Sunday, March 25, 2012

My 3 cents on 33rd Degree Conference


One of the best conferences for Java masters in Poland has ended. The 33rd Degree.
I've been on the previous one and I really enjoyed it. Totally 5/5.



However, this year was a little different. I also liked it, but I think it could be better. Some speakers were inspiring, some were boring. ;)
And some were talking about things that I already know... Maybe I should read less? ;)
So to shortly sum it up - there was not a single mindfuck during this edition. And that's a pity.

I decided to give subjective marks for each presentation that I attended and here they are:

The first day

The very first talk was from Rafi Krikorian from Twitter. I enjoyed his talk and the story behind this enormous application. I didn't know that it is built on top of Ruby... I gave this talk a mark of 4/5.

After a short break Ken Sipe gave a presentation about Complexity of Complexity. It was good, but I didn't learn anything new. However maybe it was good to recall some things and I gave a mark of 4/5.

As a third speaker, Venkat Subramaniam appeared. Everybody that knows Venkat, also knows how enthusiastic he is on a stage. ;) It was pleasure to listen to him, however the topic was not so interesting for me and I gave a mark of 3/5.

After the lunch break, the sessions were divided into 5 tracks. I chose to attend to presentation called "Build trust in your build to deployment flow". I shouldn't... It was boring and I know Artifactory already... 1/5 this time unfortunately...

The next divided session didn't look like anything interesting was there, so I went to see presentation about node.js. I did not expect anything breaking and I wasn't wrong. However I learned that servers can also be built in JavaScript. I gave a mark of 3/5.

After that, I joined the presentation of Wojciech Seliga from Atlassian about taming the automated test beast. That was a very good presentation. Wojciech talked about their problems with the duration of their tests in JIRA. It looks like the project that I am working currently in my work place, has the same problems and the future doesn't look good... ;) Their biggest problem was testing the GUI, and their solution was to introduce Page Object Pattern to avoid testing graphical components. We will try. Overall mark: 4/5.

At the end of the day, there was a BoF session and I joined the talk about the customers. That was absolutely the best part of the day. We had a very good talk with many ideas how to approach the customer. The most important thing from this session is to remember, that the customer always knows what he wants, but not always knows what he needs. And our job is to find it out. Overall mark of 5/5.

The second day

After the first day I was a little bit disappointed, however the second day started really good. Barry O'Reilly gave a brilliant talk about Agile, Lean and Startup practices. Basically, he claims that Startup practice is the next Agile and it should be introduced within corporations. I wrote whole page of notes during his talk. Totally 5/5.

The second presentation I attended to was from Matthew McCullough about economic games in software projects. Another brilliant talk. I really enjoyed it. The most important thing that I will remember from his talk is The menu trick. Again 5/5.

The third presentation was from Sławomir Sobótka. I was looking forward to see his talk about soft skills for software specialists. The presentation was based on the Dreyfus Model of Skill Acquisition which I know very well, but Sławek presented many aspects of it - even some biological reasons for some things. And again I had to give a mark of 5/5 for the third time in a row.

After the lunch break, I attended again for Sławek's presentation. This time he was speaking about programming techniques that underlie the modern software engineering. I really admire how Sławek hide the Domain Driven Design concepts in this talk. Unfortunately I know the topic and I didn't learn anything new, so my mark for this talk is 3/5.

The next presentation was originally supposed to be presented by Jarek Pałka, but he couldn't make it. I regret that, since I was looking forward to see his talk. Maybe another time. ;) Ken Sipe substituted his talk and gave a nice presentation about web security. I know most of it, but I didn't know that some NoSQLs can be sensitive for SQL injections. Nothing special, so I gave 3/5 mark.

After that I attended to Nathaniel Schutta's presentation about designing for mobile. This presentation opened my eyes for the mobile market. I wasn't aware of the amount of devices that people buy... I will have to rethink many things after this talk. The best thing that I will remember from this talk is to design for the mobile first, and then for the desktop. Totally 5/5.

The last thing at this day was the BoF session about beautiful failures. The topic looked interesting and after yesterday's BoF session I was looking forward for another brilliant brainstorm... I regret that speakers gave a regular presentation, which was actually quite boring, instead of a free talk of attendees. This BoF was actually the beautiful failure indeed. Unfortunately I had to give a mark of 2/5.

The third day

Since the talk about mobile design from Nathaniel during the first day was so great, I decided to see what else he can say. Unfortunately the half of his talk was the same as previous day... He was talking about differences between mobile native and web apps and gave some good examples, but nothing more. So I gave the talk a mark of 3/5.

The second talk I attended was from Ken Sipe again and this time he talked about MongoDB. I really like this database for the Read side in CQRS, and Ken gave some good thoughts on using it for scaling the application. Unfortunately there were not many of them, which I wouldn't know, so my note was 3/5.

The next talk was from the Uncle Bob himself and I really wanted to see him live. He was speaking about the three laws of Test Driven Development. And he was veeery expressive (shooting lasers and stuff). :) He was talking about the way that tests should be organized to run fast. His 241 Fitnesse tests run in less than a minute... I was shocked. Also, he asked if each of us would deploy the build just because all tests are green. I enjoyed his talk so my mark couldn't be different than 5/5.

After the lunch, all tracks were merged into one big track for all - just like at the beginning of the first day. We had no possibility to choose what presentation we want to attend, so I was a little bit scared after I saw, that the next talk was from Natchaniel Schutta again. I remembered that half of his second presentation was similar to the one from the previous day. I was afraid that he can do the same for this talk. I was wrong actually and he gave a really good talk about code craft. I gave a mark of 4/5.

The next talk was from Jurgen Apello. I knew his name, but I don't know where from. The talk was very good, and it was even not so visible, that he is talking about his book. Maybe I will buy it, since his points were very interesting - especially his metaphor about the dancing with the system. The mark couldn't be different than 5/5.

The very last talk was from Uncle Bob again. I love his style of presenting, but his talk about demanding professionalism did not introduce anything new... How many times we can hear, that code is the design? Maybe some people should hear that, but for me it was less than I expected. So the mark for the final talk was 3/5.

Summary

The average mark for the presentations is 3.75/5, so not so good. Additionally there was no presentation that would change my point of view at anything drastically. Maybe the mobile design idea will mature in my head after some time. However, I expected more.

As I said at the beginning - maybe I should read less? ;)

From the organizational point - everything was perfect; however I really hate the hotel that the conference was taking place... There was absolutely no place during breaks, and queues to toilettes were enormous... But other things were great - even the internet connection, so big thanks to organizers!

I am looking forward for the next year's edition!




4 comments:

  1. I'm very curious about the reasons why you didn't attend my talk about Clojure. Would you mind sharing them?

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    Replies
    1. Sure, :)

      There are two reasons:

      1. I consider writing something on mobile and Nathaniel had his talk about it during that time (and I enjoyed his previous talk).

      2. Closure (and scala, and other functional languages) are simply not on my radar currently. ;) Maybe if I will have some free time in the future. ;)

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    2. Glad to read it as it's not me or Clojure. I'm relieved. Thanks!

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