Craft Conf 2017 retrospective

This was my first Craft Conference, but if the position of the stars will let me, I plan to attend next year as well.

I've attended plenty of great talks. Met a lot of new and very interesting people. Had plenty of food. (Too much, if you ask my wife.) And had a nice hike at the end. With more cakes.

Day 0

I did not know about the CFP in time so I have not submitted a talk proposal, but luckily Felhő (the main organizer of the event) had some empty spots in the Meetup surrounding the conference.

I gave a talk at the Python Meetup in Budapest about Pytest. It went quite well. There were about 100 attendees and none of them left. Of course this might be because they wanted to listen to Erika Carlson who gave a really inspiring talk about self.improvement() and Growing a Technical Career just after my talk. It was worth the wait. (BTW I am going to give a similar talk about PyTest at PyConIL 2017 in June.)

Unfortunately, because scheduling issues, I could not go over to the speakers dinner. That was a pity, but at least I could go home and rest. Which wasn't bad as two very exhausting days followed.

Day 1

I got to the Nyugati train station before 8 a bit worried that I might not find the train to the venue, but then I saw a number of very geeky people, some of whom I met the evening before at the Meetup. So I knew I am at the right place. The train itself, that was a "Nostalgia train" specially ordered for us, mostly created noise and fear, but in the end it got us to the Railway Museum where the conference was held.

It is a really fun place to look around:

Small train

More pictures by Rob Allen

I don't know about others, but for me almost all the relevant talks were in the same room. Apparently the organizers have thought of me when putting the schedule together.

Here are some of the talks I really enjoyed:

I have already seen other videos of Dan North but this was the first time I saw him live on stage talking about Decisions Decisions. He is even funnier on stage than on video.

Yvette Pasqua gave a great talk about Tackling technical debt at scale which is basically a generalization of Tackling technical debt at Meetup where she is the CTO.

Not very surprisingly Dave Farley talked about Continuous Delivery. After all he wrote the book. The title of his presentation was Acceptance Testing for Continuous Delivery.

Jeff Gothelf talked about Scaling Lean: Principles over Process. which was mostly relevant to larger organizations. So if you work for a larger organization, or if you hope that your's will grow, then this might be for you.

Damian Conway had some Fun With Dead Languages. Damian is always great and although most of his talks are crazy like this one, he is also an excellent trainer. If you have the opportunity to take one of his training classes, do so. If you have a team of developers, invite him!

In the evening there was a "party" meaning we had time to talk to each other while drinking all kinds of interesting things. I am really boring and only drank water. I think there was live music in the other hall, but I did not dare to go there. It was too noisy to my aging ears.

Day 2

I met Opal Staudenmaier and Llewellyn Falco on the train in the morning of the second day. We had a very interesting conversation about her work introducing (test)automation in a large organization.

Though I planned to attend two other talks, the chat with Llewellyn made me reconsider and joined his hands-on session called Knowing what bad code looks like. I am not convinced that the main problem is recognition of bad code, but his technique was certainly very interesting and the approaches he takes and describes in his blog are very refreshing.

I already saw Erika Carlson talking on the day before the conference so it was obvious I need to hear her talk Better: Fearless Feedback for Software Teams It had some overlap with the talk she gave at the Python Meetup, but even that part was worth seeing again.

Injecting Modern Concepts into Legacy Processes is something I try to handle at every client of mine so the talk given by Michael Jenkins was right on spot.

Apparently Emily Webber had the wrong slide-deck loaded on her computer, but she handled the situation gracefully. Event if don't yet know why her talk Communities of practice, the missing piece of your agile organization is relevant to you, it is worth to watch just for this. And who knows, maybe by the end of the talk you'll be convinced as well that the people behind the keyboards are more important than the computers.

Theo Schlossnagle gave the closing keynote: Better engineering via better discourse. Great story.

With this the conference ended.

I guess some people went to have dinner together, but I went home, felt exhausted and wanted to make sure I have my energy for the hike on the following day.

Day 3 - The Hike after

Not really part of the conference, I have organized a little hike on the hills of Budapest. It was a bit longer than I expected because we took a longer route, but I think the people who came enjoyed themselves. We were certainly lucky with the weather.

My hope, besides being out in the nature, was to provide an opportunity for people to talk to each other. I think that worked out very well.

The pictures taken by Rob Allen can be found on Flickr:

Hiking near Budapest

This picture of our team was taken by Raphaël Vandon (CC BY-NC)

The people in this picture from left to right:

Raphaël Vandon Randy Shoup Rob Allen Nicolas Fränkel András Somogyi Gabor Szabo (yours truly) (a Hungarian guy whose name slipped my mind) Woody Zuill Péter Sebestyén Krassay

This was our route:

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Virtual Day

As there were 6 parallel tracks I've missed most of the talks, but luckily quite a few of them were recorded and can be seen on site using Ustream. I've started to index them and I've started to add my own notes to some of the videos. (OK, so for now only one :). I will continue to do so, but in the meantime, let me point out a few more videos:

I missed the talk of Patrick Kua, but then I listened to it Tech Lead Skills for Developers and added my comments and links.

Nicolas Fränkel talked about Mutation Testing to the rescue of your Tests. I missed this talk as well and I have not had time to listen to it, but it is certainly in my plans. Just a few month ago I asked about this subject, back then without even knowing it is called Mutation Testing.

A few more videos I definitely plan to watch. If for nothing else, because I know the speakers from the hike:

Rob Allen talked about Server-less APIs in Swift

Randy Shoup gave two presentations: Effective Microservices in a Data-Centric World and From the Monolith to Microservices: Lessons from Google and eBay

Woody Zuill talked about Mob Programming, A Whole Team Approach. I really have no idea what is mob programming, but I hope to get some understanding.


I hope I'll be able to make it next year and even if I won't get in as a speaker, at least for another Meetup and definitely another hike.

Other Events

Check out the hikes after other events.

Published on 2017-05-19 by Gabor Szabo