On May 25th, I had the pleasure of attending the first 010DEV* event in Rotterdam. It was a beautiful, hot sunny day – certainly too hot to make the mistake I did, which was to walk 3km in the wrong direction on the way to the venue! – and my hopes were high for some good presentations. Happily, that’s what I got.
There were technical difficulties with the projector, so three people got up to do 1 minute lightning talks on various subjects. It was the second indication this event was a relaxed, fairly informal affair where the audience was separated from the speakers by about 2 meters of floor space. The first indication was the venue being the upstairs room of the excellent Locus Publicus bar.
Indication three arrived shortly after, when the the projector was abandoned and various laptops, iPads and smartphones were pulled out to view the presentation on. More on this in a separate blog post.
Trisha Gee: Concurrent Programming Using The Disruptor
First up with an official talk was Trisha Gee, with her talk on “Concurrent Programming Using The Disruptor”. I’ve been aware of the Disruptor for quite a while, but had never got around to using it. It’s a solution to the problem of inter-thread messaging that is very simple to use, and has an amazing amount of hardware-level knowledge coded into it in order to maximise performance. I’m not even going to attempt to go into the hardware detail here, to avoid embarrasing myself.
Seeing the presentation, which laid out the concepts and usage of it very clearly, made me resolve to try it out – which I did a few days later when I had to write a RESTful fire-and-forget logging service, and the performance was bloody amazing given the all-of-five-minutes I spent integrating the Disruptor into it.
This presentation generated a lot of questions, which (to me) showed a lot of people were paying a lot of attention. Possibly it’s because concurrent programming in Java was a pain the arse for years and then between the Disruptor and Akka, two great systems come along at once.
Presentation 1 TL;DR – Trisha Gee good presenter. Disruptor also good, use now.
Peter Hilton: In search of the perfect programmer
Following the hardcore geek-out of the Disruptor, Peter Hilton’s presentation was decidedly on the softer side of the technical spectrum. Taking the starting point that the only pre-requisite for programmers is the ability to code, he explored various personality traits, business roles and physiological attributes – mathematician, mechanic, girl, kung-fu master, brewer – that can impact on how software development can be approached.
It was an interesting approach that encouraged looking at the attributes of people and roles whose skillsets and approaches are different to our own. Unfortunately, this interesting approach is bloody hard to blog about! Take my word for it – it was unusual and interesting.
Presentation 2 TL;DR – Peter Hilton also good presenter. We can all learn and grow our skills by looking at those different to ourselves.
Sidenote: The world is getting smaller
I already knew two of the three organisers of 010DEV – Peter Hilton and Nicolas Leroux. The third organiser – Anna Goś- had a name that was familiar to me, but it clearly wasn’t the person I was thinking of because she worked at the Polish office of a start-up I worked for in England a few years ago. At one point during the evening, it transpired it was in fact the same person. This follows the revelation during Devoxx that Nicolas (originally from the South of France, now living in Rotterdam) lived about 5 miles from where I grew up in Wales when he was a student. The world feels like it’s getting smaller every time I go to one of these events!
* Until I realised that 010 is the area code for Rotterdam, I thought it was a binary reference. I need to get out more.