On last friday i visited for the first time the mdevcon 2013 in Amsterdam. The conference is by mobile developers, for mobile developers. Day 1 (thursday) was reserved to people which wanted to get handson experience and getting down into code and learning in a tutorial day. Several high profile developers did offer top notch know how to developers in this tutorial day like e.g. Big Nerd Ranch.
Day 2 had a speaker schedule with multiple tracks, designed in such a way that whether you were an android, iOS or other mobile platform developer, there was always at least one session that should have been of interest. The venue took place in the 1920?s classic Tuschinski Theater in Amsterdam and had around 250 attendees.
I went there with two of my CocoaHeads Fellows from Bremen, Karl (@kpbode) and Jonas (@jojppa), both are into iOS and ANDROID Development. We took the train which was the best choice we could have taken. It is so much nice to do some coding already on the train together and exchanging tricks. Usually nobody of us has time for doing this, but the train was the perfect place (thx to Jonas for a reservation of the tableplace for us three in the InterCity train).
Highlights of the conference
My favourite lectures/talks were the following (in that order):
- iOS and Android Security Mechanisms and Exploit Mitigations by Mike Arpaia
- Mobile Application Design Patterns by Saul Mora (Magical Panda)
- The Dialogue Is Broken by Martin Legris
- and Effective iOS Network Programming by Ben Scheirman
@1: Keeping data safe and secure is what keeps any mobile OS a trusted piece of everyday technology. Everyone should spend some time on development to especially simply turn security ON. This was a pretty dense talk about the possible ways you could ensure more security of data in every app.
@2: Was simply great, because it reminded me to invest some time in refactoring of my own habits of coding. As soon as you succeed with an app you start forgetting about keeping up the learning and shaping of your skills. This was a wakeup-call to me doing some analysis of my coding style.
@3: Martin gave a whole new perspective on the way we could create apps. He used the metaphor of a dialogue between customer/consumer and the business/developer’s app. And he was damn right about a lot of things.
I really missed Objective-C’s Dark Arts by Mikey Ward (Big Nerd Ranch), who did not make it to the venue. I was really curious what he might have been presenting to us. Perhaps he will be there next year with some more black arts extreme. :-)
Was it worth it?
Absolutely! I enjoyed meeting different people from all kind of businesses. I also liked the venue, which was kind of really cool. And this venue actually offers so much space for chilling on sofas around the lecture halls. mdevcon 2014 should make better use of these areas and allow for some small hackerspaces there or some small fair-like exhibition of cool stuff. Karl, Jonas and me we had a nice hotel only 15 minutes walk away from the venue at a reasonable price and a fine travel by train. I will come back next year.
Special wish for next year?
Offer a developer driven „Lightning Talks Slot“ at the smaller lecture room in the afternoon. This should be only about real code. Displaying source code hacks in 20-24pt fontsize and telling best-of-class-tricks-only in 5 minutes. (see Lightning Talks and have a look at how this is done at xxc3-congress e.g.).
(btw: i really was very disappointed by the „Mobile Musical Instruments“-talk which did not refer to ANY one LINE of code EVER, but for me was like a product promotion talk. #FAIL).
I did not forget about Matt Gemmels‘ lecture. Here is my visual summary on that one…
I appreciated the perspective Matt took here. He is pretty damn right, that we all do in a way kind of rocket surgery and it is far from given, that all these wonderful apps work like they should and like users expect it. In fact it is damn hard work, often not valued by either the boss, or the consumer or even both.
Though this talk felt a lot like a psychologist talking to his client… Matt gave a valuable perspective on these skillful individuals which give birth to so many creative ideas and products. Thx for that!