On Tuesday 19th April, it was Luminis’ Annual DevCon event at Ede Cinemec. It was my first Luminis DevCon and I was looking forward to it. The event attracted technology professionals from varied backgrounds and domains across the Netherlands. Whether one is an experienced front-end developer or a budding data scientist, there were some interesting takeaways for all techies. Apart from being an excellent opportunity to network with industry professionals, the conference also had sessions on latest technology trends like IoT, Microservices and Automation.
The morning started with the opening keynote by CEO of Luminis, Hans Bossenbroek. The keynote emphasized that software development is an art and developers need to continually improve their craftsmanship in order to produce the best products, an analogy was drawn from basketball, in which players spend countless hours to perfect their ball shooting skills. The talk also touched on the gender disparity that exists in the technology sector, and the huge difference in troubleshooting skills of a highly skilled developer and an average developer both having the same job title at various organizations. This was followed by a talk by Chris Moon.
Chris Moon was invited to deliver an inspirational keynote session on challenging our limits and taking ownership of what we do. Chris is an ex-British Army officer who was working for a charity in East Africa and helping them in clearing land mines when he was blown up in the minefield which resulted in losing his arm and leg. Despite his loss, he continues to inspire people by regularly taking part in marathons across the world and delivering talks on how taking ownership of our actions can bring about a positive impact in our life.
After the keynote, sessions there were multiple parallel sessions and attendees could attend any one depending on their interest, I choose to attend the one on Automation testing of the angular front-end by Robert and Jago from Luminis Technologies, the session focussed on “Protractor” which is an end-to-end test framework for AngularJS applications. The session included live programming by the presenters and discussing various strategies related to testing the applications across various browsers and the plethora of tools available for front-end developers for effectively testing all aspects of an angular application.
The next talk that I was really looking forward to was the “Ingest Node” feature of the ElasticSearch. This new feature is part of ElasticSearch 5.0 which is still in alpha version. Here, at Luminis Amsterdam, we have a lot of experience in ElasticSearch technologies and Byron had also recently written a blog post on the same topic. With the help of this new feature we can now change and enrich the documents while they are being inserted in the ES cluster whereas earlier we required a much more complex setup to achieve the same but now using this Ingest node it becomes straightforward to apply various processors (like pipelines of logstash) for enrichment of incoming documents. This talk was followed by lunch and, thankfully, there was some food stuff for vegetarians as well 🙂
After lunch there was another keynote session “History of Programming” by Mark Rendle, it was light humoured and interesting session on the history of various programming languages, their evolution and how it all started. It also discussed some fascinating paradoxes of the computing world and relation between some of the newer programming languages and idioms with the ones of 60s and 70s. This talk was followed by a talk on Data Science.
“Help! They Dumped a Dataset on Our Doorstep” , this talk was presented by Richard Berendsen, who is also my colleague at Luminis Amsterdam, this talk provided insights into various steps required to extract information from a dataset and each step had a correlated code sample. Starting from data cleaning, data exploration, prediction task formulation, evaluation and setup thus the steps every data scientist needs to take in order to extract information which might be of interest for the business. The talk also touched upon the necessary tools like jupyter (python notebook) and various python libraries like panda, numpy and scikit. The talk definitely motivated me to improve my python and data science skills.
For the last talk I choose to attend the talk “KNWU RaceDirector (How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Trust Blackboards)”, this was an interesting post as it discussed how to develop a hybrid web/desktop application. The bicycle racing domain itself presented a challenge for the developers as the domain itself is esoteric with its own set of challenges. The presenter, Angelo, talked about how the application state and rules were created from events coming from the race, use of blackboard pattern which itself is not very common and how technologies like Angular, OSGi, Amdatu along with blackboard pattern came together for the getting the application up and running in a matter of weeks.
After the talks were over there were drinks and an opportunity to network with developers from across the Netherlands, share ideas and their opinions on various talks. It was a day well spent and looking forward to the DevCon next year.
Useful Links –
DevCon Program Schedule with Bio of speakers – https://devcon.luminis.eu/#program
Github Repo for “Help! They Dumped a Dataset on Our Doorstep” – https://github.com/luminis-ams/devcon-2016-rb