We actually build stuff

It’s still almost unbelievable to me that last week I had a chance to meet Greg Young, Udi Dahan and other great names of software engineering at the same conference. Together with my colleagues from CGM we went to Vilnius and got smashed by this remarkable event 🙂

The Idea

Greg organized this conference to do something that hasn’t been done before: bring together some of the best developers and let them talk about their priceless experiences. No advertising for magic frameworks, no theories and no promises but pure experience. It’s usually something that people miss on ordinary conferences which are overloaded with talks about great subject but lacking ground on some real project. The organizers took also an amazing move and instead of giving traditional bags filled with spam fliers and crappy USB stick they donated money to charity! Representatives of charity foundation came to the keynote and told exactly how they were going to spend all the donation to help disabled children. Let’s hope that organizers of other conferences will look at this generous example and follow.

The talks

Mantas Klasavičius presented a great case study about how his team adopted various metrics as a standard part of their programming discipline. I was really impressed that they built an environment where every single deployment can be instantly analyzed on graphs to get immediate feedback about what are the impacts on infrastructure (memory, CPU, network, etc.), application (request/sec., load of different modules) and business (time -> money chart, sic!). We had opportunity to discuss a deployment with extreme performance requirements which was ultimately succesfull. Perfect.

Right afterwards we moved on to watch Johannes Broadwall and his live session of coding with TDD and pair programming. Johannes also encouraged a more than vital conversation about extreme programming and agile practices. This talk made my fingers itch like crazy for some coding, which I did right after returning from conference, sources included 🙂

Rob Ashton came to Vilnius to share with us some hints on JavaScript and HTML performance. Most of his advice was based on painful experiences during creation of games which can be pretty demanding in terms of speed. Although I’m not too much into game development (at least for now, because I co-created one game a few years ago), the presentation was very interesting and entertaining. If I ever need to render thousands of exploding particles in JavaScript, I know who to follow 🙂

“HTTP Caching 101” by Sebastien Lambla was even more loaded with crazy jokes. However, I wish there was more references to some experiences and actual projects than to babies, ponies and unicorns. Anyway, the audience seemed to be very amused and I can live with my slight dissatisfaction.

Greg’s Event Store was the main subject of next presentation and he showed us some quite impressive parts of this database. I really like how he referred to problems that his team encountered and how they overcame them. All of this was similar to things he presented a few months ago on Event Store’s launch presentation.

The last person who spoke was Udi Dahan, who told us about his adventures during six long years of developing NServiceBus and building a community around it. As he admitted, he collected all of the most important experiences and bits of advice that he wish he knew before. It’s difficult to describe how valuable is such knowledge and extremely sincere confessions about the brutal reality of walking towards success.  This was a powerful ending, but the fun part was just about to come 🙂

Beer party

Who wouldn’t like to grab a beer and chat with all of these great thinkers for a moment? What about few hours? Did I mention that Johannes was running another TDD session (this time a minesweeper solver) and one could just sit aside and observe the progress? I tried to use all these opportunities as much as possible and left overwhelmed by openness of organizers and attendees. Greetings to all the people I’ve met and talked to! I guess that’s what I like most in conferences 🙂

Enough writing, enough reading, go and build stuff!

1 thought on “We actually build stuff

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