eurucamp 2014

eurucamp chalk

I'm just heading back to Aachen from eurucamp 2014. And all I can say is: What an awesome conference!

I met a lot of great people, had nice chats with a lot of new people, heard a lot of great and inspiring talks and had a lot of fun.

Besides the usual stuff you expected at a tech conference. there were also a lot activities happening. It started with the conference party Friday evening. Saturday noon was reserved for lots of activities, kayaking on the Griebnitzsee, with a jump into the sea afterwards of course, a slip'n'slide on the venue's lawn and some football there as well.

During the talks I took some notes, just to remember things for myself, but I think it's also a good idea to write these down publicly. There was also the Camp Compressor, the eurucamp's own podcast, with interviews of speakers and attendees. Listen to it to get even more cool discussions and information.
(Hint: I was interviewed for Episode 3 ;))

Workshop: How to do Static Analysis Driven Refactoring

Friday afternoon I went to the Workshop How to do Static Analysis Driven Refactoring. Christophe showed us how a few tools can help to improve and refactor your existing code base. The whole list of tools is listed in a Gist. He made it clear how these tools lead to better code quality, especially if you're a small team or even working alone. I will definitely try to use some of them.


In the evening the real conference began with nusco's keynote. He told us about how to be a really great developer. There are 3 stages in most things:

  1. Simple, most of the time you can automate this away.
  2. Complicated. You have to think about the problem, but if you're good you find a solution
  3. Complex. These are the hard and most interesting problems. If you want to be a great developer you need to tackle these. For this you have to always learn.

But it is especially important to don't just work on problems in one category. No one is a great developer from day one. Learn everyday. Be a great developer at the end of the day.

Culture Eats Products For Breakfast

Saturday started early. Laura told us how Culture influences your product. If you already have a project it's not that easy to get it into a new market in a new country with a complete different culture. The audience for your product has completely different expectations, the country may have different laws. All these things need to be considered to be successfull.

rin live-coding a game

Let's build a game with Ruby

Right after that, Rin gave a short live coding session in which she created a small side-scroller game using Gosu, a 2D game development library. Quite fun and easy it seems.

It Takes a Village to Make a Programmer

After a short coffee break Michele told us her story. She attended eurucamp last year and with the help of some great people from the community she managed to switch careers in less than a year. She encouraged all of us to give back to the community, help other people, mentor people or help people in otherways.

Internet of Dusty Things

Daniel talked about his DIY air purifier. Unhappy with the available proprietary and expensive products he sat down, purchased the necessary hardware and built a remote-controlled air purifier using mruby, a lightweight implementation of the Ruby language and some stripped-down libaries.

RubyMotion and Accessibility

taking a brake in the shadow

One of the best talks for me was the one about Accessibility held by Austin, a blind developer. He's using both an iPhone and a Mac, because all of these Apple systems have built-in accessibility features, like Voice Over, the screen reader in iOS and OS X. He also wrote software for RubyMotion to make accessibility-testing even easier and showed how easy it is to make iPhone apps more accessible. It's build in by default anyway, adding information and labels is already a great improvement for every app. Test these things!


Refactoring Ruby with Monads (or, Monads: The Good Parts)

Tom gave one of the funniest and simplest introduction to Monads I heard. With just a few lines of Ruby code it's possible to implement Monads, which are just an "abstract data type". The code is available as a gem and on GitHub.

Lightning Talks

@benlovell: Eurucamp is so awesome that actual lightning ended the lightning talks #ec14
(Twitter, 10:52 PM - 2 Aug 2014)

(That's all it needs as a comment)

Beautfiul sunset over the venue's lawn

Utils is a Junk Drawer!

Day 2 once again started early. Frank took a look at what's in the project's utils folder, often it's junk. The speaker was interviewed in the Camp Compressor, Day One. As I heard that on the train ride to the venue I didn't listen too much in the talk, sorry!

The Scientific Method of Troubleshooting

Blithe explained how the Scientific Method of Troubleshooting will help in software development as well. When troubleshooting, sometimes take a step back. Solving each and every problem by googling or looking at StackOverflow won't help. Instead think about the problem, try to understand why it happened, how it can be fixed correctly and how to avoid it to happen again. Document your troubleshooting, improve the documentation of your project so problems that were fixed won't happen again. And get help! If you can't solve the problem alone, talk to others. Sometimes that is all it needs.

Take note!

Såndra gave a short introduction how visual note taking can help to efficiently take notes and later also actually remember what you meant. Now if I could just draw better, but maybe with some practice I can do this better. Oh, and she had the most awesome slides of all talks!

Decentralize ALL THE THINGS

The last talk I (really) heard was by Jan. He talked about how all these centralized services are bad in nearly every aspect. But it's not only about self-hosting all your stuff (because that's not an option ever), it's also about decentralising our organisations and businesses to make the internet resilient against any kinds of threats again.

…and that's it.

The whole weekend ended with some beers at the eurucamp after party, again talking to a lot of different people, and a lot of different topics. I hope there will be a eurucamp 2015, because we're already planning things for next year.

Thanks to the whole eurucamp team, thanks to all speakers and thanks to all the great attendees! Hope to see some of you at RedFrog Conf in just 2 weeks or at RailsCamp Germany in September.