Marcin Biegała

6 minute read

For past 4 years now, few days in September were reserved for developer fest - DevDay :) This year was different, but only a little.
So as hopefully everyone is already aware, DevDay is no more, but Michał and Rafał who were responsible for all previous editions had started new conference called DevConf. And if you met those Guys, you know you can’t go wrong with an event organized by them! So was it good?
Hell yes!
Name, logo and few details have changed, but DevConf proves that it’s not brand or money that makes great things, but passion, energy and people! I had a great time, got inspired, learned few things and recharged batteries!
Everything I want from developer conference!

DevConf logo

Now to some details for anyone that missed the event (shame on you!). The event took place in Cracow’s Multikino cinema. And you can’t imagine how greatly that fits a conference. Comfortable seats, great audio and of course big screen. Networking area was arranged in the lobby. We had tea/coffee, plenty of snacks (sweet and not), launch - everything ok! We had also few sponsors booths here. But believe me, it wasn’t a problem at all. They were not interfering with the conference or nagging people. I would even say that with their gadgets and quizzes they were a nice addition to the whole experience.

Ok, to the content. Excluding workshops, we had two days packed with sessions. For an almost whole day (not counting opening/closing keynotes) we had three tracks to choose from. Those are sessions I’ve visited and few words about them.


Day 1

The Art of Simplicity - Venkat Subramaniam

I’ve heard good things about Venkat Subramaniam, but never had a chance to listen to him. And I must say that he confirmed all those opinions. He made a point, that we as developers often write clever code instead of simple code. After few years in IT I fully understand his point of view. The session was very good, funny in parts and engaging.

Using Machine Learning and Open Data to Report 216 Brazilian Congresspeople for Corruption - Irio Musskopf

That one truly fits into ‘inspirational’ category. We heard a story about how using publicly available data and some machine learning, a group of people was able to track extortions in Brazilian congress. It was eyes opening session, the one that makes you think if you could do the same in your country. To take action. Maybe it wasn’t too technical, but definitely something to watch!

An Accessible Guide to Accessibility - Nick Heiner

Good session on accessibility. I’ve liked that it wasn’t just an overview of WCAG rules, but also we heard some insights about how people with actual disabilities use computers and screen readers.

Squashing JavaScript Bugs - Todd Gardner

That’s one of the best session on day 1. We’ve seen a previously prepared web app which had few bugs. The idea was to use Chrome Developer Tools at it’s best to investigate and fix those. It was a very well delivered session, with good content. I liked it a lot!

Reactive Programming with Commands, Actors and Events - Riccardo Terrell

I think that was the most technical session. We were able to see how we can apply CQRS patterns to make our systems more performant. It was sometimes hard to catch up (especially on the part where we reviewed code) but it was showing not only some theoretical statements but also real code that backed it.

Performance That Pays Off - Szymon Kulec

Few ideas about how we can make our code more performant. Such session where we were considering those little details instead of big ideas was a good addition to the whole agenda.

How to Run a High Functioning Team - Nick Heiner

Another very good session. Plus totally different topic, as we were listening how we could make out team better. It was a well structured session, where we learned how to behave as a team member but also get some hints how to handle a team from the leadership position. A good set of tips and I recommend this session to anyone!


Day 2

A New Dawn of the Human Experience: Artificial Sentience and Fabricated Empathy in Cognitive Computing - Mark Wyner

If I had to choose the best session on the conference, this would be the one. Inspirational topic, interesting ideas and brilliant delivery. In my opinion, from the ‘technical point’ of a session it was really great. There was an entertaining story, moments that made you think and jokes. We heard about different kinds of problems (not obvious ones!) that lay ahead on the human-robot interaction area. I must say I’ve never looked at this topic from such angles and I’m happy I was a part of this keynote.

Offline-first Apps with WebComponents - Amahdy Abdelaziz

Offline apps are getting more noise lately as we came to the critical point of size and complexity of our apps. We’ve seen an example of using PouchDB to let our web app work even when there is no internet connection. It was good session although I would like to hear also about other problems/solutions in this area.

Domain Driven Design: The Good Parts - Jimmy Bogard

Another great session. Room was more than full here. This one was one of the sessions that shows you real life scenarios, war stories. Jimmy Bogard showed us his scars from working on a huge project for goverment where they tried to apply DDD. He shared what he learned out of this adventure. You can’t miss this one!

Fending Off Zombies with OTP - Dave Long

I have a problem with this one. I was very happy to see an Elixir talk on DevConf. I believe in right tool for the job approach, so I try to learn different languages and it’s solutions to common problems, so for me it’s always good to have the ability to hear about some less popular concerns.

Blowing Up the Bike Shed with Conventions - Jimmy Bogard

Another good presentation from Jimmy Bogard. This time, he showed how using a bit of magic in code, we can create a bunch of conventions that will solve some of the complications in code and reduce the number of worthless discussions in the team.


Sadly that was the end of the conference for me, but I had heard only good things about Sebastian Gębski talk and the closing session from Todd Gardner, so I’m looking forward to releasing all recorder session.

Hope to see you there next year!

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