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And once again a conference is over and you can only reminisce about a great event in your blog post. These great memories come from the biggest developer conference in Europe. On 9 and 10 October 2014, more than 1500 participants gathered at the centrally located Cinemaxx cinema in Hamburg Dammtor.
The organizer ABOUT YOU had invited with the Codetalks 2014 to the big class reunion of the developer scene. The Codetalks, former Developer Conference, celebrated its fourth anniversary. In the last years the conference has grown steadily and meanwhile the premises of Otto GmbH are no longer sufficient. Personally, I already took part in the first Developer Conference and was very enthusiastic even on a smaller scale.
But now to this year's conference. As already mentioned the whole thing took place in a cinema with more than 1500 developers. So imagine 1500 developers consuming free drinks, nachos, popcorn and other snacks and talking about technical topics. Sounds a bit like paradise on earth for developers, doesn't it?
I personally enjoyed it very much and I anticipate a fact already once. I like to come back to Codetalks in Hamburg and I think our Stefan sees it the same way.
On the first day we had to arrive, queue and register. As you can imagine with 1500 people the queue is a bit longer. As we all know, everyone comes at the same time. Here already once a praise to the organization. For the crowd of participants, it went nevertheless quite fast ahead. And standing in the bat one could already meet one or the other acquaintance and chat a little.
As at other conferences, I will now say a few words about the sessions I attended.
To make the Meetup even better known and more successful, it is necessary to break out of the ways. Think globally was part of the title. And that's what you should do. Cooperation with other user groups (other cities or even non-disciplinary user groups). In Hamburg, for example, TYPO3 developers occasionally give lectures on a Drupal usergroup. This enriches everyone and gets discussions going. Guest lectures do not necessarily mean that the lecturer has to be local. For example, people can also be invited via a hangout.
I found it very nice that PJ also has training and further education in mind. They also organise events for children and teach them programming in a playful way. Basically "think out of the box" or better "think out of YOUR box" applies.
PJ's lecture was very inspiring and stimulated action. The lecture was unfortunately not recorded, but you can find a similar lecture by him on YouTube.
My first session led me to a well-known speaker in the TYPO3 scene, Stefan Willlkommer. The title of the session already showed that it will most likely be the project appserver.io of TechDivision.
We have already tested appserver.io in our company before and loyal readers of our blog will certainly know Stefan's report on his experience in this field. The development of the project is progressing because the company TechDivision has one employee working full time on the project.
In his lecture Stefan Willkommer looked a little into the past of PHP development and the necessities of server architecture at that time. Now times change and in web development this happens very fast. Therefore it is often not enough anymore to set up an Apache server. The technology forces us developers to increasingly complex infrastructures to be able to operate the web applications.
The solution to this problem should not necessarily be more hardware (as many people do nowadays), but rather the intelligent use of existing hardware resources. The appserver.io project offers a multi-threaded application server. The developers of the project have looked beyond the limits of the PHP cosmos and have adapted some things from the Java world. So you can use concepts known from the Java world like Servlets with the Appserver.
The project is completely open source and is hosted on Github. We can be curious about what to expect in the future.
The second session didn't have the technical character anymore, but an informative one. Light food after the extremely interesting Tech-Talk. Stefan Klemm from Goodgames Studio reported on how his company has grown in the last 5 years from a small start-up to a company with 1000 employees.
Such growth naturally brings with it constant changes. It was very interesting to see how Goodgames has mastered the path of continuous optimization. Stefan Klemm was also able to pass on one or the other piece of advice to his audience.
As organizer and founder of the TYPO3 Usergroup Magdeburg I just had to go into this talk. PJ Hagerty from Buffalo has built up a very successful Ruby Usergroup in recent years and has even grown into an annual Ruby Conference with about 200 participants.
This session made you realize that this is not just a purely German conference, even if you wouldn't have guessed it in the corridors. Everywhere there was German murmur. But the 20 English-language lectures were contrasted by more than one hundred German-speaking ones. Thus the conference already had more a German than an international character.
But let's come to the lecture by PJ, who took on the extra distance away from Buffalo. There are countless user groups or as it is often called in the states - Meetups. However, most of them are not really active and therefore not attractive for new members. But what do you do about it? PJ asked himself this question some time ago and is now trying to help others. He wants to encourage other developers to organize themselves or if you already have a usergroup, he wants to help you make the usergroup more successful.
PJ talked about the history of his usergroup and showed how to organize yourself and what should be avoided using the Ruby Meetup Buffalo as an example.
As always in life, communication is very important. If nobody knows your usergroup, nobody will make it to your meeting. In our industry it means being present on Twitter, Facebook, meetup.com and other blogs. Usergroup meetings should be documented. So potential participants can see what has already happened in the past.
In addition to communication, a usergroup lives from the participants and you should treat your people accordingly. Everyone is welcome, everyone can get involved or just consume. Tasks should be distributed within the user group. Nobody should carry everything alone but caution the players should not be overtaxed. Everyone has many obligations besides the usergroup, which usually have priority. Many of the things that PJ recommends should be self-evident. But everyone who listens into himself knows that this is not always the case.
The presentation by Arne Blankerts (thePHP.cc) and Sebastian Heuer (Globetrotter) was very interesting. Using the Globetrotter Online Shop as an example, they once again proved that software tailored to a specific application can perform much better than standard software.
Globetrotter used to use a standard shop system and has now reached the limits of optimization. The Globetrotter developers have now developed a new concept and the resulting application under the consulting of thephp.cc in recent months.
The interesting thing about the system is that rendering is damn fast even without caching. The team has come up with an intelligent solution to achieve this with as few database queries as possible.
The shop filters are treated as a search and as we as developers know, NoSQL databases in the search area are damn fast. This means that filtering products leads to a query to the search (NoSQL database). This returns a lot of product IDs as a result and now these products just need to be rendered.
Normally you would also need some database queries to display a product list. To get the category, the price, the rating of the product and the product data. In order to save these seemingly unavoidable queries as well, a rendering system was invented.
This system is based on snippets. There are several snippets for a product, which contain the complete HTML required to display this area. If now a product with the ID 4711 must be rendered, only the snippets for the product 4711 are loaded and assembled.
These queries are very fast and therefore require very little performance. Certain events in the ecosystem are now used as triggers to create the snippets. For example, if someone adjusts the price, the snippet is regenerated for the price. If someone changes the product description in the PIM, the relevant snippet is also regenerated.
I was very impressed by the ideas, some of which seemed simple, and we were even able to adapt an idea for us later on at the social event.
The co-founder of the Codetalks conference and CTO of ABOUT YOU Sebastian Betz introduced the recently launched Open Commerce platform. With the help of ABOUT YOU and its system, developers can very easily and quickly create their own online shop or shopping app. So far the assortment is limited to fashion, but it has already been promised that the product portfolio will be expanded at some point.
Most of the products come from Otto's portfolio, but you can also provide your own products with the help of the Merchant Center.
After a short summary of the functionality and the idea behind it, it went on to the canned and the API provided by ABOUT YOU and the Developer Center were introduced. And what can I say, you can develop a shop with relatively little code.
So if you have an idea for a fashion app and don't want to or can't provide the whole infrastructure for the development - ABOUT YOU is a super alternative to earn money. 8% of the sales made go to the originator of the app. So potentially to you.
We have regretted a little that they are so far only fashion articles. But maybe soon there will be an update on a broader portfolio. Anyway, the idea of ABOUT YOU is very interesting.
What should not be missing at the end of a conference day? Right, the social event. One of the most important things at events is the exchange with other developers.
This year this event took place in the Hühnerposten near the Hamburg main station. The organizers had even organized shuttle buses to get the crowds to the right place. There was a dinner for all speakers at the same time, but unfortunately I can't tell you about this dinner.
The chicken post seemed to be specialized in events of this size. Not everyone can realize food for 1500 people without big queues. But the various and varied food could either be taken directly at the place by running around waiters or one strove to one of the 4 developed conditions. Each stand could score with other delicacies. Asian food from the cardboard box, Mexican chilli, North German fish or American hotdogs - every taste was catered for.
In the adjoining rooms and the outdoor area there was enough room to talk, to be together or to dance.
The atmosphere was very relaxed and it was fun to be part of the event. If I can trust my memory and my fitness tracker, the party went on until the very early hours of the morning.
Day one of the conference thus ends, but this is not the end of our coverage. The second day was at least as exciting. Have fun reading on.