Recommended by developers: Analysis of Game of Thrones, making own instruments and raspberry cookies

Monika Trojanová
Aug 24, 2017 · 6 min read

Three developers revealed which trends will influence their work as well as YOUR own soon.

Christophe Willemsen: The Neo4j number 1


Christophe is a Principal Consultant at GraphAware, the world’s #1 Neo4j consultancy. He travels around the world helping clients to become successful with graph database technologies and lecturing. This year in Prague!

Is there any current trend you see important and useful for the near future of your domain?

Yes, Voice User Interfaces are in my opinion the future as well as text and intent understanding applications. Knowledge Graphs will become also dominant database use cases in the next years.

What is your favorite ​product​/tool​/thing that you wish you have designed ​or​ developed ​or​ made?

A powerful and fine grained notification system for Github, I am on it :)

Do you have any recent personal ​project​ or ​blog post​ or ​photo​ you would like to share with us?

Yes, I am very active in Natural Language Processing, chatbots and Amazon Alexa development, here is a blog post about analysing the text of the Game Of Thrones books to gather insights. I am currently developing the questions / answers part that will be available as Slackbot in the next weeks.

What else are you looking forward this year?

Well the most interesting is already passed as my daughter was born in April, so the second interesting event will be attending GithubUniverse this year. I am living holidays all the year in Southern Italy. :)

Topic: Voice-Driven Interfaces with Neo4j and Amazon Alexa

This lecture is your ticket to the future. The era of touch will soon end and be replaced by voice-controlled interface. Christophe mentions referral systems, chatbots, and graph databases. During his interactive lecture, he will show us how a Web Conference Assistant can be developed. How long will it take this bot to join our staff?

Mark Robbins: The (email) REBEL

Mark’s mission is clear: to change people’s view about e-mail. From simple plain text, he is able to create a fully interactive microsite. With the RebelMail system, Mark has already helped a huge number of brands, and big e-mail clients often consult him. That’s why we’re glad he’s coming to WebExpo … and he found some free time for an interview with us, too.

Is there any current trend you see important and useful for the near future of your domain?

I think interactive email has the potential to dramatically change the email landscape. We’re already seeing people buying products and writing reviews without leaving the inbox, I’m hoping to see more and more of these quick conversions moving over to the inbox.

What is your favorite thing that you wish you have designed/developed/made?

I love the email testing tools that pull in screenshots from a number of different email clients, like Litmus or Email on acid. They work really well and save a huge amount of time.

Do you have any recent personal ​project​​ you would like to share with us?

I don’t have any code projects ready to share just yet. But when I’m not writing code I like to build my own instruments. Here’s a picture of an amplifier, speaker and folding travel guitar I’ve built.

What else are you looking forward this year?

I was hoping to visit Japan later this year but having just bought a flat, money is a bit tight. So I’d say I’m looking forward to doing some work on the new flat.

Topic: Interactive email

Do you send a tons of emails to your users that they never open? It’s time to move forward! Mark will show us at WebExpo almost all the possibilities to simplify and most importantly, to transform our communication with the customer into a fun game for both sides. Just by using CSS.

Maude Lemaire

Does Slack make communication in your company easier? This is thanks to Maude, among others. She is the developer of the backend, who is responsible for scaling the product. In her words, she spends her time “chasing people down”. We had the chance to chat with Maude.

Is there any current trend you see important and useful for the near future of your domain?

There’s a lot to pick from: bots, computer vision, software giants becoming even more giant. One important but dangerous trend that’s been gaining traction of late is the push to add an internet connection to absolutely everything (commonly known as the Internet of Things).

Although these devices appear simple and harmless on the surface, they are notoriously easy to hack, and will most likely be an important point of entry for all sorts of malicious software in the near future. Given insufficient barriers between these gadgets and our phones or computers, we are our putting our data and privacy at risk.

Security has always been a huge concern for old-school embedded engineers but seems to have been forgotten in this new world order — we need to put serious consideration into how these devices interact and how to lock them down sooner rather than later.

What is your favorite thing that you wish you have designed/developed/made?

A few weeks ago, I completely gave up on Sublime Text. It was crashing up to three times per day — probably because I had too many extensions running every time I saved a file. I noticed that a few of my teammates had switched to using Visual Studio Code so I decided to give it a try. It hasn’t crashed _once_ in over two months. All of the extensions I needed were available, and I was even able to set up Sublime Text shortcuts with a single click. Microsoft may not have the most stellar reputaiton for their general consumer software, but they certainly know how to write robust developer tools.

Do you have any recent personal ​project​​ you would like to share with us?

Work’s been pretty busy for the past few months as more customers are pushing the limits of what our infrastructure can handle, but in the meantime I’ve perfected my raspberry cookie recipe. Here it is!

5 cups all-purpose flour
0.5 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
A pinch of salt
0.75 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 egg
1 egg yolk
7 oz of frozen raspberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit or 190 degree Celsius. Place parchment paper on a large baking tray. In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and salt.

In another bowl, mix butter with brown sugar and granulated sugar. Add the egg and egg yolk. Mix until the substance is even throughout. Add dry ingredients and raspberries. Cover and let sit for 20 to 30 minutes.

Form small lumps of dough and place evenly on baking tray. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the cookies are lightly golden on top and still tender in the center.

I’ve also been working on a short piece about refactoring core functionality across a large, monolithic codebase for a few weeks now that I hope to wrap up soon.

Good luck with that! What will be your reward after having finished?

Blade Runner 2049. I’m love sci-fi flicks, and I have high hopes for this sequel. I’m also partial to Denis Villeneuve.

What Maude is going to speak about: Say yes to premature optimizations

When you speak about premature optimization, Backenders become more scared than Michael Jackson of sunbathing. But they shouldn’t! Maude will change your opinion, if you don’t believe it yet, by giving you some tricks on how to become an expert, able to lead the most avid opponents to premature optimization.

Mark the 22–23 September in your calendars and buy your ticket.

Looking forward to WebExpo? Do you have questions or comments? Feel free to write to us on Twitter. We’re happy to help!

Monika Trojanová

Written by

Copy, tedy jsem.



Glimpse behind the scenes of preparations for the conference WebExpo 2018 (Prague, September 21-22, 2018)

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