Brief history about the event
This year was the first time Voxxed Days event was happening in Singapore held on 2nd June 2017. Launched in 2015, the event is gaining popularity worldwide for its close association with the tech community. It is branded as the international conference for developers. It provides opportunity for developers to get close with world renowned speakers & industry experts. The topics covered in general at the Voxxed days events include Server side Java, java language, Cloud & Big data, Programming Languages, Architecture, Methodology etc. The Singapore event being the first, was a good opportunity for organizers to put their best foot forward and make it a grand success. Lets see if they managed to do it or not.
I was part of a small group of people from our organization who were in charge of manning the booth we had setup. Our organization was one of the platinum sponsor for the event. As a result of this I had the opportunity to visit the location one day in advance in order to setup our booth. All the other sponsors were also setting up their booths as the event was scheduled to start at 8 AM on the Friday morning.
Our group spent about couple of hours to organize the flyers into a nice goodies bag along with the organizers. We also setup the booth with all the stuff we had at our disposal. Next to our booth there was Pivotal and on the opposite lane there were Google & Redhat booths. Everyone seemed so excited about the next days events.
The event started with a brief introduction by Alan Menant about the schedule which was split into 3 different tracks & where the rooms were located & how to access them.
Then there was memento presented to all the sponsors of the event. And the stage was set for the rest of the day. The big room was completely full with more than 300 participants. Including speakers & organizers it was more than 350 people in the same room.
Rajesh Lingappa from Redmart kicked off the proceedings with his keynote speech. He presented the approach used by Redmart in their quest to achieve the fully automated Continuous Delivery pipeline.
The message from his presentation was that in order to achieve high flexibility of deploying multiple times during the day to Production, we need to automate as much as possible. Along with automation testing thoroughly to have confidence in the changes being deployed is also of paramount importance.
The second half of the keynote was by Guillaume Laforge on IT holy wars. His was a different perspective on various aspects related to software development including programming languages (Java vs C#), IDE (Intelli J vs Eclispse), indentation (4 spaces vs Tabs) and many such facets which only programmers / developers can relate to. The message from Guillaume was that in spite of all the differences we must keep moving forward and deliver quality software. It does not matter if we use Java or C# as our programming language. As long as we address the customer needs and can solve the business problems it is ok to have differences in opinion. In the hindsight it makes sense. If everyone was using the same standards / languages / tools / approaches our life as developers would have been quite robotic & boring.
The Sessions which I attended
Following the keynote, there were 3 tracks which were running in parallel. Attendees were free to chose which session they wanted to attend and could switch in between if they did not find the content relevant to them. I attended following sessions.
Reactive Microservices on the JVM with Vert.x by Burr Sutter
The session started with Burr asking couple of volunteers to hold very small sensors in their hands which were sending some information related to the temperature in the room to programs running on the speakers laptop. From sensors Burr moved onto to Reactive Microservices space and the demo with some web app running a game inside the browser was played by many participants. The dynamic nature of configurations reflecting immediately on the players involved was very well demonstrated and highly appreciated by the audience. It was one of the most energetic demo I had seen for my entire career.
Cloud Native Java by Josh Long
I am relatively new to the Java world. I had heard few words of praise for Josh Long from the guys who were involved with Java development for long time. His demo was full of funny moments with very subtle sarcastic remarks about people who are still outdated with the technical advances in Java. At one point during the demo Josh posed for the photographer and brought the whole floor down with his hilarious comments. For those who know the game of cricket it was almost as if listening to Geoffrey Boycott doing a cricket commentary. When Josh said “My grandma knows how to do xyz, we are in 2017, who does abc nowadays?”, it was almost reminiscent of the way Sir Geoffrey Boycott would have said “My grandma can hit that juicy full toss for a six”. At times it looked as if Josh was overboard with his energy levels. But then with the kind of live demos that he showed he could very well afford to do that and much more. If I compare him with some of the renowned speaker from Microsoft world, Josh would be like 3 times more faster to talk and to type compared to my favorite Scott Hanselman. Within a week or so of the voxxed days event, I saw a Twitter post with both Scott & Josh together. It was like two legends from Microsoft & Java world were having a union.
Mesos vs Kubernetes vs Swarm: Fight by Christophe Furmaniak
The topic seemed interesting enough by the title. But somehow it ended up being too theoretical. Many of the people left the session after few minutes to attend other topics. I guess there were not many participants who were aware of the capabilities of the container orchestration tools being compared. Not many participants seems to be using containers in their production environments. To compare the 3 tools without having much knowledge about the subject was like doing guesswork. Also the demos which were shown by the presenter were bit late and I guess people could not relate to what exactly was happening and why. It could have been better to split the demos into smaller manageable chunks to make things more relevant.
Resilient Microservices with Kubernetes by Atamel Mete
This talk was much more hands on involving deep dive type settings. The speaker used ASP.Net Core with Docker running on Linux as an example. It was nice to see .Net Core being used to demo in a conference which was dominated by people from Java world. The efforts put in by Microsoft in embracing open source and making contributions to the community are also quite visible with many presenters using Visual Studio code as their preferred editor not just for DotNet projects but also for other technologies. Overall the talk was successful in delivering a message that it is possible to use .Net on Linux environment. Docker played an important role in containerizing this demo app. Microservices & Docker seem to be going hand in hand in most of the talks. Although none of these technologies are dependent on one another they still compliment each other in building the applications in todays world.
Microservices with Kafka by Albert Laszlo and Dan Balescu
This was an interesting session. The presenters shared their experience in using Apache Kafka in an enterprise application for a large bank in Europe. They shared their journey about steps taken to chose Kafka for interacting between multiple systems / applications. It was one of the most interactive session I had attended. There is no doubt that Kafka is becoming quite popular as a messaging layer not just in a Big Data world but also for use cases outside of Big Data.
What else other than the talks?
The event presented different opportunities for sponsors and attendees to extend their professional network. Companies associated with technology like Redhat, Google & Spring had opportunity to showcase their upcoming products and technologies. There were other sponsors who were promoting their services like training & placement.
There was a special guest Kris Howard all the way from Australia who was here to promote the YOW Conferences. She was the most active person to Tweet about the event and different talks with the Twitter handle @web_goddess
Overall it was a wonderful event. Very well organized. Kudos to the organizing committee for bringing in such good speakers from different parts of the world.The quality of talks which I attended was extremely good. I am looking forward to the next one. We had almost 40 people attending from our organization. The feedback from all the attendees was very positive. The session which I did not attend but was highly appreciated by the participants was by Edson Yanaga. The session was named Curing your Domain model Anemia with effective & clean tips from the real world. The knowledge & passion of the speakers was contagious.
Apart from the quality of talks & speakers the organizers needs to be given a special pat for all their hard work in choosing a venue as iconic as the Marin Bay Sands.The food was one of the best I had at any such event in the last few years. Listening to all the wonderful talks, I was definitely motivated to learn the new things. I am sure every participant had their own takeaways from the sessions and the overall conference. It was a good team bonding exercise for our team as well. I hope the organizers would be able to keep up the expectation for the upcoming years. The bar has been set high and hopefully it can only go up from here on.
You can watch the recordings of all the sessions from the event on Youtube.
Below are some pictures from the event.