Learning is a stepping-stone in our growth as developers, and conferences are a huge part of this process. However, let’s face it, events in 2020 were not what we expected. No coffee breaks, no murmurs on the hallways of the venue, no badges or getting lost trying to get to the next session, only to discover it already started. We miss it, but we also want to be safe and to help bring everything back to normal as fast as possible.
With this in mind, learning does not have to stop. Aside from the networking and socializing we loved during the past editions of Innovative TechTalks in 2018 and 2019, we were always inspired by the live sessions we witnessed: the amazing presentation skills, the funny jokes, the great ideas. We always took something from these experiences and tried to implement them to make the world a better place, one line of code at a time.
Why Dev Week?
Adapting to a remote environment meant reshaping the event as well. Opening our event to the public instead of having the small venue we had in the past years meant that we needed to consider time frames that would make the sessions accessible to most time zones, while also not interfering with the work schedule of developers wishing to attend the event. And by splitting up a full-day event into 4 separate days, we allowed people to register for the sessions they wanted and needed.
The response we got from everyone was overwhelming and beautiful. We had a blast both putting together as well as attending this event. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did – and, in case you missed it, here is a small synopsis of a full week.
Call it happiness or APIness, we found it
We started the week in full mode fun, with an amazing presentation by Dylan Beattie on Tuesday evening. The goal: to realize that whatever you are doing, whether you’re building databases, class libraries, hypermedia APIs, or mobile apps, sooner or later somebody else is going to work with your code. And that when they do, we should think about how that person is going to feel like: will they hate your guts or have a huge smile on their face?
We learned a lot from Dylan, especially about logging and its importance for happy code, the significance of naming, learning curves, as well as the relevance of constant monitoring and observability. Moreover, most importantly, to never forget that in the end, all of us are creating user experiences.
Learning not to fail, but to adapt
Wednesday was marked by a very good start for us, with an insightful session hosted by the one and only Jimmy Bogard. During Six Little Lines of Fail, we looked at 6 lines of distributed systems fail, examined and considered different options on how to mitigate them. The end result? A checkout process that embraces the fallacies of distributed computing. Keep in mind, there are many options available as solutions, depending on the product business needs, and the time to market at your disposal.
Since we’re talking about market and business: have you ever tried to build and launch a product by yourself? We had the luck to have Mark Rendle in the second session on Wednesday revealing all the things you need to take into consideration when turning your idea into a product and then a business. From roles such as QA or product manager that you would have to take over, you would need to fill in the shoes of a sales and marketing specialist that would make your product successful, and not just another project that fills the piles of dreams that never come true.
Can GraphQL be your BFF?
On Thursday we welcomed Mihaela Ghidersa with a session on a promising set of approaches to optimize how front-end applications collaborate with back-ends: BFF (Backend-For-Frontend) pattern and GraphQL. We learned that most of all, we need to change our mindset from the get-go, as we need to leave behind the association of frontend and backend with client and server, as well as work on the communication with the backend developers, and how this new approach will push front end developers to take a lot of ownership. And, as we all know “with great power comes great responsibility”.
Improving the design of existing software
On Friday we ended a full week of events on a very high note, with a session hosted by Steve Smith, who showed us the common places to look for signs of degradation in existing applications. In this amazing presentation, Steve touched upon important topics such as clean code, technical debt management as well as SOLID principles, while also indulging us with an extensive Q&A session where he replied to the questions posed by our attendees in detail and offering great advice, which left us all in awe and inspired.
Although next year feels quite uncertain, we now have the confidence that Innovative TechTalks has grown into an event that will survive, regardless of the hurdles that may arise. We are so thankful to all the speakers, moderators, and attendees that have made this event successful, and we are hopeful that next year’s edition will consist of even more fun and learning, be it on-site or in the comfort of our own homes.
Thank you all for making Innovative TechTalks 2020 happen! Stay safe, stay tuned, stay innovative!