czwartek, 5 lipca 2012

Confitura 2012 review

Confitura is the biggest free conference for Java Programmers in Poland. It has always been a place to get enormous amount of inspiration and motivation to be a better programmer.

It was no different this year. Huge amount of geeks, great number of interesting companies promoting themselves, awesome presentations and everything of IT for free. As a wannabe Android Programmer I usually do not find Android related presentations but I treat confitura to make me up to date with current Java world.

What strikes me about confitura is that usually there are many contradictory opinions about this event. There are people who complain about it and some that praise it very much. I guess it depends on selection of presentations they chose.

This year my selection was a bit unfortunate for me I am afraid. First presentation I chose was Grzegorz Duda's From Busy To Effective Developer. I know Grzegorz from his great work on 33rd degree organization and I expected a top level presentation. I was a bit disappointed, might be for the high expectation. If you are intereseted not only in programming but also in becoming a greater developer probably you have heard most of the things mentioned in this presentation. What was good in that speech was the names of the tools Grzegorz is using. Unfortunately they were not on the slides and the names were not clearly heard (due to some echo in the place I was sitting). Grzegorz mentioned pommodoro technique which I tried to use some time ago and said that 25min session is too little for a programmer. That is interesting point of view. In overall I give 2 stars for this presentation.

The next presentation was Cezary Bartoszuk presentation about contracts. This presentation was the best during the whole day, in my opinion. The presenter was very convincing, looking  comfortable and passionate about the subject. The tools presented: CoFoJa and Yeti are probably worth trying in my projects. I am not stating this is the way we should do projects but I am interested to try contracts. 5 stars for this presentation.

Jakub Nabrdalik and Tomek Przybysz gave very promising presentation about other languages you can use with JVM. During TomTom developer days (a daily conference for TomTom Łódź employees) I had seen a presentation about Grails and was a bit better than this one. I think Jakub and Tomek tried to squeeze too much into the timespan they were given. At some point I had impression they are rushing too much. What I liked was a summary of paradigms in modern programming languages. 2 stars for them.

After lunch I chose Grzegorz Balcerek, but after few slides we escaped to Michał Bartyzel's retrospectives. We expected some talk about architecture or misuse of patterns in programming languages from Grzegorz but we got some Scala features instead. Michał is an experienced trainer and you could really see that on stage. The way he strengthen his speech with body language was really impressive. He also used a lot of metaphores which is a great way to explain things.
As far as the content is concerned this is again something you have probably heard of already if you are interested in becoming a A-class programmer.
What is worth mentioning was the idea of personal retrospectives and being consequent in applying it everyday. 4 stars for this presentation.

I was very interested what really CQRS is, as I heard the buzzword before but did not feel what exactly it is. After Maciej Próchniak's talk I would probably understand more but not yet feel very confident. Probably I need to learn a bit about that. Maciej was very enthusiastic and relaxed speaker. However I think they were places in that talk that were a bit boring. Good that Maciek mentioned that customer must be aware of applying CQRS pattern to a project (is not CRUD). 2 stars for this presentations.

Last but not least was Paweł Cesar Sanjuan Szklarz. Again I believe that presentation skills were decent but the content was not as interesting. As far as I understood Paweł tried to explain new way of building systems, which he invented himself. It was not using x-tier-architecture but plain code. I would expect to present on a conference a proven solution used by many clients instead of 4th revision on github used only by Paweł. Generally I would rank this as 1 star.

I would forgot about the closing keynote. Wojciech Seliga was offending lot of B/C-class programmers in his speech. Probably he motivated more his team than confitura attendees.
On the other hand Wojtek was right. I personally do not know many things that he mentioned as an elementary for a Java developer. Probably I have not been given an opportunity to use them in practice.

It seems that my selection was a bit unfortunate this year. Only 2 presentations were above a half of scale. But confitura is not only presentations. This is the place to meet other people, learn new buzzwords, see the creme de la creme of polish programmers. Plus one star for that.

Finally some words about the venue. It was a bit crowdy and hot, but the organization was perfect. Almost no queues (probably because I was late), food and beverages were in place. The lunch was tasty and for free. Plus one star.

Organizers also get one star for a slide about - the conference about mobile technologies that will be held 22nd of September in Łódź. I am one of the organizers of this conference and I encourage to join this conference. The registration will be open a month before the conference starts.

Total grade for confitura is thus very high. This is the conference I would recommend for everyone. Everyone that wants to go a level up in his career.

Confitura is a role model for free confrerences that also is pursuing for.