Devcon 2018


Devcon, a developer conference is a platform where you and your colleagues can share knowledge with like-minded IT specialists. The focus is on trends and the latest software development technologies. Multiple technical are presented by renowned international and national speakers who also share their experience and knowledge through a series of parallel sessions.

Have been to all Devcons held so far. This one being the fourth. Couldn’t have been happier, more excited and motivated to be there year after year. I have seen Devcon evolve and improve and develop enthusiasm amongst the developer community. This time it was the best so far. And I am sure, I will be able to reuse this statement every year.

On 12th April 2018, Cinemec Ede, opened its doors for Devcon 2018. The event is by the developers and for the developers. Of course, we don’t mind managers dropping in to catch up with the latest software development technologies. There were multiple technical sessions presented by renowned national and international speakers. They were also available during the day if you couldn’t get enough and wanted to have more of an in-depth discussion. This reminds me that Luminis has enhanced their app with “speaker tracking”. This allows you to track a speaker in the Cinemec during the event. No escaping!

The day started with opening keynote by Hans Bossenbroek (Founder and CEO Luminis) & Rudy van Buren(official F1 simulator driver for the McLaren F1 team). The host for the day was Niels Houtpen, who is an illusionist. When he introduced himself on the stage, people sat still in their chairs. I guess it was a mix of surprise and curiosity. He showed us some tricks, which I think worked very well for waking up the people and engage their brains in finding out the logic in everything he did. Majority of the audience was software developer after all. We understand logic. And anyways, we are in some way illusionists too. Making grand, working systems out of nothing.

Later, Hans came up to the stage and awed us with a talk about future of software. He also talked about Dunning Kruger Effect. It was hilarious how everyone acknowledged that they too had been on mount stupid. At this point of time, he called on to the stage his colleague, René van Hees, with whom he had climbed this particular mountain and more. René explained how the best radars were developed. He talked about architectural principals and also about the path for knowledge growth.

Next was Sam Aaron on the stage, who played code. Yes!! He played music via code. He pressed on the fact that code is not limited to solve business problems or enhance business. Code is everywhere. It is an integral part of our life. And we can adapt it in any way we like. He put the music system of the Cinemec to good use and gave us a demo on how he plays code. And I just didn’t want it to end.

To close the keynote, Rudy van Buren was invited to the stage. Niels talked to him about how his career and technology came together and limits for each field were put to test. He gave a lot of insight about his career and how high the competition is. He was very happy that he could be the chosen one and he hoped it goes on for a few years. And for the dreamers out there, who think he has a glamorous job – It is not easy at all. He shared info about his daily routine and his personal development. It was nice to hear about another career, who also is impacted by technology.

Alert! This blog post will be long. But I am just getting started. There is so much to share. After catching up with colleagues and praising the engaging keynote, I moved on to the first technical talk for the day, which was “The internet of ships”. This is developed by Pim Voeten from Luminis in collaboration with Florus Wilming from Onboard. I was amazed by the way they have built a wonderful product from scratch. Not only did they push their software skills, but also got their hands dirty with hardware. The product is complete with a good looking, robust server and top-quality UI design. The goal was to help captains by providing a serverless bridge and they nailed it.

After congratulating Pim for a splendid presentation, I headed towards the next talk of my choice – “Stop w(REST)ling with your API’s: an introduction to GraphQLEverton from Luminis Arnhem talked about the issues we face when we develop APIs with traditional databases. A few of the issues are: –

  • do multiple joins before you can generate a view of your data
  • expose multiple endpoints for similar views
  • break RESTful conventions
  • or do multiple request for a single view

To add to the pain, if we update our schema, we have to update endpoints too. And we know we all have been there – breaking RESTful practices to solve our problems. Well, one of the ways you could solve the problem is by using GraphQL. With GraphQL it is possible to allow the frontend to decide what data is needed. Everton was brave to show us a live demo, where he experimented with the schemas, queries, mutations and subscriptions, all in line with GraphQL. I am quite intrigued and would like to replicate the project I am working on with GraphQL separately.

After having a wonderful lunch with so much to choose from, we were greeted by Pep Rosenfeld from Boom Chicago. The title of the keynote session was “The Future is Here. And it’s Kind of Annoying.” There was no dull moment during his stand up. He was very well prepared for his technical audience. After shaking off our mid-day slump with Pep, we headed towards the parallel talks. This time my pick was “Migrating to Java Modules” by Sander Mark. Sander is a Fellow at Luminis in The Netherlands, where he crafts modular and scalable software, most often on the JVM, but with a touch of TypeScript when needed. He also is a Java Champion and author of the O’Reilly book ‘Java 9 Modularity’. The module system delivered in Java 9/10 is a great advancement for the Java language, and we would like to migrate existing code to make use of the module system. Migrating an existing code base from the class path to any kind of module system can be a challenging task. The Java module system comes with a number of features to ease migration. This includes automatic modules and the unnamed module. While these features provide great value, they do require understanding of the module system to use them to their full potential. In this talk we looked at examples of migrating real code, based on a Spring/Hibernate application. We’ll face common problems we run into during migration, which gives us practical tips to apply, but also a good understanding of the module framework itself and the various migration features it supports. This talk was an excellent preparation to start migrating existing code. Now, that’s the easy part. The hard part is convincing business about the value it brings to the project.

After an energy break, for the last bit, I picked “Test Driven Documentation for your RESTful service” by Jeroen Reijn. He is a software architect at Luminis and is very passionate about software engineering and engineering culture. He likes to share his broad knowledge and helps people to apply practices like Continuous Delivery to reach a new level of productivity. I think you can already deduce from my choices that I am working with a Java 7/8 RESTful project. Jeroen, in his talk, shared his thought about the struggles we face in keeping the documentation and code in sync. He named a few options we have like RAML and Swagger/Open API. Also, he highlighted the pitfalls they come with. He introduced AsciiDoc and Spring (Auto) REST Docs in the talk and showed us a demo with changing a few things and showing us how the docs adapt accordingly.

Phew! It was a long post. But there is so much I am excited about. It was a jam-packed day with loads of knowledge. But it was awesome. After the interesting talks, I had a chance to catch up with fellow developers. All were still in high energy and wished the day would never end. We talked about the sessions and were happy that the talks we had to miss will soon be on the  Luminis channel.

I hope I have generated some interest for you to know more about the splendid talks we had at Devcon. You can go, watch them all at the given link. Till next year! Who knows we might get a chance to visit Bueno Aires in a year. 😉