Last week some of us visited the daho.am conference in Munich. I hadn’t heard about it before that and was truly impressed by what the guys from stylight put out there: a solid program with reputable speakers for a crowd of inquisitive developers. It was the third event of its kind and very well received by all who joined. In contrast to most of the bigger conferences, all of the 8 talks were arranged in one track so it was possible to visit all of them. Talks were presented by Amazon, HashiCorp, Uber, Spotify, Ethcore, Google, Stylight and a little surprisingly – the Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR). On the side you could participate hands-on in workshops.
From start to finish the whole conference was a pleasure to attend. It had just the right mixture of an engaging technical program and relaxed atmosphere that lasted the whole day. The theme of the conference was intentionally kept very bavarian-style, starting out with a Bavarian breakfast day and ending with dinner in a Bavarian beer-cellar. A nice gimmick: anyone who wanted a beer just had to mention a particular hashtag in a tweet together with their row number and an attendant would bring them a beer instantly.
But not only the casual atmosphere was good – also most of the talks were quite interesting. Igor Maravić from Spotify spoke of the event-delivery system Spotify is currently using, its shortcomings and the system that they are about to develop. Spotify has a problem that so many others would love to have – rapid growth and scaling issues with the increased traffic. Igor talked about the difficulties they are having with the current approach - that just so happened to start the day Apple Music was launched - and the design choices made for the upcoming system which uses Google Cloud pub/sub.
Claudia Guevara gave a brief overview off Stylight and showed how they are currently moving their IT infrastructure towards using microservices. The talk was very open and allowed the audience some insights into some real-world problems that are addressed in Stylight’s engineering group.
Florent Crivello from Uber talked a little about software processes and how they manage to work on their service moving with great velocity and at the same managing time avoiding to break it (they need to guarantee 99.99% uptime). He presented his company’s software architecture history very colorfully – from spaghetti style programming over lasagna layers to ravioli-services.
The most surprising talk came from Mustafa Kurtulus Isik – the head of the Software Development and Platforms of the BR. He had quite a story to tell about nurturing a modern software development group in a very traditional and usually slow-moving institution. He mainly talked about the values they established and some of the key process elements they use in their day-to-day business. That was also probably the most interesting talk.
In the end, Simon Lynen from Google showed some of the fantastic examples of project tango which manages to put a full SLAM algorithm including hardware into a cellphone form factor. Something that has been in focus of Ph.D. students, but did not yet reach the realm of mass cellphone market – both in size and performance. His thesis was that mobile phones do not currently know enough about their environment and can become much more aware of it.
“Project Tango is a platform that uses computer vision to give devices the ability to understand their position relative to the world around them.”
He finished his talk by growing grass on the virtual stage and putting a dinosaur right next to the astonished audience.
All talks were professional and well prepared. The side-workshops seemed to be plagued by practical preparation issues, and thus it was not a bad tradeoff to stay for the talks.
We hope there will be another daho.am as we truly enjoyed it. The conference was well prepared and a lot of fun to attend. Thanks to Johann Romefort and the rest of the Stylight guys for a memorable day.