Last year saw the birth of Sunny Tech in Montpellier, South of France. This second edition brought together nearly 500 participants (sold-out) to enjoy 50 conferences and workshops over 5 tracks. The 2-day event covered many tech topics from Software Architecture to DevOps and UX to Data Science.
What sets Sunny Tech apart, in addition to a great line-up, is the relaxed atmosphere surrounding this summer conference. In between talks, participants can spend time outdoors in a great little park to discuss together.
This uniqueness was taken to the next level due to the record breaking heat wave that struck the south of France during the 2 days! See for yourself:
Despite the heat, this edition was a success and confirmed how active the tech scene is in Montpellier.
Once again Teads strongly supported the event through sponsorship and by having 3 of us volunteering in the organization. If you couldn’t make it this year, here is a selection of talks handpicked by the team.
Unfortunately the talk from one of our speakers, Roch Dardie, about Akka typed wasn’t recorded. And, it wouldn’t do him justice to only describe it here.
How to get hacked! (Comment se faire hacker bien comme il faut!)
Julien reviews major web security breaches in an interactive live-coding session. He demonstrates and discusses the OWASP top ten security vulnerabilities and how to prevent them. Apart from being a great speaker, Julien uses a real-world example and some storytelling to illustrate each case and shows the code behind it.
What’s great is that, as the talk advances, he progressively covers more complex cases in a very smooth way. Overall, his talk is of great value and packed with best practices. If you’re not a web security expert yet, you should definitely have a look at it!
Let’s learn about code reviews, again
Tristan was the first of our 4 speakers to be on stage during the event. He talks about how everybody has an idea on what a code review is, but might want to reconsider how to do it. In fact, many find code reviews to be a pain: time consuming, blocking production or even superfluous due to subjective comments. Sometimes it’s also hard to feel confident enough to comment on someone else’s code and bring constructive feedback.
In his talk, Tristan reminds the purpose of doing code reviews and several principles to apply to make them useful and efficient. He also describes how code reviews are organized at Teads and how we try to make them as profitable as possible for all parties involved.
Tensorflow: there’s no spoon (English talk)
Tiffany’s talk starts with a reference to the iconic scene from The Matrix “There is no spoon” to illustrate how to fool a machine learning system to make it classify a cat as a spoon. She then introduces how neural networks work and their limitations. By adding noise to an image, in a very subtle manner, we can influence the classification that a model will output. With a little bit of work, a bus and a dog can be classified as a spoon by the model, even worse, a turtle can be interpreted as a rifle and vice versa.
Then she introduces GANs (Generative Adversarial Networks). Appeared in 2014, these unsupervised models use two networks that are in competition: a discriminator, that takes samples of true and generated data and tries to classify them, and a generator that is trained to fool the discriminator.
Recently, some “deepfake” generators received a lot of attention like thispersondoesnotexist.com. Based on substantial datasets, these generators are able to create human faces that are already impossible to separate from a genuine portrait. Scary, but Tiffany stresses that, ultimately, GANs could help us explore new frontiers currently inaccessible because of research costs, in drug discovery for example.
We really enjoyed this talk as it dives into technical details using advanced notions, while still being accessible with no machine learning background.
In between Standardization and Craftsmanship, the job of a software developer (Entre industrialisation et artisanat, le métier de développeur)
A captivating talk about software engineering fundamentals. As always with Arnaud, the topics he covers resonate with a wide audience. Here are a few quotes from the session.
- He starts with a discussion around data models which all comes down to this: “Essentially, all models are wrong, but some are useful”.
- Relationship challenges between product and development are also covered: “What goes in production is what developers understood”.
- He gives an interesting point about feedback loop sizes often defining the cost of our projects.
- Followed by a small break on debunking a Cargo Cult “Overquality, it doesn’t exist” emphasized by: “Today’s quality is tomorrow’s productivity”.
He finishes off with an ode to rebellion against project management purists. A must-see.
Our Infrastructure Director of Engineering, Damien, was also on stage to share the journey of our on-call team, ensuring the availability of our platform when everybody is sleeping. In this quick session, he presents the different steps the team took and the challenges they had to overcome. From creating a specific on-call organisation, to documentation headaches and post-mortem practices.
Finally, he details our current organisation, why we choose to pair people to be on-call together and potential next steps to keep up with the growth of the engineering at Teads.
UX + Data = ❤
Emmanuelle dives into how data analysis changed the way she approaches user experience experiments. What is particularly interesting is that she demonstrates how it’s possible to collect a lot of actionable data even when companies are not focused on that.
In her examples, she shows how analysing comments on social media or ecommerce sites could help in making important product decisions (e.g. organize the Just Dance music tracks according to their Youtube views). She also covers accessible tools (Wordart, orange3) and methods to quickly obtain some insights. Overall, a really dense talk filled with concrete examples and great resources.
Feedback from 3 years of Event Sourcing (REX de Trois années d’Event Sourcing)
A talk on event sourcing architectures in the banking industry. As opposed to many talks praising Event Sourcing and CQRS, Haythem and Nizar give an honest and constructive feedback on what worked and the challenges they had along the way.
Their talk is quite interesting for audiences looking to move to an Event Sourcing architecture. They discuss their own mistakes and share illustrated lessons learned from the trenches, which is always appreciated.
Redux, it’s hard to keep it simple (Redux, c’est compliqué de faire simple)
by Fabien Bernard — Slides from the conference
Our third speaker, Fabien, was on stage the second day to talk about Redux! In only a few years, Redux has established itself as the major library for managing web application state. It holds great promises: helping us develop applications that are easy to test and have a predictable behavior.
Based on seemingly simple principles, Redux brings a few questions to the table. Fabien covers them in his talk: how to structure your State, how to manage side effects, etc. He details best practices as well as antipatterns to help make the most out of the library.
Build a Metrics platform for OVH
This is the kind of talk where you come to hear a story, and Horacio is very talented at that. He tells us about the journey of OVH’s metrics platform, which is massive at their scale (300k physical servers to observe).
His talk covers technical challenges and the components the platform uses (Hadoop, Warp10, Flink) but what’s particularly interesting is that he discusses change management challenges. How they managed to convince all the other teams at OVH to abandon their own metrics systems in production before launching the tool externally for their clients. Quite an achievement.
Back to the feature
A great conference setting the basis for a new organization model for recruitment teams. Shirley and Olivier show how the feature team model can be used and adapted to recruitment and HR. They discuss about involving developers at each and every step of their life in the company. Be it on the recruitment process, newcomers onboarding or even in roles definitions. They give a lot of insights to avoid bad surprises and cultural misfits, anticipate turnover and really step-up HR processes.
That’s it for this second edition, we hope you find the selection inspiring.
Sunny Tech 2019 confirmed that we can count on Montpellier for great Tech Conferences. Thanks to all who made it possible: volunteers, partners, sponsors and attendees of course.