Lucky me won a ticket for this years WeAreDevelopers 2017 conference in Vienna from a ticket lottery by karriere.at, yay! Then also Patrick got a ticket from Usersnap and we were really looking forward to it! Since the event took place on two days, we booked a room via airbnb.
The program – promising!
The program looked very promising, the talks had interesting headlines and there were speakers from very interesting companies, including ÖBB (Austrian railway), Google, Uber and so on.
Here is the schedule. In case the site is removed, I also took pictures of the programme:
We arrived around 9 which was some time before the main program started. Although they served breakfast at the location before that, there was still a very long queue waiting to get in. It didn’t look like the arrival of people was very well handled. After we got in, we immediately headed for the yellow stage, because we planned to see the talk “Challenges of Autonomous Driving”, but there was no chance to get in. The yellow stage was already more than full.
We checked the green and the main stage – also full! The queue in front of the coffee machines – very long!
From day 1 I don’t remember many positive things with few exceptions. I don’t want to point out any bad talks since for me it’s impressive that people get up there and talk in front of so many people. But what stays in mind is that there were many talks I couldn’t see because there was not enough space, many of the talks had misleading titles or the content was very, very generic. If the description of the talk contains “big data” I expect more than “If you have big data you need to deal with all the data and you need to know what to do and blah blah.” Almost everyone mentioned Apache Spark, so why isn’t there a lecture about it if it’s so cool?
But there were also some highlights on day 1!
How Different Open Hardware is to Open Software
Genta Kondo from Japan presented a 3D-printed bionic hand for which the design data is publicly available so everyone can participate in developing. He also talked about the difficulties of developing “open hardware” in comparison to open software! Here is the link to the project if you are interested: exiii hackberry.
Repository Data Mining on GitHub
I thought it was awesome that there was a talk given by students. And it was really interesting because it gave a lot more details than many of the other talks! The students presented their implementation and results of the competition InformatiCup. The goal was to classify GitHub repositories (open source, documentation, …) based on the content of the repository.
Here are the links from the last slide:
Sani Yusuf – Ionic: Updating Mobile Apps Without The App Store
We switched to this session after it had already started. I should have been there from the beginning! I experimented a little bit with ionic last year and I think it’s a really impressive alternative to building native apps. The speaker did not only speak about how to update mobile apps without deploying the update to the app store, but he also mentioned lots of helpful things I didn’t know yet about development with ionic.
Changing strategy at day 2
We changed our strategy at day 2. Since most of the talks about data science, big data and machine learning had been disappointing, we decided to stick with the developer track on the main stage.
We watched the following talks and they were all pretty interesting:
Håkon Wium Lie – The World & CSS
Fun and informative talk by the founder of CSS!
— Christoph Rumpel (@christophrumpel) May 12, 2017
Harry Roberts – Refactoring CSS Without Losing Your Mind
Harry Roberts was talking mostly about CSS but many of the great tips also sounded applicable to other languages/projects!
Ire Aderinokun – Progressive Enhancement & CSS
Ire Aderinokun gave a talk about Progressive Enhancement & CSS. Here are slides to a very similar talk! I enjoyed the use of memes, emojis and of course the content 🙂
Eva Lettner – Paint the Web with CSS
Felix Krause – Scaling Open Source Communities
The highlight on this day was the talk given by Felix Krause about scaling open source communities. It was very interesting (check out this blog post, most of the content is there) to hear from someone with first hand experience how to deal with the responsibility of owning and managing a large project on github (he is the creator of fastlane). Although not many of us have such large projects on github, it’s also interesting to understand as a user how much work it is to deal with our issues and pull requests. This talk was really inspiring!
Food & Drinks
Snacks, coffee and drinks (water and energy drinks) were provided most of the time free of charge. The queues in front of the coffee machines were rather long and this was also the topic of many complaints. There were also food trucks if you wanted sausages, burgers or other fast food.
We bought food at two of the foodtrucks:
In general I liked that there were food trucks with a variety of different food options. But I also understand that the people who had to be there all the time (supervising a company booth) had to deal with a lot of fatty smells which is not so nice.
So, to sum it up, the feelings I have about the two days are mixed. The organization, especially the handling of such large masses of people (queues and stage sizes), could definitely be improved. Also the quality of some talks could have been better. But there were lots of interesting companies and speakers (and some goodies) and I learned at least a few new things.