NorDevCon 2014

Its the second year of Sync Conf renamed NorDevCon this year and the organisers are already looking forward to NorDevCon 2015! The conference was at the Kings Centre this year which is nice venue and a bit of the main street but still pretty central to Norwich.

I was a bit late arriving due to confusion involving parking + jobsworths + ticket machines and then ran quite a lot of the way. Once my heart had slowed down a little and I had tea’d up, I took a meandering route through the conference and saw a wide range of different sessions. These are the ones I got the most from.

Heroku – with Pete Roome

Pete didn’t really talk about Heroku so much, there isn’t a huge amount to say, more about how he uses it as part of his prototyping process. Its a simple and cheap way of getting ideas online and iterating until they are a success out growing Heroku or are abandoned. He also talked about how he validates whats working by providing dashboards accessible to everyone on the team via products like analytics link tracking and cohort engagement tools. Pete said on the whole people who did signup reacted with a fair enough when an idea is closed down.

Pulp Prototyping – with Harry Harrold & Rupert Redington

This was a great laugh with Harry and Rupert playing at times variously computers, customers, blue peter presenters, stationery fetishists and even developers. They were demonstrating building an early prototype of a system to create quick feedback and validate decisions made. There were some really good ideas here about developing and failing or succeeding faster. If you can do it in paper with a marker pen in 10 minutes with some users its got to be better than going away and coming back weeks later with some hard coded prototype that fails in the face of the customer within minutes. There were some neat benefits as well for gathering requirements removing barriers to feedback and disabling consensuses in meeting rooms. Harry said that an important book for them had been the Paper Prototyping by Caroline Snyder.

Building Next-Gen Enterprise Mobile Applications – Boydlee Pollentine

It was interesting how Boydlee goes about his own and his companies mobile development. He went through the choices he makes about which providers he uses and the hosting decisions he makes (Rackspace perhaps more expensive but very helpful support) and the when and why to use Appcelerator or Native development. Also the providers of mobile back ends MBAAS and services such as push notifications.

Rethinking application design for the Cloud – Cyrille Le Clerc

Cyrille gave an outline of things to avoid when scaling your applications amongst other things remove/abstract files/logs/config etc, using CDNs and AWS S3 security tokens. He also talked about blue green deployment which was an idea I hadn’t come across before.

Going Loopy: Iteration in Go – Eleanor McHugh

Ok to be honest this made my brain slightly ache, having never really looked at any Go the syntax hit me quite hard. But that is good :) Really interesting though and Eleanor is very enthusiastic and added Go to my list of languages to explore further.

As always with these things you learn as much from your fellow attendees as from the speakers and it was nice to meet with some people I hadn’t seen for a while. So thank you to the organisers and heres looking forward to NorDevCon 2015.