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Posts from the ‘conference’ Category

15
Jun

Personal Development

It has been more then a year since I wrote about a new challenge. It’s been almost a year since I started working for Egeniq as a Junior Software Engineer and looking back it has been one of the best decisions in my life.

I write this sitting inside the WWDC convention center, something I couldn’t have dreamed of a year ago. The things I have experienced in the past year have been amazing and the personal development has been so steep it’s hard to imagine where I was a year ago.

As a PHP developer I joined Egeniq to start developing mobile applications. Starting here I knew I was going to learn iOS, and learning a new language is always exciting but also the progress I made in PHP has been astonishing. I learned writing proper API’s, working agile and working for big, big customers. The first major project I worked on was the RTLNieuws365 news application. I was involved in the original brainstorm sessions, all the way to making overtime to get the product finished on time (albeit only 1 day we had to do this). It was the first time I had actually seen a proper interaction design, a proper functional design and a proper technical design. We were responsible for most of the main parts, we set up the API, the application and the server infrastructure. I personally was involved in creating a huge part of the API and the application itself. Working alongside my colleagues, who I revered before joining Egeniq, and still do. The things that I now feel are ‘standard’ in application development, were a totally new concept a year ago. I cannot imagine going back.

As a software engineer at Egeniq we have multiple privileges, alongside the development devices we recieve (we work at home), I get to go to conferences. Where I saw Ivo for the first time on the first ever conference I been to, the conferences I visited last year is quite a list for me.

Starting with PFCongres, a 1-day PHP conference, onto the Apple TechTalks in London (Which me and Peter were fortunate to get into). After that we had Droidcon 2011 in Amsterdam and to finish it off I helped organize MDevCon 2012, which, according to its attendees was one of the best mobile conferences in the Netherlands to date.

Offcourse, last but definitely not least I am writing this from Moscone Center in San Francisco at the WWDC. I can only hope that the coming year brings as much as the last one did. But that definitely isn’t going to be the easiest thing in the world.

I also met great a lot people, off course my colleagues Felix, Allen and Lineke. Whom have helped me progress the way I have. Peter and Ivo, who have been amazing in supporting me during my first year at Egeniq and of whom I have the privilege to learn from everyday. Some of the biggest names in iOS development (Mike Lee, Matt Gemmell, Jeff LaMarche) and a lot of other people in the community. To all the people I met this year, thank you. Thank you for your knowledge, your puns and even just the time we chit-chatted. You all inspired me.

Going for another year, here are a few of my personal goals:

  • Become a speaker
  • Attend at least 3 conferences in different areas of expertise
  • Pickup android development
  • Increase my knowledge for both PHP and iOS
  • Write more (technical) blog posts

I hope, that one year from now I look back at this list, I can tick em all off. And maybe added some more accomplishments.

A year ago I quoted the late Steve Jobs when switching jobs.

If today were the last day of my life. Would I want to do what I am about to do today?

Yes.

22
Nov

Droidcon 2011 day 1

Today I have been to my first android conference! While the conference isn’t over yet (tomorrow day 2) I wanted to write down some of my experiences.

Early on the foggy morning we (me and Allen Ding) arrived at the conference, and while I had some issues with the ticket (it ended up in my spam folder) saying my name was enough to get me in and recieve my t-shirt (luckily this one isn’t one size fits all ;)). The venue itself looked awesome and there was a cool vibe in the building. With the opening statement underway by an overly enthusiastic presenter (which was nice) it became clear that unfortunately the “Barcamp” sessions weren’t going to be much more then 20 minute sale-pitches. Atleast there was the keynote done by Nick Butcher which was a good and funny presentation about the new Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) version of android and the new message that google wants to get out there

It’s not OK to just make OK apps, make more awesome apps instead

Something I felt that was also stressed at the Apple Tech Talk conference earlier November in London. There are so many apps on the markets these days that just being OK isn’t going to do it anymore. Unfortunatly this could not be said for the android application made specifically for the event, the app loaded initial data over network, without an obvious activity indicator and then had talks listed with an empty summary, which still forced the user to go to the website (which wasn’t mobile friendly).

After the Barcamp and proper lunch the first real talks we’re going to get started, attending first the talk by Joris de Sutter being marketed as a talk that will cover “End-user hierarchy of smartphone needs and how this reflects the success of an app” and “Where to find inspiration for great apps that end-users need (and hopefully want to pay for).”. Unfortunately it did not deliver both. It started with a nice overview of the phones a user buys and in what price range (mainly stats from Belgium but ok) he then had his own version of the “Pyramid of Need” which according to him ment that only 60% of the people that buy smartphones use it to make phone calls and only 20% actually download apps. He admitted himself these were made-up figures but obviously this was done without any sense of the subject. He then talked more about people that do not actually reach the marketplace, if they don’t reach the marketplace, how can they be my target audience?

Being quite disappointed after this talk, and I could feel more around me had the same feeling we went onto the next talk which should cover “a few lessons learnt while developing a real-life Android application”. While some parts of this talk coud’ve been interesting for some people the end really made me feel that the person giving the talk wasn’t someone I’d ever want to learn from. In a real-life example of the Efteling Post app the following request was made to the developer

The application was made in portrait mode, but our customers tell us that for devices with a physical keyboard the screen doesn’t rotate while typing

What the presenter then presented as the solution to this problem blew my mind. Instead of building a liquid layout that would stretch the width of the screen, in order to keep using the exact same design images, the choice was made to add black bars to both sides. Causing the user to loose almost 60% (on some devices) of their screen size and are left with an application with a to small font to actually read what your typing in the first place. Going back to Nick’s point, this is not more awesome. Another let down in a day that was riddled with confusion.

Last but not least we went to a talk by Matthias KaƤppler “Kick-starting Android Application Development”. The talk delivered what it promised, and with an awesome presentation made using prezi.com it finally showed some actual good development stuff done for the android.

We ended the day with some demo’s of application made by people in the audience and finally an awesome barbecue, free beer and hamburgers! All standing outside near local fires made in bins, the atmosphere was awesome!

So the conclusion of the day has to be that the level of the talks are a bit disappointing, there is either not enough content, good content or actual facts and it is easy to spot people who do this more then once or people just trying their hand on presenting for the first time.

I am hoping that tomorrow will bring more talks of a better quality!