DevDay 2016

It became a tradition for me that in September I go to Krakow to participate in DevDay conference. It was my 4th time there and as usual it was pleasant to be there. In comparison with the previous year there were two changes. The first one was the venue. This time the event took place in a modern cinema, with a big screen and very comfortable chairs. The second change, the more subtle one, was in the selection of speakers and subjects. I have a feeling that there is a transition from strict technical (.Net) conference into more general, personal development oriented one. I like this change a lot. The older I am, the more I want to listen about people stories and their feelings and less about another framework.

Below are my notes about every session I saw.

Day one

“Firing People” by Zach Holman

This was a fascinating talk, because usually people don’t talk about getting fired. Zach was fired from GitHub, which was widely commented in the developers community. He talked about his first reaction, later actions and how he looks at this from today’s perspective. He also gave some advices what should you do when you are fired - which are probably more accrued for the US citizens. It was interesting to compare how this works in USA and Europe. It was nice to watching!

“Seven Secrets of Maintainable Codebases” by Adam Tornhill

In this talk Adam Tornhill presented us his method of treating source code as a “crime scene”. The main idea is to look no exactly at existing code and its metrics, but rather how this code is changing over time. When some part of the source code changes very often then we can suspect that our attention is needed - probably we need to refactor it. Such information (and more) can be obtained by analyzing commits to the version control system (like git).
In my opinion, it was the best technical session in the whole conference. I watched it with pleasure and it showed me another way of looking at existing source code.

“Modern Performance Best Practices” by Dustin Whittle

A detailed overview of ways to analyze performance in modern web apps. In addition author presented some best practices how such performance can be improved. If you are a web developer then for sure you will find some interesting topics in this talk.

“An Introduction to Service Workers” by Phil Nash

I had an occasion to watch Phil Nash during last year Polyconf conference, so I knew he is a good speaker. This time he did a nice introduction to the service workers subject. I haven’t had occasion to read about them before, so I was glad that somebody presented them to me. A big plus for a brief and clean way of talking.

“Backend-less Development Revisited” by Tomasz Ducin

In big projects there is usually a problem with working on frontend (SPA) and backend at the same time. The frontend depends on the server API that is still under development and doesn’t provide enough data. To solve this problem some kind of mocking system can be introduced. Tomek Ducin talked about ways of doing such mocking and what benefits we can get from them. If you are a frontend developer or system architect then you should watch this.

“Promise to Not Use Promises: Observables in” by Brian Holt

In theory this talk should be about reactive programming in JavaScript, but Brian Holt decided to change the subject. Instead of talking about technical topic he focused on how to teach about it. How should we talk about topics we know. What part of our knowledge can be shared with others and so on.
At first, I was a bit surprised by this change but after the talk I’m very happy. Right now I’m quite interested in way of sharing knowledge with others. I’m trying to be better in this challenging task, so I’m glad for any advice and help. Thank you Brian for sharing your thoughts.

“Optimism” by Reginald Braithwaite

The title of this speech was intriguing, so I wasn’t sure what should I expected. As it turned out Reginald Braithwaite did a great talk about human psyche. He explained what it means to be optimistic and pessimistic and how it influences our lives. He also pointed some ways of changing our behavior, to be more optimistic. I like also the part about talking with children and how we can influence them. My eyes have been opened to some aspects that I haven’t thought before. For me, it was the best speech on the first day of the conference.

Day two

“We Are The Explorers!” by Kurt Leucht

The second day of the conference started with unique presentation by Kurt Leucht. This NASA engineer talked about preparation for the conquest of Mars. He explained what problems need to be faced up and how they could be solved. It was a pleasure to listen to his talk.

“JavaScript Combinators” by Reginald Braithwaite

This was the only session with so much source code I’ve attend during this DevDay. The author showed and explained the idea of functional programming in JavaScript. His main focus was on how we can use functional programming (with combinators) to compose and decompose functions. You can read more about this here.
Reginald has a talent for doing presentations, so I enjoyed watching this one.

“How Did You Find That?” by Niall Merrigan

This was definitely the funniest talk during the whole conference. It was funny to listen, but the subject was rather scary. Niall Merrigan showed many examples of computer systems and devices (i.e. baby nanny camera) that are freely accessed (without any security) through the Internet. This one more time showed us how security is hard and how people can ignore it completely.

"Getting Into the Zero Downtime Deployment World " by Tugberk Ugurlu

A case study about building a computer system that is capable to be deployed in almost zero-downtime.

“A Security Testers Toolbox” by Niall Merrigan

The second part of Niall Merrigan’s presentation about security. This time he showed some techniques and exploits that can be used to highjack somebody’s computer. I’m not an export in this field, so it was nice to learn about it.

“From Hard Science to Baseless Opinions: Where Did We Go Wrong?” by Ali Kheyrollahi

After this talk I saw that some people gave red card to Ali Kheyrollahi. Telling truth I don’t know why. It was a good presentation that reminds us that in our work we should use metrics instead of opinions. The “math” should guide us in our choices of technology we use.
I like also that Ali Kheyrollahi mentioned postmodernism and how it influence us.

“To The Moon” by Russ Olsen

If somebody asked me about this presentation I would say one word: “amazing”. Russ Olsen made a great job! During his speech he told us two parallel stories, one about him as a young boy watching a moon landing, and the second one about how this landing was possible. How hard it was and how people could defeat all those problem. His talk gave me a huge amount of motivation. Thank you!

Final words

I’m really happy that I’ve attended this year DevDay conference. It has given me lots of inspiration and topics to think about. For me this year’s conference was even better then the previous one. I had a great time there. Thank you all DevDay team for your hard work. See you next year!

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