Top Takeaways for Software Engineers from the 2018 DevTalks Conference

Insights from the Largest IT Conference in Romania

On May 16, 2018 DevTalks gathered over 1,200 developers and IT professionals and over 60 international and local speakers in Cluj, Romania. Over the course of one day, attendees and speakers discussed DevOps, Java, Product Technologies, Web, Mobile, Cloud, Big Data, Automotive, and more.

”One of our Softvisioners from our Web Community, Alexandru Stefan Tudose, took the opportunity to attend the conference, where he discovered some new tech and tips. Read on for Alexandru’s top takeaways from some of the sessions at the 2018 conference.”

“Is there a ‘Smart’ Market and Should Cities be the Focus?” with Joseph Dignan

This was an impressive presentation that made the entire audience wonder about the potential toward truly developing the smart city. It also presented very good insights into the UK smart city culture, a good example being the channel island of Jersey, dominated by Fintech, big corporations, and entrepreneurs. Thanks to its high digitalization rate, the island has one of the highest GDP per capita in the EU. As for techniques, Joseph focused on 10 points; one of the main points was how community support could lead to better research and development. Furthermore, the speaker revealed that a proper infrastructure is the most essential toward accomplishing innovation and enrich the smart city experience.

“Creating AI Solutions for a Safer Future” with Silviu-Tudor Serban

This was a simple, concise and very passionate talk about an R2D2-like AI assistant and a driver drowsiness detection system. The speaker made these projects in his free time, leading me to think about what dedication can really mean, especially when it is toward making a better future.

“The Evolution of Asynchronous Javascript” with Alessandro Cinelli

This session was a nice recap and included insights into asynchrony as a mechanism and how it was handled in JavaScript, making the language able to grow substantially afterward. Async is hard for a human being, we can’t consciously do two actions at once and think about both of them at the same moment. This mechanism can be troubling even for experienced developers, and while the speaker talked about the underlying implementation of callbacks and generators, he also highlighted the complexity of asynchronous programming and how we should focus more on it.

“We Need to Talk About GraphQL” with Alex Moldovan

I enjoyed this cool, simple presentation and demo of what GraphQL is capable of. GraphQL is a must have for future tech into backend development, APIs, and Rapid Product Development. For some time now, the basic recipe for web services architecture was based on RESTful services. However, there are limitations to RESTful services that can make more complex use cases needlessly convoluted. As a result, in 2015, Facebook’s GraphQL was released. GraphQL offers an alternative paradigm and language that overcomes many of the perceived shortcomings of REST, and alongside Facebook counts Twitter, GitHub, and Pinterest among its users. REST services provide responses in a format determined by the server, and aim to isolate resources based on a logical model. This introduces two issues that GraphQL sets out to solve:
1. Since the response structure is determined by the server, a typical REST response will provide more information than is necessary for the client. Changes to this response structure may be breaking and require versioning the API. Where development responsibilities are separated, this also places a dependency on the team developing the API to respond to changing front-end requirements.
2. It’s rare that meaningful functionality can be implemented by manipulating individual REST resources in isolation, resulting in APIs that require significant back and forth across the network to fulfill any practical.

This was my first time at DevTalks and it convinced me to come again next year. Besides the fact that I enjoyed all the presentations, I also met a lot of friends that work in other companies, and we had interesting debates and discussions on conference topics. All in all, it was a very pleasant experience which reminded me to never stop learning.


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