Think Then Code by Dominic Umbeer

GOTO Berlin 2014 - Day 1

2014-11-18 - Conference, Software-Engineering, Trends

Recently I went to the GOTO conference in Berlin and it was definitely another highlight in my conference calendar this year.

It was the first time ever for me at a GOTO event and I didn’t know quite what to expect. What I already knew was that the conference has a really good reputation and the speakers line-up is always amazing.

From the organisational and location side of things I can only express positive feedback - good food, nice presentation halls and the schedule was always on time. Maybe one small point of criticism was the slow wireless connection.

At the beginning I was a bit afraid that the conference would be too crowded, but my suspicions were not confirmed. The atmosphere was warm and encouraged conversations with other attendees.

Morning Keynote

Finally I managed to see a presentation by Martin Fowler live and in the flesh! During my career I had already watched many of his recorded talks online and I was really excited to see if he really is that good a speaker … and yes he is!

As usual Martin split his presentation into two parts. One was about “Microservices” (… ah surprise) and the other part had the title “No title”.

The “No title” talk was about our society and especially about the responsibilities that we developers have. Martin clearly stated that we should think about our impact on the world. Are we working on something meaningful which helps our society? Or are we just building yet another piece of insurance software?

He also addressed the fact that we don’t have many women in our field. We need to do something about it; so let us be more open and let us fight against discrimination.

The talk about microservices was really interesting because he gave several points with which he explained what a microservice defines. Actually, I’m not sure if I completely agree with him on the definition, but the most important thing is that there are some guidelines available. The details can differ depending on the project’s context.

Generally speaking these topics were not something completely new to me, but it is different when Martin himself covers these topics.

Unfortunately Martin’s slides aren’t online, but hopefully the recorded session will be soon. I will post the link when available.

Make Sense of your Logs: From Zero to Hero in less than an Hour!

Britta did a great session about how you can utilise Elasticsearch, Logstash and Kibana to analyse your log data. It was a really basic hands-on introduction and I’m sure it helped most of the attendees.

Unfortunately it was a bit too basic for me. At Trademob we already use exactly the same setup to make use of our log data. I had hoped that we would get more insights into running such a setup on scale. Nevertheless, it was a good session and I had fun anyway.

Slides from her talk: pdf

Slot 11:30 - 12:20

During this slot I jumped between sessions and I couldn’t find the right one for me.

Hardware-Side JS: How to Build IoT devices using JS and Node

Jon started his talk by explaining why it makes sense to also use Javascript for hardware programming and that it is very easy to build simple hardware-driven projects these days due to this fact.

At the moment I have a special interest in this topic because for fun my team is building a simple hardware box which can be used for deployments. The ultimate goal is that it can deploy a new release by pressing a big red button. Additionally I would also like some sound and light effects. I will probably write a short article about it soon...

So, back to the talk. During the session Jon did some live coding to show how easy it is to implement something quickly without much overhead.

Up to that point it was the best and most encouraging presentation so far.

Slides from his talk: pdf

Apache Mahout's new DSL for Distributed Machine Learning on SPARK

This talk covered a topic which was completely new to me and to be honest I could not follow much.

I just joined the talk to get familiar with certain terms because Trademob has a dedicated R&D team which works on such topics.

But there was one thing that I took away from the talk - the new DSL makes it easier for non-developers to set up MapReduce jobs, which is really handy.

Slides from his talk: pdf

Achieving Zen through Bundling Applications with Docker

This was another talk about Docker. To be honest I had missed so many talks about it so far that I felt it was finally time to do so. And it was a good decision.

Before the talk I didn’t have much experience with Docker and Adrian showed some interesting ways how to utilise Docker to set up a development environment quickly.

The most important outcome of Adrian’s talk for me was that he stilled my fear of using Docker by showing how easy a setup can be.

It seems that his slides are broken on the GOTO website. Here is the link anyway in case they fix it: pdf

Ending keynote

The start of the presentation was a bit unusual. All the chairs had been removed from the hall, so the audience was standing in front of the stage. I guess the organisers were trying to prevent us from falling asleep ;)

Trisha’s talk was all about how and why to learn new technologies and techniques. She also brought this question up in different contexts (e.g. what does it bring for your current team or for you?).

The message from her talk was clearly that it is totally worth investing time in learning something new, no matter what the motivation is.

Nevertheless, she clearly opined that you should not directly jump onto the next hype and change your whole production environment, as this can lead to premature implementations.

And I have seen this scenario very often. Developers introduce new technologies and techniques all too fast without understanding them completely. Which can lead to really annoying problems later...

Anyway, new technologies and techniques can help make current implementations much better if they are understood completely. Trisha gave some good advice to prevent premature implementations on one of her slides:

Hints to prevent premature implementations by Trisha Gee

You can find the complete slide deck here: pdf