It’s been more than a week since DevConf 2019. Last year’s edition was a blast (even though I haven’t written about it) and I couldn’t wait to attend it this year. This time I won’t make the mistake and will use the conference as a topic for my blog post (have I said that maybe this time I will blog regularly?). :)
DevConf is a great conference — perfect organization, no main topic, no single language and the diverse speakerbase make the conference unique. Just like last year, I came back home pumped and ready to face new problems. Who needs anything else? ;)
Venue, org & overall feel
Let’s start with the easy things. The venue was outstanding. There were about 4-5 hundred people and Multikino haven’t ever been slightly overcrowded. No queues, no pushing. There wasn’t any problem with going even to the most occupied talks.
The organization & crew behind it was top notch. Even the problems with the speakers (Mark Rendle not getting his passport, Hadi Hariri having problems with the flights) haven’t really been a stopper (at least from my perspective). Kudos, just kudos.
It’s impossible to have such a large project without any flaws. I missed last year’s coffee stands — the coffee was still great but it didn’t look that impressive. Also, the conference agenda was in a separate, quite large leaflet. Having it on the leash along the badge is really much more handy.
Talks & Topics
I need to say that I have a feeling that the topics last year were more advanced. Maybe this is because of the talks that I’ve chosen, who knows — it’s impossible to be everywhere and one has to select something. ;) Yet, none of my selection disappointed. Every one of the presentations that I’ve been to was delivered almost perfectly, even if the content wasn’t rocket science.
As I said previously, there wasn’t really a leading topic among the talks. Some of them were more DevOps-y, some were related to the AI and ML, others tried to describe some language-specific things. You couldn’t find a hot topic that everybody want to talk about there (are there any new hot topics now? ;)). Most were about known matters (e.g. microservices, FaaS, design) but from a pragmatic, not hyped, perspective. Some of them confirmed my opinions, others explained things that I haven’t had a time to dive into.
If I were to select my favorite talks, I would divide them first into two groups: keynotes and others. Keynotes tend to differ quite substantially in the form and topics so I think it wouldn’t be fair to do one big list. And this year’s keynotes were astounding. All four were great but my two personal favorites are (in random order):
- “Welcome to the Machine” by Hadi Hariri — perfectly delivered, gloomy, depressing view on current world, with all the ads, privacy violations and omnipresent surveillance,
- “The Art of Code” by Dylan Beattie — very funny, light and cheerful tale of the code that can also be treated like art.
Both happened to be the closing keynotes, and I left both either really happy or with a mind full of thoughts.
There are also a few talks that I think are worth noting (in random order):
- “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, What is the Vainest Metric of Them All?” by Paul Stack — about metrics and how to tell whether they are meaningful, with great examples. I left the presentation with motivation to finally measure things (but only ones that are significant :) ),
- “The Cost of Code” by Dylan Beattie (once again) — funny look at the real cost of code, esp. the one that we haven’t written and comes from more or less unknown source that we’re not controlling,
- “Six Little Lines of Fail” by Jimmy Bogard — a story about a process (order payment) that looks simple but needs substantial amount of work. Great perspective on how we should approach that kind of problems.
Other talk that I’ve attended were also good (I haven’t given any “red card” and only some yellows), but those three really gave me some perspective about my work and what are the real problems in software engineering.
I only go to conferences for like two or three years. There were better and worse ones but DevConf surely is on the “better” side. Great, even. It is one of the few that I don’t want to miss and will surely go there next year.