In today’s post I’m going to sum up the conference and the sessions I attended 🙂
Tickets and organization
I attended the same conference 2 years ago and that time the conference was free. This year (I don’t know how it was organized last year) the tickets were paid. Normal ticket costed 150 PLN (~45 USD). The organizers also offered tickets for students for 50 PLN (~ 15 USD). This shows that the entrance was rather cheap as for such a full-day event, also compared to some similar conferences held in Poland.
In my opinion, making the conference paid improved the event in general. I felt the talks were generally more concrete, given by some well-known speakers (also abroad ones). The whole event seemed to be more “cosy” than 2 years ago. There were less people, at least I felt so (not knowing the real numbers).
This year, the conference was held at Marek Edelman Dialogue Center in Łódź:
The place was OK in general, with two rooms in which the presentations were done – one downstairs, the other upstairs. The building is quite spatial and comfortable and in a good location.
There was just one downside of this venue – there turned out to be not enough places to eat. The stand-up tables were OK during the coffee breaks, but it turned out to be insufficient during lunch. All attendees started to take their plates and eat, but there were no places to sit down. It was quite difficult to eat in such conditions, so there’s a place to improve here. But come on, that’s not food what we came there for, right? 🙂
Below I’m listing and describing my subjective feelings on the sessions I chose to attend from two simultaneous tracks available. The sessions included both Polish and English ones (in the schedule there was always at least one English session to choose at a time).
Mark Rendle – Cloud Native .NET
First presentation of the day, the opening keynote, was held by Mark Rendle. The title of his talk was “Cloud Native .NET”. Mark explained us what the “Cloud Native” actually means, mentioning and digging into concepts of microservices and Kubernetes. During the talk Mark was using the presentation system he implemented, which is slidable.io. What’s interesting, the system allowed to ask questions directly from mobile devices and few folks made use of this functionality 🙂
All examples and concepts Mark presented during his talk are available in the source code of Slidable, which can be treated as a reference for building web application in accordance with “Cloud Native” and its principles.
Tomasz Onyszko – application + cloud + security => what could go wrong!
I was a bit disappointed when I entered the room in which Tomasz‘s presentation took place, as the presenter made the disclaimer in the very beginning that we will see a lot of Azure during the talk. For the last 2-3 years I’ve seen too much of Azure on various conferences and meetups so I’m a bit fed up with it. Maybe it’s only my personal feeling, but I think that Azure is very fancy and extremely helpful for developers, but it’s not a thing that you can start playing with directly after the conference. Most of the services are paid and for sure worth their prices in an enterprise, but not easy to start working with on a development playground after work. I really like to see some sneak peaks of trendy technology or interesting aspects that I could focus on in software development, but I didn’t feel getting it after this talk.
The presentation showed few mostly authentication and security-related functionalities in Azure, which are for sure useful for administrators working on machines’ configuration. I didn’t really feel like I learnt something new and useful during the talk, however the presenter was very good and with a nice sense of humor, so for people interested in such topics and working with Azure on a daily basis I’d definitely recommend this session.
Rafał Legiędź – developing for mixed reality with Hololens
For me, Rafał‘s talk was the best one on the whole conference. He presented us with the basics of Hololens, including basic technical and construction details of the device and the most common usage cases of it. First of all, I was surprised that in contrary to popular belief devices like Hololens and not used mostly for having fun or playing games. It’s used for things like elevator maintenance or cars design and production process.
The presenter defined the two popular terms: VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality) emphasising the difference between them. By the end of the talk, Rafał showed us how easy it is to start developing for Hololens with Unity and Visual Studio.
The topic of AR devices is very inspiring and seems to be developing rapidly. On the other hand, there are already a lot of real, deployed solutions that help manufacturing or banking corporations to build their products more effectively, which I was not aware of. I think this topic is really a future and will be an important piece of software development in the upcoming years, even though it may seem a niche for the moment. I really recommend everyone to get into the topic, even it may not be affordable for everyone – the cheapest, development Hololens set with no guarantee costs 3000$. However, there are some cheaper AR glasses slowly appearing on the market (can be bought for even 900-1000$), so it should become more available in the coming years. Nevertheless the topic is worth attention, as this technological stack is a completely different world, offering totally different possibilities than “casual” software.
Matthias Koch – become a productive .NET developer with JetBrains Rider
First presentation after the lunch break I decided to attend was done by Matthias Koch – a developer working for JetBrains on a cross-platform Rider IDE for .NET. Although the talk was very lively done, it was a step-by-step presentation of functionalities coming from ReSharper introduced into the Rider UI. I use ReSharper on daily basis so I knew most of the functionalities, however I learnt some new and useful ones 🙂
Apart from that, the Rider IDE didn’t seem anything special itself. Apart from being cross-platform I didn’t notice any big difference between using Rider or Visual Studio with ReSharper (assuming you work on Windows). Matthias mentioned that as Rider is based on JVM, the garbage collection is more effective than in VS, as it doesn’t need to stop all of the working threads during the collection cycle. Maybe it improves the performance of the IDE in some extent.
Michał Bartyzel – please, motivate me!
The talk by Michał Bartyzel was the one non-technical with a hope to get some new ideas of self-development or productivity. It was generally well-done, with the good sense of humor from the presenter included. Michał presented some set of non-obvious recommendations to get ourselves self-motivated including sleeping well, not being hungry when making important decisions or creation of non-TODO-lists. Some of the techniques he mentioned are familiar to me as you could read in my post about productivity.
Basically, Michał gave us some easy tips than can be extremely helpful in self-organization. Such recommendations may sound obvious and not worth attention, but I really recommend at least trying to introduce some of them – it really helps. Michał published the slides from his presentation (Polish only) here.
Ian Cooper – 12-Factor apps
The closing talk was done by Ian Cooper, software development geek coming from London and being in the programming industry for quite a few years 🙂 The talk was concerning the concept of “12-Factor apps”, which is basically a set of principles that every modern, “cloud native” application should follow. Ian focused on few most important of these rules and showed us some code presenting these concepts. More details about 12 factors can be read on https://12factor.net/
The whole idea is definitely worth knowing, especially in the modern world when the web applications are required to be build in software-as-a-service approach. I think it was a very good, meaty summary of the day, encapsulating concepts that are currently very trendy and asked by the business. The Twelve-Factor App concept can be seen as a guide to build reliable, extensible and loosely-coupled software with low entry threshold for new developers. With the power of cloud and computation centers like Azure, which is now mentioned during almost every presentation :), I see it as a crucial set of principles to follow to be able to use the power of hardware we have (powered by robust software), to produce high-quality and scalable IT systems and applications.
To sum up, the conference was very good. It felt to be small, family-atmosphere conference with not thousands of attendees. The talks were generally high-quality. Even if some I decided to attend were not especially interesting for me, I’m sure these ones provided great value for people being really into the covered topics.
I definitely recommend the conference to all .NET (and not only!) developers and will surely attend again 🙂