The Inaugural Devoxx Poland

The Inaugural Devoxx Poland image #1

06 Jul 2015

The penultimate week of June 2015 saw the very first Devoxx Poland. Judging by the attendance and attitude of the Polish devs I met while there, it's certainly been a long-time coming - the event was packed!


This was not, however, an entirely new event. Devoxx Poland is simply a rebranding of the already established 33rd Degrees conference, hosted by Grzegorz Duda. It seemed to be a very wise move on Stephan’s part to trust the expansion of the Devoxx brand to Grzegorz and his team since, at a brand-new venue with almost no set-up time, they managed to get the event off to an almost perfect start.

The event opening was followed by an excellently opinionated talk by Hadi Hariri from Jetbrains: “Chasing the Silver Bullet”. It was very lighthearted and entertaining so, despite a few disparaging remarks on Javascript (which went down surprisingly well), everyone seemed to get on board with what he was saying; essentially that, as software developers, we are always chasing a silver bullet. What the bullet is might change (and might change very rapidly), but we must never lose sight of our job, which is to make software that works for our customers.

The current Silver Bullet that Hadi talked about is microservices. His sentiments seemed to be echoed a lot by various different talks through the conference, including Adam Bien who shared a method that he used to build something like a microservices architecture which had worked for him. As ever, he was keen to remind listeners that business logic is the code you’re paid to write, so don’t waste time worrying about the tools - or methodologies - you use. (No matter how micro your services might be).

On the other side of the coin, Josh Long was just keen to let you know that, if you do decide to go for a microservice architecture, you should really use Spring Boot. “Make JAR, not WAR”. Josh is a very engaging speaker, despite taking potshots at “Grandad’s” Java EE, and it was very interesting to see the approach that Spring are taking. Spring Boot is more than just a way to deploy a microservice to the JVM, there are some really cool features although turning JMX off by default isn’t one of them. Spring have decided that the best place for your server configuration is to keep it with the app, which makes sense in theory, but does tie you in to a microservices architecture from the beginning.

Of the many ZeroTurnaround talks (I seemed to find myself at every one), Simon Maple’s talk on performance was the one I was most keen to hear. Not least because I wanted to know how much of what he would say would be duplicated in my own hands-on-lab on the final day. Fortunately, Simon was talking about XRebel, and Java profiling, and it was interesting to hear a developer’s point of view on performance tuning. XRebel seems like a great tool - unsurprising from the developers of JRebel - and it does take into account latency caused by external resources, rather than just focusing on the app itself.

Venkat Subramaniam made an appearance and delivered quite a few talks, all of which were very popular. He gave plenty of the sort of polyglot talks with live coding that I find so impressive, correcting syntax errors between languages without even missing a beat. It’s always hard to pick a favourite talk with Venkat, so the two I most enjoyed were his talks on semantics over syntax and design principles, both of which included much less emphasis on code and much more emphasis on the things that take a “programmer” to a “developer”.

Oracle’s Reza Rahman also delivered a number of talks and two hands-on-labs. I was able to attend his second hands-on-lab, after my own, and get some time to play with the JMS 2.0 API. For anyone coming from JMS 1.1, the new features will seem like they can’t come soon enough. The API makes good use of the builder pattern which lends itself naturally to Java 8 functional style programming with lambda expressions.

Overall, Devoxx Poland was a resounding success and I look forward to being there again next year.

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