2014-05-16

GeeCON 2014 summary

As a java company we think going to arguably the best java conference in Poland (and definitely the most community driven one) was a must. Fresh from the train back home, I thought a summary would be in order.

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If not for the content itself, the 3 days in Krakow were a great bonding experience for us. As always though, the content was of high quality. I will summarise the talks that I have found personally the most appealing.



1. Kevlin Henney - "Seven Ineffective Coding Habits of Many Java Programmers"
This was a classic keynote material, perhaps more suited for a keynote then the following speech that Kevlin has delivered later on the same day. Extremely entertaining, the audience was kept alive for the whole speech duration. Many jokes kept everyone fresh while Kevlin enumerated the most "ineffective coding habits of java programmers". Some suggestions were probably perceived by most as rather controversive (i.e. putting the opening curly bracket in the next line), but all held up tight with strong arguments behind them.

This talk (even though not technical) touched on an important aspect of every coders life - how to make your code readable, which is something we struggle with even while reading our own code. In my opinion a good keynote is light, inspiring, entertaining yet thought provoking and this is exactly what this talk was.

2. Kevlin Henney - "Worse Is Better, for Better or for Worse"
Kevlin's keynote was also a great talk, though I'd switch the two around if it was for me. A great talk nonetheless, explaining how "worse is better" should be understood. The suggested philosophy was to (quite unlike the name suggests) focus on quality and fully implementing selected features, instead of going for a "feature complete" software. Not as entertaining, but equally thought provoking talk - another great one from Kevlin.

3. Johan Haleby - "Feel at ease and REST Assured"
This talk explored Johan's "REST Assured" framework for testing REST services. It was delivered with a perfect tempo and featured tons of code samples and short demos of how the framework works. Cool features with a very natural and clean syntax - I am looking forward to checking out the framework back home :) I really like Johan's presenting style - well paced talk with a lot of sample code to help grasp the basic and more advanced concepts offered by "REST Assured". Kudos!

4. Kirk Pepperdine - "Looking To Better Concurrency in Java 8"
Kirk touched on many interesting aspects of performance in Java (and in context of how PCs work internally), however never got into any details or haven't even fully explained what stand behind suggested concepts. This was perhaps due to the lack of time, but I found the talk hard to follow. Many interesting features shown though, so overall a solid talk for it's short time constraint :)

5. Peter Lawrey - "GC Free Coding"
Peter has an interesting presenting style - very calm and serene, down to the fact with many pauses. I was fairly tired after the previous day's party and this made me feel a little bit sleepy. Do not get me wrong though, Peter's talk was not boring, but, for lack of a better word, well planned and delivered.
Peter investigated many ways to keep garbage amount low in order to minimize the full GC, how and when to profile and some interesting and more or less hackish attempts to keep garbage from growing in the identified critical sections. Great talk!

6. Tom Enebo - "Modding Minecraft with a dash of Ruby"
I always enjoy Tom's talks - he keeps it fresh and entertaining. How else could it be if he was talking about modding Minecraft. Tom has started of with his first experience with the game, where he tried to dig down as far as he could, only to realise that the tools in the game decay when his pickaxe broke. Left stranded in a deep hole (after restarting the game he was in the same spot with no pickaxe) he decided to write a GoodbyeWorld mod that would allow him to "/die" :)

The talk followed with more madness, hooking up into events in order to spawn thousands of chickens or creating a huge TNT explosion. Great one by Tom!

The conference itself was very neatly organised. Kudos to the team.

Here is the short ranking of the 3 best talks as elected by our team:

1. Kevlin Henney - Seven Ineffective Coding Habits of Many Java Programmers
2. Jurgen Appelo - The 7 Duties of Great Software Professionals
3. Tom Enebo - Modding Minecraft with a dash of Ruby