Code Europe 2017 – Review

Today I had the opportunity to attend the Code Europe conference in Wrocław.

I wrote about my preparation to this about one of my previous posts, so I won’t be repeating all of this, but one thing is very important – it is advertised as the largest programming conference in Poland.

Sessions

The conference was indeed big. many parallel paths to chose from, quite nice content. I have attended the following sessions:

The Cost of Logging [Matteo Collina @ nearForm] – Cloud Computing path

A fast start of the conference with Matteo Collina – the author of Pino – a logger library for NodeJS. Really nice presentation, with some interesting insights about performance. Enjoyed it!

HoloBasics – Develop your Mixed Reality HoloLens App with Unity and Visual Studio [Alexander Meijers @ ETTU] – Future & Inspire path

A very nice introductory session by Alexander Meijer. Not too advanced, which turned out to be good as I’m not that much into unity and games development, but good enough to show the basics, some nice demos and general ideas about Holo Lens. Cool!

Choice: .NET Data Security: Hope is not a Strategy [Stephen Haunts @ LaadderPay Ltd] – Programming languages path

This session turned out to be a really basic, yet very complete journey through the different aspects of cryptography. I felt like I was on one of my lectures taken at my university (although it was far more complex on university :)). The code examples were rather trivial, which made me a bit sleepy but apart from that it was generally fine. Would love to see some more technical content in this area, especially localized in some modern world and concrete products. Stephen introduced us to his Pluralsight courses so maybe I’ll check there for something more in-depth. Good!

Streams, streams, streams [Luca Mezzalira @ DAZN] – Tomorrow Web path

Very cool session, it was quite an easy one, but placed nicely in javascript world discussing observable reactive streams from different frameworks perspective. Could be more advanced, but was good enough to clap!

Reactive Desktop Applications using React, LevelDB and Electron [Julian Gruber @ Voltra Co.]

Another nice session that introduced me a bit to react and electron and leveldb. The presentation was mostly a process of implementing a TodoMVC with react, levelDB and Electron. Really easy to listen and follow the coding.

Choice: NDepend: Siri for Software Engineers [Vladik Khononov @ Internovus] – DevOps & Architecture path

That was a very short (<20min) session about NDepend and I was late for it. Despite all that, Vladik was good, and the presentation went smoothly. NDepend is also a great tool to increase the code quality and reduce technical debt. Strongly recommended.

Stencil: a New Hope of Web Components [Vitalii Bobrov @ Luxoft] – Tomorrow Web path

The last session of the day was about StencilJS. Except for some technical problems (sometimes the screen went totally green, although the presenter apparently didn’t see it). StencilJS looks really nice and I am wondering when Angular team will finally work on something like that. One more like for promoting Typescript!

The sessions were fine, I enjoyed it, met quite a few friends and spent my time really nice learning and chatting.

Organization

There are, however, few things that I have to mention as it was very inconvenient and I was surprised that for such a big conference it was not solved properly. Maybe it will also give the organizers more insights on what to fix in the future versions.

Registration with ID not possible

Today was a crazy day, the tempo was really high. I arrived at the conference hall around 9:00, so didn’t have much time before the first session. I went to the registration queue and when finally it was my turn, it appeared that I can’t register with my ID. The guy told me that “without QR code they can’t do anything”. So I was like… oh, rly? It took me few minutes to dig into my emails and realize I won’t find it there – then I realized that the registration was through eventbrite, so I downloaded the app, had to remind myself the password and then I finally went through the check-in process. That’s the first time that ID was useless and QR code was the only way to go. Nobody likes such confusion and rush, so I strongly encourage to think about this.

No food/ coffee

I was in a hurry in the morning, so I didn’t eat my breakfast, which wasn’t a big problem for me because there’s always some conference food and coffee. What a surprise.

9 hours of conference, largest conference in Poland. How-the-heck-is-it-possible-that-there-was-no-food?! It’s 9 hours of very intensive time spent on lectures, walking, being in a hurry to switch between the halls.  What is more, there was no free coffee for the attendees. I had to stand in the queue for like 20 minutes to the coffee machine, which was not in the same building that the presentations and of course one had to pay for it.

The tickets were cheaper at the beginning, more expensive at the end, but as far as I heard the price went up even to 500 PLN. My ticket was for around 200 PLN. I believe people would give 20 PLN more to have some food and coffee.

That’s a total disaster as for me.

Maybe the conference is big as it takes place in 3 cities in Poland, but I’ve been recently at .NET Developer Days in Warsaw and it seems it was a bit bigger (although less parallel paths – only 3) and the food and coffee were organized really nice. Coffee machines everywhere, some sweeties, a normal breakfast, and lunch.

Oh, I forgot to mention that apparently there was some pizza, somewhere. I have seen the empty boxes. I’ve seen people walking by and cursing at the organizers saying they will never ever buy a ticket again. Is it really a reason for which you want to lose customers?

Aggressive recruitment

I know it happens on all conferences, but sending sms to my mobile to join some company with positions listed…? Really? There was almost no space to move between the sessions. The concentration of recruiters per square meter on this conference I believe is among the highest in the world ;p

Parking

Parking at the conference was the standard one for Centennial Hall. The only thing I can say about this parking lot is that it is EXTREMELY EXPENSIVE. I could get another ticket for this parking ticket charge at the early stages of the registration.

And it’s not that it is not possible to organize. A couple of months ago I’ve been at the business run also at the Centennial Hall and there was a special parking space only for the people from the run. FOR FREE.

Technical environment for demos

Last, but not least: the projectors in some rooms I was, unfortunately, watching demos were projecting on a large area, starting close to the floor. Even sitting in the second row of chairs, to see what’s on the level up to 130cm, you had to be really moving a lot, which bothered the ones behind you. There were usually 2 monitors on both sides of the room, but it was more for the second half of people (so let’s say starting from the 6-7 person in a row.

That’s not what I would expect from the largest conference in Poland.

Wrap up

The conference content was nice. The speakers, variety of paths, lots of people, basically it all made a really good atmosphere.

For the organization part, there’s a lot to improve. I don’t know if I will get a ticket for this conference next year. We’ll see what organizers will announce. I will surely ask the questions before signing up.

Advent of Blog

This is my eleventh post in the series of Advent of Blog 2017. I will be publishing one post per day as I mentioned in my first post of the series.

3 thoughts on “Code Europe 2017 – Review

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  2. I participated in CodeEurope as a participant last week in Warsaw and then yesterday as a speaker. For me it was interesting to compare it with another “the largest developers conference in Poland” 4Developers. 4Developers’ motto is “By developers for developers” and you can see and feel it through details like hangout areas; coffee, fruits and lunch etc. Developers are front and center of that event. On the other side you can feel recruiters are front and center of CodeEurope.
    The other obvious difference is that 4Developers is focusing on presenters from Poland – to promote what is happening here. CodeEurope did really good job inviting speakers from abroad. They were not first class engineers or evangelists you meet on world class events, and some of them did not have extensive experience presenting, but they brought recognizable names of Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Red Hat, Booking.com to attract participants.
    I must say that organization was far from perfect from the presenter’s perspective too. But I will not into the details here…
    So, my overall impression is exactly the same: good content, aggressive recruitment, somewhat messy organization.

    • Thanks for your comment. That’s very close to my feelings indeed.

      There’s even nothing wrong with the recruiters being available, I know that there’s some financial stuff going on and the conference must be profitable to the organizer (except if it doesn’t have to – see Wroc# conference). But there is a line you shouldn’t cross.
      And if your goal is to earn, you should also share some of it with the attendees as without them, there would be no conference.

      Standing in the queue to the coffee machine, just next to the VIP room where food and coffee were for free, you could feel like the worse/poor one. It should be the first goal for the organizers so that attendees feel like home.

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