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Where to Go: Devternity for Eternity

Enough with the ruby conferences! Now’s the time to extend our knowledge into new horizons and become a better programmer. Could it be one of our New Year’s resolutions to attend some kind of conference lying a little outside the old comfort zone? This is exactly what I did in December last year. I went to a software architecture conference called Devternity. The Software Craftsmanship team - LatCraft - decided to hold it in the National Library building in Riga, Latvia. They say it was their first initiative of this sort.. and I must say they totally nailed it! They brought in a load of great speakers within a 3-track system where you could pick the most interesting talks for you.

In general, the main topic revolved around the theme of microservices. The aim was to clearly define which direction we should all be looking. The speakers tried to debunk the myth that microservices should be the answer to every problem. In the end they all agreed that it does require a lot of overhead for your app to effectively use such an architecture paradigm. So it’s worth going down that road if you have enough (read: huge) resources.

My fave three talks 

Conway’s Revenge by Jakub Nabrdalik

Jakub’s (allegro.pl) intention was to depict how Conway’s law works in reality. He presents multiple examples on how even the best designed architectures can backfire and kill your project if you don’t take organisation culture seriously. This talk has a lot of treasures hidden within as it is based on real stories and experience.

Three Years of Microservices at SoundCloud by Phil Calcado

This talk comes from an ex-soundcloud developer - Phil Calcado. He makes a case study of Soundcloud migration from a monolithic architecture to microservices. You can’t get away from the impression that he speaks with a slight tinge of regret. He sketches multiple examples of what went wrong and shows how this could have been avoided. Go watch it and see how it all turned out.

Software Craftsmanship by Sandro Mancuso

If I was to pick a single talk it would be a motivational speech by Sandro Mancuso. He is a great speaker who knows how to hold the crowd in his hand (he is sometimes likened to Tony Stark). He kicks off with a bit of Agile Software Development history, who came up with the ideas, and finishes off with the idea of Software Craftsmanship. Then finally he reminds us why we started programming in the first place. Personally I felt super fired up and ready to go home and start coding :).

Return home and afterthoughts

The conference was really well organized and I’m so happy that I could be a part of it. It was a great place to share knowledge with developers from other technologies. The atmosphere created by the Latvian group encouraged the attendees to network - the “goodbye” beer in the same location certainly strengthened that. There was one minor slip-up during the conference - the organizers developed an intricate system to measure which talk was the best in the public’s opinion.. Unfortunately, the devices broke and so we will never find out who won.

To put the technicalities aside, what I took from the conference is that rubyists, java’ists (or any other ‘ists) are all the same kind of people with the same kind of problems. We all use a set of tools with much in common (only named differently) to overcome a very similar set of problems. I really loved it when I saw a java speaker list all the tools they use on an everyday basis and I could easily recognise the same tools we use here at Netguru, but for ruby.

I’m also glad that Sandro Mancuso reminded me that first and foremost I learn programming for myself and nobody else. It’s down to me to work up my knowledge and I shouldn’t count on other parties to teach me (it’s nice if they help - but it shouldn’t be a requirement for me). Moreover, we are professionals - and that’s how we should act.

Last but not least - LatCraft organized the whole event from the idea to the execution in just 3.5 months and delivered a great product. Kudos to this community as they’ve shown that everything is possible if you have enough people around with big enough hearts and full commitment! What is more, LatCraft promised to make a follow-up edition - which I won’t miss for sure!

Have you been to the Devternity conference and want to share your thoughts or recommend another conference I should go to? Feel free to do so in the comments below! If you still don't know which events you should go to next year, take a look at our list of the best Ruby conferences.

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