DConf 2016 Report

This May the yearly DConf was held in Berlin. The DConf is one of the meeting platforms of the community around the D language. Quoted from the homepage:

The D Programming Language

D is a systems programming language with C-like syntax and static typing. It combines efficiency, control and modeling power with safety and programmer productivity.

For me dlang is a language in which I can program almost with the same comfort as in ruby or java with additional very strong compile time capabilities and a sane approach to concurrency. It even suggests to write small scripts in it and run them by the means of rdmd. With the latest release of DUB its package manager this will be even possible when requiring dependencies.

The last year saw a lot of changes in dlang so that it is now reigned by the D Language Foundation with Walter Bright, Tudor Andrei Cristian Alexandrescu and Ali Çehreli as officers. Several implementations of the compiler are available, including the reference compiler written by Walter, as well as compiler backed by gcc and ldc.

The conference

After Sociomantic volunteered to co-host this years conference and came up with a fantastic venue as well as an incredible organization 150 happy dlang coders showed up. Between hobbyists, many of the big names of the dlang community showed up and we’re available for chats and talks about dlang, its application and new ideas.

The three days of the conference we’re packed with a tight time schedule that was enforced by DConf’s own MC, featuring around 18 talks, some lightning talks and two panel discussions around the dlang ecosystem.

All talks are available at YouTube and UStream, I just want to highlight some of my favorite sessions:

  1. Make sure not to miss the keynote given by Andrei Alexandrescu himself. Although the presentation starts with non technical (but very important) topics of the first 5 minutes and how to contribute, it gets more technical when Andrei dives into getting rid of the garbage collector and annotations for Big O Notation.
  2. Equally enjoyable is Don Clugston’s talk about floating point numbers. This is even applicable for languages != dlang.
  3. Amaury Sechet shows how to work efficiently with your memory. One especially tricky thing are tagged pointers. I was glad to learn, that our estl makes also good use of this, although I am pretty sure, that the generic API provided by dlang is nicer.

Of big importance to the dlang community are the presentations that showed how dlang is used in production. Although those can only go so far from a technical perspective those show, that dlang is production ready and can be used to build products.

Considering all, this was one of the best conferences I ever went to and I hope to come back next year and do more dlang in the meantime. I think you can see the spirit of dlang best by looking at the enthusiasm of the speakers in the lightning talks. They would go on and on, because everyone wanted to show off some cool dlang stuff.

What to do better next time? From an organizational point of view it was a flawless event so I do not have any improvements as feedback to the organizers. But on a personal level I really must plan in more time at the end to not miss the last talks and the group shot and I also have to bring my books to get them signed by the authors. Hopefully they will be again around next year!

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