CraftConf 15 experience report

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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.

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