My Topconf Linz 2017 Retrospective

On the 1st and briefly on the 2nd (more on that later) of March I was lucky to attend the Topconf Linz 2017.

I had a really great time and talked to lots of awesome people.

Talks I visited

You can find the full schedule here.

  • (Opening Keynote) Lukáš Ježek — Google’s Load Shedding
  • Ivan Krylov — What to expect from Java 9
  • Armin Ronacher — Rust for Serious Developers
  • Corinna Baldauf — 12 Work Hacks
  • Michael Sperber, Nicole Rauch — The day after tomorrow: Let the machine do the coding
  • Milen Dyankov — What’s NOT new in modular Java?
  • Ben Linders — Spicing Up Agile Retrospectives
  • (Panel discussion) Distributed Development Teams

On day 2 I sadly only made it to:

  • Jürgen Höller — Spring Framework 5: Reactive Microservices on JDK 9

Some Details

I’ll just pick out a few of those talks and share some notes/thoughts:

Load Shedding at Google

Lukáš did a really good job at explaining what the problems were that they faced at Google and how why load shedding is a good idea to tackle those.

Some of the scribbles I made during Lukáš talk

Later I took the chance to talk to Lukáš in person and ask him about if & how someone could implement something like that given a traditional Tomcat Connection-Threadpool etc. It was really nice to be able to pick his brain about that & get some more insights into his work at Google.

Rust for Serious Developers

I was really excited to meet Armin Ronacher in person. I’ve been following his blog for a few years by now and am a user of several of his open-source projects (flask, jinja & click).

I really liked that his talk was enthusiastic about rust, but at the same time his deep knowledge of other programming languages shone through since he referenced similar concepts in other languages a few times.

A definitive plus was also that he didn’t sugar-coat anything, he clearly pointed out where rust has its strengths and weaknesses & why he’s using it.

It definitely gave me another nudge to look at the language in more detail, and all I can say is that besides writing this, I’m currently digging through the documentation of the standard library and playing around with some examples.

If you want to check out rust too, i can highly recommend http://rustbyexample.com

12 Work Hacks

I’ve heard about Sipgate as a great place to work before on an episode of the workingdraft podcast.

This talk of Corrinna Baldauf also let no one doubt that they live and breathe the agile mindset.

This was for sure the talk where my notes looked the best :D

When I got the chance to talk to Corinna later, I just had to ask her if all those beautiful pictures from her talk actually showed her real coworkers and office, because they looked like the shiny stock-photos you see on many companies websites. And it turned out they were of course real :)

The day after tomorrow: Let the machine do the coding

I don’t really have much to say about this, except from 2 things:

  • I expected something totally different (not in a bad way, just because I didn’t check out the talk’s abstract & because of all the machine-learning hype currently)
  • and: holy cow, my head hurt at the end of it. If type-systems like those from Scala or Haskell are what you constantly fantasize about, this talk would have been right up your alley.

Spring Framework 5: Reactive Microservices

Talks from Jürgen Höller are obviously a must-see for any Spring-user on any conference ;)

It was great to get a quick but deep introduction into the world of spring-webflux and the underlying layers.

Afterwards there was a bit of time to pick his brain about advantages & disadvantages of the new system and certain failure-scenarios. It of course turns out that no matter if you use the traditional thread-model (webmvc) or the new reactive (webflux) one, you always need to think about what would happen if certain systems you depend on malfunction. Reactive may make it a bit easier to scale certain things, but is of course no silver-bullet for the “edge cases” that make any system hard to operate in production & under load.

Final Thoughts

Besides the talks, I approach, and was approached by many people. It was great to get some more insights into the topics from presentations, catch up with old friends/colleagues & meet some new people.

Quick shout-out here to Lukas Eder who is always good for a “why do most Hibernate users don’t get ____” discussion and Peter Kofler who just seems omnipresent in anything Programming/Community-related in the Vienna/Linz area ;)

Being able to interact with so many inspiring people in such a short time is definitely the biggest advantage of going to a conference.