GDG DevFest 2016 in Amsterdam Science Park

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It is a sunny Saturday in Amsterdam today. I could not miss an opportunity to learn what other people are doing with mobile, web, cloud and iot technologies out there. Right now it is lunch break at the DGD DevFest 2016 conference organised by The Dutch Android Use Group. It is a pretty big conference with three simultaneous tracks on mobile, cloud and web. The environment of Amsterdam Science Park is very conductive to this kind of gathering of techies with all kinds of backgrounds. The age average is pretty low and again it is all about choices because you cannot be on all sessions at the same time... 

The conference started from the keynote with just the explanation of logistics, tracks, sponsors and the usual welcome. It was great to be back in a kind of a university lecture room with steep rows of chairs full of energy charged audience.

My main interest is Delphi programming. I'm not going to hear a lot about Delphi today, but the most closely related subject for starters was to go into the mobile track and listen about the benefits of code generation in your mobile projects.

The "mobile" track is in "Catwoman" lecture room. There could be a bit of confusion what "code generation" means in different contexts. Most of the time it refers to generating binary executable code from source which is typically the job of a compiler, but this session was about generating parts of your project source code. That could be driven through an external configuration file or through annotations (custom attributes in Delphi) directly in the source code.

Here is a nice snippet that shows that not only you do not need to write certain pieces of code, but the generated code is also much cleaner. Some of the code generation tools discussed were JavaPoet, Dagger, AutoValue, Requery, SQLDelight and ButterKnife. That was an interesting session by Dylan Trost.

The next session was in mobile track in the "Thor" room. It was run by Johan Stokking from The Things Network in Amsterdam. What Johan did in the course of the last year is incredible. He is really getting there in his mission "to build a decentralised, open and crowd sourced network that is owned and operated by its users". There are hundreds of user communities in different places around the world that are implementing open LoRa networks that connects to hundreds of thousands sensors. Using an unlicensed radio spectrum it is possible to achieve efficient bi-directional communication with sensors within few kilometers from a base station and no pairing is needed. Just pure radio.

LoRa is similar to Bluetooth LE but it has much bigger range. Very exciting session. IoT is big and will be bigger. This technology is in this critical infancy stage that everybody knows that that it is it, but there is no dominant technology or market player yet. I'm curious about the session by Johan about "The Things Network" in a year from now.

Now onto the web track and the session by Tracy Lee titled "The Tale of 3 CLIs - Ember, Angular and React". That is super interesting world of web development. The frameworks, libraries and approaches are countless here. At one end there is obviously HTML, CSS and JavaScript and what is the web browser. How this markup is generated at the backend is the whole different story.

The session on why there is so much buzz about "cli" started from getting the audience more energetic. Everybody stand up! Ten sit ups! OK! Let's go! 

 

There is nothing like live coding at the conference and this session was really impressive. Tracy was doing some live Typescript in Atom and was generating and updating the complete web sites in just few keystrokes.

Now back to the mobile track.

The last session I could attend was the presentation by Bas Knopper on evolutionary algorithms. Bas did a great job of mesmerising the whole audience, showed a little movie how NASA used generic algorithms to design a tiny satellite antenna and showed the "travelling salesman" solution using Go language that seems to be getting a lot of popularity among Java programmers.

 

I'm looking forward to the next year for the another great GDG DevFest conference in the Netherlands!



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