was quite interesting, but from my point of view it lacked two things. First there was almost no info, how you can install F# on OSX or Linux platform, second it would be nice to see usage of Vim or Emacs. Still it’s worth watching.

“Walkthrough of a European Space Agency Data Science Project” by Gary Short

Image a task, where you need to figure out health of the crops base on the satellite images. Sounds fascinating? I think so too… Gery Short worked for European Space Agency to solve this problem. In this session he told us how he achieved this and what results he got. I hope that this few sentences convinced you to see this session, I highly recommend it!

“From Homogeneous Monolith to Radically Heterogeneous Microservices: The Wunderlist 3 Story” by Chad Fowler

Another great speech by Chad Fowler. This time more technical one. He told us a story about switching from a monolith Rails application to a set of loosely coupled services written in many, different, languages. Everything base on his big refactor of Wunderlist application. A must-see!

“Document Storage Techniques with PostgreSQL and JSONB” by Rob Conery

In short: another great talk by Rob Conery. This time about how you can have fully featured, ACID compliant database that allows you working with JSON documents (a NoSQL databases thing). The title should point you to the database name - “it’s PostgreSQL” :D

“Metaphors We Code” by Nat Pryce

This was the last, more soft, presentation. It treats about the role of the metaphor in communication between people. How good or bad metaphor can influence on code we write. This thing is important when you work with clients and you need to understand their requirements through their language. My only complain to this speech is about it’s length, for me it was a bit too long, 25~30 minutes would be enough.

Final words

In some other blog posts about DevDay 2015 I’ve read that people were disappointed by quality of the sessions. I can’t say that. Maybe it’s because I’m going to developer conference not only to learn new stuff, but also to hear about what others are doing, how they do that and how they present this to others. I almost always get something from the presentation I see. Of course I would love to watch only superior speakers, but as we all know it isn’t possible. Still I think that every developer should attend to at least one conference a year.

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