CraftConf 15 experience report

Phew, what a week, final­ly back in the UK after a good few days in Budapest for Craft­Conf. What a beau­ti­ful city and what a great con­fer­ence.

On a per­son­al lev­el it’s been a good trip, caught up with some old friends, and met some new ones. Big thanks to Adam Granicz and the love­ly folks of Intel­li­Fac­to­ry for show­ing us a good time and the Budapest night life, it was a blast!

I also caught up with Mar­tin Klepp­mann whom I met at dev/winter/2015 and found out about the book he’s been work­ing on — Design­ing Data-Inten­sive Appli­ca­tions — which gives you an overview of just about every­thing you need to be aware of in that space.

The Venue & Food

As a whole, Budapest is a beau­ti­ful city with plen­ty to see, and the views at night is breath­tak­ing. The con­fer­ence is host­ed at one of the prime loca­tions in Budapest — the Várk­ert Bazar. It was recent­ly ren­o­vat­ed (at a great cost as locals kept telling us!) and only open to pub­lic since last Sep­tem­ber.

The food at the con­fer­ence was one of the best I’ve had at any con­fer­ence. They even served seafood at lunch, seafood!

The Talks

There were some real­ly good talks at the con­fer­ence, I had to make some tough choic­es. For­tu­nate­ly all the talks were record­ed and also streamed live on the con­fer­ence web­site thanks to the uStream guys. Based on what I’ve been told, the record­ings should be avail­able as ear­ly as this week­end.

I took plen­ty of notes dur­ing the ses­sions I attend­ed (see below) and would write up my key take­aways from each over the next few weeks, so watch this space!

  • Scal­ing micro-ser­vices at Gilt (Adri­an Tre­na­man)
  • Jepsen IV: Hope Springs Eter­nal (Kyle Kings­bury)
  • Archi­tec­ture with­out an end state (Michael Nygard)
  • Con­cur­ren­cy: It’s Hard­er (and Eas­i­er) Than You Think (Paul Butch­er)
  • Beyond Fea­tures: Rethink­ing Agile Plan­ning and Track­ing (Dan North)
  • The Hid­den Dimen­sion of Refac­tor­ing (Michael Feath­ers)
  • Why is an API like a pup­py? (Ade­wale Oshin­eye)
  • Microser­vices AntiPat­terns (Tam­mer Saleh)

My per­son­al favourite talk was Kyle Kingsbury’s Jepsen IV: Hope Springs Eter­nal. Not only did Kyle pit var­i­ous NoSQL prod­ucts against their out­landish claims and put them to the knife, he also pro­vid­ed a nice frame­work for you to thank and rea­son about the dif­fer­ent prop­er­ties a con­sis­ten­cy mod­el can give you. If you enjoyed Kyle’s post Call me maybe : Elas­tic­search then you’ll love this talk.

The not-so-great

My over­all expe­ri­ence of Craft­Conf was great, but there are two things which I hope they’ll improve on in the future:

  • lack of func­tion­al pro­gram­ming talks, I saw a total of two talks that are FP-relat­ed
  • almost all the talks are very high-lev­el and few showed any code

Whilst I appre­ci­ate that the con­fer­ence focus­es on crafts­man­ship, so it’s nat­ur­al for the talks to stay high-lev­el. In my opin­ion, expos­ing atten­dees to non-main­stream par­a­digms (FP, log­ic pro­gram­ming, AOP, stack-ori­ent­ed) would also serve to improve their craft. After all, what bet­ter way to expand your hori­zon than to learn your­self a new par­a­digm?

CraftConf vs CodeMesh

In terms of con­tent, Craft­Conf is a great con­fer­ence to go and get inspired. But, if you’re look­ing for a con­fer­ence where you can find out about emerg­ing tech­nolo­gies and lan­guages (and have your brain hurt after two days) then you should come to Lon­don in Novem­ber for CodeMesh.

If Craft­Conf is a con­fer­ence for soft­ware engi­neer­ing and crafts­man­ship, then CodeMesh is a con­fer­ence for com­put­er sci­ence.