Monthly Archives: November 2013

Øredev and NDC

Three weeks ago I was at Øredev conference in Sweden and had a great time there. I just wanted to share few thoughts about it. I won’t dive into specific talks, as there were simply too many. Just my general impression – what I liked, and what in my opinion didn’t work.

Øredev is well established, big, Scandinavian software conference. It’s held in Malmö, Sweden and this year the venue was Slagthuset – old butcher house. Really liked that place. Nice looking, spacy, wheelchair friendly.

Speaker list was long, but it kinda lacked big names. There were some rock stars, but not as many, as compared to similar in size NDC. Also level of
talks varied – some of them were awesome, but also there were some that just sucked. I liked (and wrote about already) that my new toy – F# (and
functional programming in general) were so well represented.

Usually during conferences you meet lot of great people, and Øredev was no different. I was told by people, who attended previous edition, that creating great environment for sharing knowledge has always been very important for organizers. And also – we had quite large Polish Crew, which made whole event even funnier.

Øredev usually has some theme, and this year this was “arts”. It had potential, but I think it was pulled too far. Some talks felt forcefully “artified” to match it. Also keynotes were more focused on arts, than software, which made them also “weird” and in my opinion mostly unsuccessful. I don’t think software conference realy need theme, especially if it come out so unnaturally.

I also had a chance to attend NDC earlier this year, and it’s hard not to compare those conferences. They’are similar in size, both held in Scandinavian cities with big software communities. Speaker list looked more impressive and talks were on higher level in general. NDC also had area, where you could watch talks when you were undecided. 8 screens (one for each track), you just grabbed headset, and you could switch between sessions. Now, this is slightly controversial – because you don’t get direct contact with speakers. But when you were tired and really undecided, this was good place to just take nap or switch between session to pick one. What I also liked about NDC is that there where no designated lunch times. Food was there all the time – continous delivery ;).

NDC forked this year, and there will be another instance in London. I won’t be there, but maybe you should try?

On the final note, I have subjective feeling, that I had much more fun during Oredev. In this place, I would really like to thank Emily Holweck, who made this trip possible. She convinced me to come, and helped me overcome all medical obstacles I had. She’s very committed to making Øredev great, and I believe this also impacted why I had so much fun there. Because at the end of the day it’s all about people.

Lots of love for F# during Øredev

Last week I had tons of fun (and learning!) at Øredev conference in Malmö, Sweden. My full writeup is still yet to come, but as videos are popping up, I’d like to show you how well F# and functional programming in general were represented during conference. On second day, you could do a streak of 3 F# talks one after another!

This are links to talk pages, where you can find video (or in some cases not – hope it will pop up soon), grouped by presenters, sorted randomly. Let’s start with F# focused links:

And off to less F#, but still interesting functional talks:

Bodil also gave talk on implementing your own lisp (in Clojure, of course) at nearby Foo Cafe. This was pretty hardcore, and I didn’t get much from it. But it was recorded, so smarter people will probably make use of that.

As you can see, lots of functional love. As always you could always hang out with speakers between/after sessions and ask them (in my case) some lame questions or see them hacking around. Great fun, and good opportunity to learn new stuff.

Progressive F# Tutorials in London

Yesterday I went for a crazy trip to London. At least most people would call that, because for me it was perfect. It had all I like – flying planes, meeting great people and learning new stuff. I woke up at 3 to catch 6 AM flight to London. Then take a train to center, took part in Prog F# Tutorials and then went back to airport to get on 8 PM flight. I was back home around midnight.

Prog F# Tutorials are two day F# conference organized by Skills Matter. In agenda you could find almost all the rock-stars of F# world – Don Syme, Phillip Trelford, Richard Minerich, Rachel Reese, Robert Pickering, Jon Harrop and Simon Cousins.  Unfortunately, I could only attend first day due to medical procedure planned for today, but one day is always better then none.

First talk by Jon Harrop was about adopting F# by large insurance company. He talked about what are best ways to convince people to start using F#, what worked, and what didn’t. I would like this session to be more technical, but there were still few interesting points he mentioned. After that, public split into two rooms. In main one, Rich was live coding (with help of audience) to solve Bank OCR Kata. It was entertaining, and quite interesting to see how someone puts his F# knowledge to solve problems. The other group were solving F# Koans with Rachel Reese. After lunch went to Rachel’s workshop “From Zero to Data Science”. Based on tutorials, you can find on tryfsharp.org, we were “learning by solving” some extra tasks Rachel prepared for us. For beginner like me, some of them were really challenging. Another difficulty proved to be tryfsharp.org’s capacity. Around 100 people trying stuff out there killed the server and it started throwing 503s. Anyway, this was my favorite session of the whole day. In second room Robert Pickering was doing his Undertone session. And to wrap up, Phillip did quick talk about using F# in finance. Unfortunately I didn’t get to see Don Syme’s talk planned for the morning. He got stuck in Germany and didn’t get on time. Bummer, cause I anticipated this one the most.

The whole thing took place in the crypt below old church (this was Halloween! :)). This is so great place to host conference, so different than standard grey rooms. The only problem was, that it was not really wheelchair accessible. But Theo and his Skills Matter crew helped me get there. From logistics point of view everything went pretty great. There were constantly resupplied snacks and coffee, tasty lunch and beer for the end. Wifi worked with some issues, but it hold pretty well, considering over 100 people doing queries against tryfsharp.org.

To sum up – this was a good day. I am okay to travel halfway through Europe to get to events like that. I only wish I could also be there on second day, but maybe next year. I am really happy, that I met in person and talked to some F# pros, whom before that day I only followed on twitter. And Skills matter crew are awesome, and I definitely will look to attend their events in future.

BTW, if you are based in London are into F#, check out this meetup group.