WeAreDevelopers 2019 Berlin – The Good and the Bad parts

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You can find my expectations here. And here are my actual impressions:

Arrival

The conference took place on the 6th and 7th of June at the CityCube in Berlin. The CityCube is an exhibition site which is located roughly 10km from Berlin centre. My hotel was in Berlin-Charlottenburg, which is a nice area located just 2 stations from the exhibition site.

I arrived late on the 5th of June. Having not really planned my attendance I wanted to check the usual suspects (eg the web page) for more information. But wait. There is an app for that right? And there was. After downloading the app from the Appstore, I quickly set up an account and was ready to take a look. Overall the app was solid (with some bugs or undesired features; later more on that). I found the activity stream pretty useful. The activity stream is like a chatroom where attendees can exchange thoughts. After reading a little bit, I was able to gather most of the important info and got a little bit hyped by the people in the room. There was also an agenda section in the app which I could browse either by date and time or speakers. Each talk or workshop had a brief description. Each talk could also be added to a favourites section which was nice. In that way, I gathered rather quick my favourites and after going through them again by time and eliminating the less interesting ones I was ready for the first day.

Pro-Tip 1: A calendar or timeline section in the app where one could view one’s favourites would be nice. In that way, intersecting talks could be easily spotted.

Day 1

I arrived a little bit early at the venue because in the chatroom there were also some concerns about long queues. The weather was really nice, so I was not really worried to wait a little bit. But the fear of waiting for hours was not justified. There was enough stuff to take care of the attendees. I waited maybe 10 minutes. So all good.

Once I arrived at the main stage I also realized that there was more than enough space to accommodate everyone. With my schedule it went from here like this (Some of the talks I attended):

Welcome by WeAreDevelopers

The usual greetings and organizational stuff. It didn’t take so long so it was okayish. But already here I realized that the sound was really bad. Sitting somewhat in the middle you would get an echo. And that was without any other talks being held in parallel.

Pro-Tip 2: Please test the venues sound properties beforehand and adjust accordingly.

Where Machine Intelligence Ends and Human Creativity Begins – Garry Kasparov

As a starter, this talk was really good. Garry Kasparov is really a charismatic person. The main claim of Garry Kasparov is that eventually a huge amount of (non-creative) work will be replaced by AI. And there is nothing that we can do about it. His conclusion was that it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. We will have more time to do more important stuff.

Business vs Agile – Crimes against development teams continuously committed by management – Gerta Sheganaku

This one I chose based on the title. I was hoping for some entertaining session, actually against management (Sorry I’m a dev). The thing which I’ve got from the talk is that agile works best with top devs in an organization. For this group productivity and “happiness” increases. With diminishing skill set of the devs involved the gains of agile decreases and are even counterproductive in case of devs with decreasing skill set (I do not know how the skill set of devs was measured here and the productivity output either; it’s a company offering, so they have probably some empirical data on this). The fun story was that one consulted company consulted by this company fired almost all stuff based to rehire again for agile.

Lunch

Lunch was an epic disaster. Honestly, I thought lunch was included in the ticket price. It was not. There were around 5 food trucks with different types of food. So this was ok. The problem was that the capacity was way too low. You had to wait like 1 hour in full shining sun to get your food. After waiting for about 15 mins. I decided to go somewhere else to get some food. Doing so I discovered that the part of the CityCube the conference was held in was about 15 min away from the nearest restaurants. Ok, that’s another minus. (PS There was a massive rant about this in the app. Even some invited companies jumped in to deliver some food and free water. Shame, shame, shame…)

Pro-Tip 3: You know how many people will attend. Throughput of the trucks should also be known. Calculate with the worst case.

The Quake Postmortem: The End of the Original Id – John Romero

Yes, this John Romero. The talk was about people, growth, success and the price paid. Romero pictured a small company which was overwhelmed by its “astonishing” success. In the beginning, there is a passion but with success there comes the appetite for larger games and one have to scale. In the end, it’s not about fun anymore. Delivering is what counts. This reflects on the team.

Flutter – Google’s latest innovation for mobile, web, and desktop apps

It was nice. But we have SwiftUI now. Thank you.

Pro-Tip 4: When designing the app, please think about people on a mobile data plan. Scale down pictures posted in the chat (I had like 400MB data usage by the end of the day). 

Day 2

Once in my hotel room I quickly set up my schedule for the last day (Here some of it):

Thoughts on the Future of Programmable Money – Andreas M. Antonopoulos

This talk was epic. Andreas drew a coherent picture of what is wrong with the mindset of closed ecosystems. Starting with castle walls and getting to modern times firewalls was a nice analogy to draw. Eventually we “outgrew” castle walls/castles. Will we be able to break out of closed systems? Andreas has no doubt about it.

25 Years of PHP – Rasmus Lerdorf

I’m not a PHP dev but I wanted to hear the inventor of PHP talk about this un-opinionated language. So Mr Lerdorf is a nice, near to the ground guy. He explained very well that PHP was developed out of necessity. The desire to have a “simple layer” over CGI/C to write programs faster and more readable.

2nd day the lunch situation didn’t really change. There were water and free beer though.

Conclusion

I’m pretty undecided if I would visit this conference again. The speakers were really great but the organisation was seriously lacking.

DEVOXX UKRAINE, Here I come

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As a developer, when you need to extend your programming knowledge theoretical, practical, or either or, you need to go to a conference. Also, conferences are a good change to peer others in your field. Unfortunately, most software engineering conferences focus on introducing new technologies more than defining how a software engineer becomes an architect. That makes developer conferences a place to broaden the technical horizons, but not the vertical horizons. Exactly this makes DEVOXX so special. I have already had the pleasure to visit a DEVOXX conference in Europe and other conferences. Check out the articleabout that here!

What we expect from this conference 👤💬?

Normally, I focus on the new technical topics like what is new in Java. What do the new versions of Java offer? However, at this time, I would like to focus on both, the technical topics and software architecture, as it is a massive and fast-moving discipline. I would like to expect some training and insights to help you stay current with the latest trends in technologies, frameworks, and techniques — and build the skills needed to advance your career.

Source: https://earlycoders.com/so-you-want-to-learn-to-code-are-you-a-newbie-programmer-developer-or-a-software-engineer/

Organization to visit Devoxx Ukraine conference

The conference will be held in Kiev. So, my colleague Jeremy and I will be travelling from Zurich airport to Kiev. According to some articles, Kiev is considered one of the cheapest cities in Europe. We will try to explore the nightlife of Kiev. To be honest, I didn’t expect that the conference ticket is so cheap, it just costs 150 usd.

My private trips:

I will write another blog to explain what I and my colleague Jeremy did in Kiev. I can say one thing at the end: “Stay Tuned”!

WeAreDevelopers World Congress 2019 – Expectations

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Why this one?

I’m a mobile developer. In specific an iOS developer. So guess what, I love writing code either in Swift or Objective-C for Apple devices. When searching for a conference to attend in 2019 I rather had the WWDC in mind. There is one drawback, however you need some serious money and luck to get there. But in general, there are plenty of other good iOS conferences to attend (NSConf, CocoaConf, …, you name it!). 

For an overview and a brief description of iOS conferences in 2019 I found this page from Hacking with Swift very informative.

There is a very nice overview diagram of iOS conferences depending on your location and/or budget in an old post (2017) at raywenderlich.com. Although outdated, most of these conferences will also happen in 2019 and pricing and location rarely (dramatically) change.

Wait, but the post is about your expectations for the World Congress 2019 in Berlin. So what happened?

Ok, let’s get to this. When searching for iOS conferences in 2019, this conference somehow slipped into the search results. And it did so because Steve Wozniak was speaking there. Well, which iOS/Mac developer wouldn’t want to see and hear the legendary Steve Wozniak, right?

Once on the WeAreDevelopers homepage I realised that Steve Wozniak was giving a talk there a year earlier. So, 2018 in Vienna. Furthermore, this conference isn’t iOS or even mobile specific. That’s another drawback. Anyway, once on the page I skimmed through this year’s speakers. Here are some of them:

  • Rasmus Lerdorf – Inventor of PHP
  • Håkon Wium Lie – Inventor of CSS
  • Andreas M. Antonopoulos – Author, Mastering Bitcoin

Well, maybe Steve Wozniak is not there, but there are a lot of high quality people from IT in general. People who had and have a tremendous impact on millions of developers out there. One can argue about the weaknesses and strengths of PHP, CSS, Bitcoin. But one is for sure. With all downsides, these technologies are used and working on a daily basis. Furthermore, there are vibrant communities behind them.

Ok then. I’am going because I would like to see a broader picture of tech then just a little piece of it.

Btw there are mobile related talks anyway.

Expectations (TL;DR)

  • Experience some good talks from people with impact
  • Get a feeling where we’re headed in the future
  • Maybe see some demos/MVPs on AR/VR, Robotics
  • Get answers where bitcoin and blockchain are going and what the state of disruption is
  • Socialising

Our conference roadmap 2019

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As we have already mentioned on our culture page we have planned a budget 💰 this year for all of our employees for further education purposes. Therefore everybody can go to a conference, workshop or the like. On our blog you will find posts from our employees about the individual events, what the expectations are, what the reality on the event is, maybe some surrounding information why it is worth to visit a conference at a specific city, maybe what is not recommendable and at the end what was the key learning.

So let’s conquer Europe … 9 metropolises, 12 different events:

The opening event started this week – Jeremy and Shady are in Bucharest 🇷🇴 to visit the Voxxed Days. Maybe you have already read the corresponding blog post and their expectations about the trip or you have already seen some pics on twitter. If not – you can find the post here. We are curious about their updates during / after their visit, especially about their culinary impressions 🥙 about Romania 😉.

To see all other scheduled events you can have a look on our conference plan 📆:

Date Event City / Country Who joins
March, 20-22 VOXXED DAYS Bucharest, Romania Jeremy, Shady
April, 3-5 FRONTCON Riga, Latvia Stephan
April, 5-6 JPoint 2019 Moscow, Russia Miodrag, Boris
May, 5 SAYGIN YALCIN Frankfurt, Germany Fatih
May, 16-17 SPRING I/O Barcelona, Spain Antonie, Amit
May, 26-29 UIKonf Berlin, Germany Dimitar
June, 1-2 JSConf EU Berlin, Germany Marijan
June, 6-7 WAD World Congress Berlin, Germany Lukasz
June, 24-26 DEVOXX POLAND Krakow, Poland Stefan
Sept, 2-4 adaptTo() Berlin, Germany Amit
Nov, 1-2 DEVOXX UKRAINE Kiev, Ukraine Jeremy, Shady
Dec, 5-6dotJSParis, FranceYoussef

Now you know where to meet us and maybe you got some ideas if you are also looking for an interesting event this year. If you have questions to an event, want to meet us somewhere or you have some insights for a specific conference or city please use the comment box below or get in touch with us directly – we are looking forward to your feedback – or to meet you at a conference ✌️!

FrontCon 2019 in Riga, Latvia

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Only a few weeks left until I go to my first tech conference this year. Travelling means for me learning something new. And I like learning. Especially the immersion in a foreign culture and the contact to people of other countries makes me happy.

It’s always time to grow beyond yourself. 🤓

BUT why visit Riga just for a conference? Riga is a beautiful city on the Baltic Sea and the capital of Latvia. Latvia is a small country with the neighbours: Russia, Lithuania, Estonia and the sea. AND it’s a childhood dream of me to get to know this city. 😍

The dream was created by an old computer game named “The Patrician”. It’s a historical trading simulation computer game and my brothers and I loved it. We lost a lot of hours to play it instead of finding a way to hack it. 😅
For this dream, I will take some extra private days to visit Riga and the Country as well. 😇

Preparation

The most important preparation such as flight, hotel, workshop and conference are completed.

Furthermore, I also plan to visit some of the famous Latvian palaces and the Medieval Castle of Riga. I also need some tips for the evenings: restaurants and sightseeings from you. Feel free to share them in the comments. 😊

Some facts about the conference

There are four workshops available on the first day:

  • Serverless apps development for frontend developers
  • Vue state management with vuex
  • From Zero to App: A React Workshop
  • Advanced React Workshop

I chose the workshop with VueJS of course 😏 and I’m really happy to see that I can visit most of the talks in the following days. There are some interesting speeches like “Building resilient frontend architecture”, “AAA 3D graphics” and secure talks and server-less frontend development. Click here for the full list of tracks.

My expectations

Above all, I’m open to events to learn new things. Therefore, I have no great expectations in advance. So I’m looking forward to the

  • VueJS & Reacts parts
  • Visit the speakers from Wix, N26 and SumUp

I’m particularly curious about the open spaces between the speeches. I will be glad to have some great talks with the guys. 🤩

For my private trips:

That’s all for now

to be continued…

My expectations on JPoint Moscow 2019

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PREPARATION

Tickets

Tickets for individuals: 280€ until 1st March.
No possibility to change the participant.

Personal tickets may not be acquired by companies in any way. The companies may not fully or partially reimburse these tickets’ costs to their employees.

Standard tickets: 465€ until 1st March. A possibility to change the participant is given.

Tickets for companies and individuals, no limits. Includes a set of closing documents and amendments to the contract.

Flight

Skopje-Vienna-Moscow. Visa for Russia is needed!

Hotel

I guess a hotel like Crowne Plaza Moscow – World Trade Centre is a good option, because it’s in the same place where the conference takes part.

DAY 1

So what are my plans and expectations for the first day of JPoint. I will start with Rafael Winterhalter who is a Java Champion and will talk about Java agents. It will be interesting to see how Java classes can be used as templates for implementing highly performant code changes.

Next stop will be the creator of Jenkins: Kohsuke Kawaguchi. He has great headline Superpowers coming to your Jenkins and I am exicted to see where Jenkins is going next.

Last stop for day one, Simon Ritter from Azul Systems, with focus on local variable type inference. As with many features, there are some unexpected nuances as well as both good and bad use cases that will be covered.

There will be many more for day one but I will focus on these three for now. Also at the end, party at 20:00.

DAY 2

I will start the second day with Simon Ritter again, this time with focus on JDK 12. Pitfalls for the unwary, it will be interesting to see all the areas of JDK 9, 10, 11 and 12 that may impact application migration. Another topic will be how the new JDK release cadence will impact Java support and the choices of which Java versions to use in production.

Other headliner talks for the second day are still under consideration, so I’m expecting something interesting from Pivotal and JetBrains.

Feel free to share some Moscow hints or interesting talks that I’m missing.

Voxxed Days Bucharest & Devoxx Ukraine – HERE WE COME!

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Last year conferences

Already in 2018 we had the pleasure to visit 2 conferences in Europe:

We had a great time visiting these two cities 🙌 and we can’t wait to do that again this year 😎.

What we expect from the two conferences in 2019 👤💬?

Like last year, we are interested in several different topics. For me, I am looking forward to Methodology & Culture slots, Shady is most interested in Java stuff. All in all, we hope that there are several diffent interesting speaches about:

  • Architecture & Security
  • Cloud, Containers & Infrastructure
  • Java
  • Big Data & Machine Learning
  • Methodology & Culture
  • Other programming languages
  • Web & UX
  • Mobile & IoT

We ❤️ food!

The title is speaking for itself. We just love food 🍴! Traveling ✈️ gives good opportunity to see and taste something new 👅. All over the world every culture has a unique and special cuisine. Each cuisine is very different because of different methods of cooking the food. We try to taste (almost) everything, when we arrive in new countries and cities.

We are really looking forward to seeing, what Bucharest’s and Kiev’s specialities are 🍽 and to trying them all! Here some snapshots from our trips to the conferences in Amsterdam Netherlands and Krakow Poland in 2018…

What about the costs 💸?

One great thing at 47 North Labs is, that your personal development 🧠 is important to the company. Besides hosted internal events and workshops, you can also visit international conferences 🛫 and everything is paid 💰. Every employee can choose his desired conferences/workshops, gather the information about the costs and request his visit. One step of the approval process is writing 📝 about his expectation in a blogpost. This is exactly what you are reading 🤓📖 at the moment.

Costs breakdown (per person)

Flights: 170 USD
Hotel: 110 USD CHF (3 days, 2 nights)
Conference: 270 USD
Food and public transportation: 150 USD
Knowledge gains: priceless
Explore new country and food: priceless
Spend time with your buddy: priceless
—–
Total: 700 USD
—–

Any recommendations for Bucharest or Kiev?

We never visited the two cities 🏙, so if you have any tips or recommendations, please let us know in the comments 💬!

My humble expectations on Devoxx Poland 2019

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Five months and devoxx.pl in Krakow has already finished again. That leaves me some time for preparation and anticipation.

Preparation

Key preparations like conference ticket, flight and hotel are done. However, I would be grateful for sightseeing hints for the evenings. Feel free to share them in the comments section.

There are five different tickets available. Generally, you have three alternatives with some optional sugar in form of dinner or gifts.

  • Conference only
  • Deep Dives only
  • Combi (both of them)

I’ve chosen the conference only ticket because I prefer to attend more but shorter slots as the speakers are forced to focus on the key parts. I also liked this format in my last visit at Devox Belgium in 2017.

Anticipation

There is not yet a published schedule but only the list of tracks:

  • Web & HTML5
  • Cloud & Big Data
  • Server Side Java
  • Future <Devoxx>
  • Mobile
  • JVM Languages
  • Methodology
  • Java SE
  • Architecture & Security

And now, those are my expectations for Devoxx Poland

  • New Java language features in 11 and 12.
  • From monolith via microservice to serverless. What’s the next thing?
  • Learn about some new fancy JS frameworks.
  • What’s new in the mobile world and which approach will make us happy: native, hybrid, web views, …?
  • Insights into JVM release roadmap and Oracle subscription models.
  • Enjoy some typical Polish foods and drink.