Tag Archives: trip

Trip report: Devoxx 2017 🇧🇪

I’ve watched all of the published ~180 videos from this year’s Devoxx Belgium. Not all of them till the end, but it was still pretty hard. Also, it’s great nice that the videos are published on the very next day.

This is my first trip report. I’ve never done any of this before, But I think now is a good time to start. And there is a nice reason for this! I had the chance to speak at Devoxx 2017!

Disclaimer: There will be a lot of Me, Myself and I in this post. Its not much technical. It’s just like sharing my own emotions. …I’ll call it a “smoothy post”. If you want to get straight down to my recommended talks (my post-event playlist!) skip to the end section.

Here I’d like to encourage you to attend this type of event, and your employers to support these initiatives. These events are great fuel for personal growth!

All the conferences…

I think the best introduction for this was done in the previous post, so I’ll just copy and pasted it below:

This year was quite a DE(VOXX)ED for me! First I had a chance to speak in wonderful Romania, then beautiful Vienna, after that amazing Lugano, then the loveliest Krakow, finally at the huge Antwerp event! In between I also gave some talks in my home towns Sofia –Java2Days and St. Petersburg – Joker! Let’s not forget that I was in the dreamteam of 5 to organize and run the coolest jPrime conf!

I’ve had quite an intense year!!! Each of these conferences deserves it’s own separate trip report. All of them were just wonderful!

However, I’ve focused on this event because, well, being selected as a speaker at Devoxx Belgium is quite an honоr! And at least twice as honorable to have two sessions!

Why Devoxx Belgium is special?

This is my third time to the city of Antwerpen, but first time to Devoxx. I believe that every developer must go there at least once. Actually, even better would be to go every year! Just because everybody is there, almost all of the Java influencers! Not only can you just listen to the talks, but you can literally talk to them directly. This is what makes this conference truly unique, especially for Europe!

(Well I haven’t been to JavaZone yet. People say it has comparable by attendees count. I hope one day I will be able to go there as well.)

Unfortunately I was not able to be all the five days there, so I’ve missed all the Deep Dive sessions. I was only able to make the three last days, but it was still great!

The funny thing is that to get to Antwerpen, Belgium, the easiest way for me was to make it via Eindhoven, Netherlands. It is only a one hour drive with a car from Antwerpen, and Ryanair flies there.

The event takes place in Kinepolis.

As I came to the venue, I as a speaker I have received a very special gift:

My first impression was that Belgium is not so much to the north for this kind of hats. This looks more like Russian then Belgian! But after spending some time in Antwerp and I have realized that this was actually the best gift for this time of the year! It kept me dry and warm. So thank you very much!

And it’s we’re talking about hats, they were quite trendy at this conference!

(Baruch Sadogursky, Alexey Shipilev, Oleg Shelaev)

Since I came Wednesday afternoon, this day I could not attend any session, just because all of my good friends were there in the lobby.

I just could not stop myself from chatting and greeting everybody!

I was so happy to meet my amazing friend Dr. Venkat Subramaniam and great Kirk Pepperdine!

My dearest friend Roberto!

Edson Yanaga and Peter Palaga!

And of course Sebastian Blanc!!!

(Yes it’s blurry, it was made in the end of the day when everybody was tired)

Meeting people is definitely the coolest part of every conference!

I could have a very interesting discussion with Chris Thalinger about project Sumatra and Johan Vos about Gluon! Chat with Davide Delabassée, meet again with Matt Raible, have some shawarma with Rafael Winterhalter.

These guys are awesome!

By the way at the end of the day I had the chance to attend this speakers BOF by Hubert Sablonnière.

Hubert always hosts very useful discussions about how to speak and perform well at conferences. I have attended first such discussion in Morocco and I liked it a lot!

Day one ended in a very Belgian way:

Day two

Day two (or technically day four) was the day I gave both of my talks. But before that, I was honored to be interviewed by amazing Yolande Poirier About my talk “Java and the GPU”.

It was also a great pleasure to chat with wonderful Katharine Beaumont, with whom we’ve met many times through all of the year on different Voxxed/Devoxx events.

To tell you the truth I liked the venue! In many ways cinemas are great speakers’ perspective: Huge movie screen, plus very comfortable for attendees!

Is a disabled in a wheelchair was always easy for me to find a convenient place as an attendee.

From the organisers’ perspective I know that there are some issues with cinemas, but still it was ok!

Finally it was my turn to speak! The first session was a bit strange for me. It was not exactly technical, it was more social. It was named “Disabled > work > enabled”. I’m truly happy that the organisers gave a chance to me to make this quickie. In those 15 minutes I tried to share my experience, and how it helped me as a disabled to find my place in this industry. I’ve also try to convince companies to hire more remote workers thus equalizing the chances of disabled people to get a good job.

Video can be found here:

My  second talk was “Java on GPU”.

But just before that, quite accidentally I was introduced to Brian Goetz himself by James Weaver. I was really happy! Its a pity I had to prepare for my talk and had to leave the conversation. My deepest respect for both of them!

I knew from the beginning that my talk about the GPU is not a hype talk. So I didn’t expect much people to come. Still I was quite happy that the hall was almost full!


(This is 15 minutes before the talk)

I must admit that I felt so nice as the demo worked. Since I was using the Amazon cloud, I wasn’t quite sure that the demo gods will support me, but it worked!

The video is available here:

By the way we have shared some of the Bulgarian Java User Group T-shirts in this event for free!!

It was an amazing experience! I want to thank everybody who attended this session I sincerely hope you found something new for you! I had a lot of questions and discussions after the session. Although the scope of the technology is quite limited, if the task is suitable, some huge benefits can be achieved. I’ve tried to demonstrate this. And GPUs can be easily used in the Java world.

After getting done get I’ve got this wonderful feeling of relief! That was a good time to hang around!

And suddenly whom do I see! Josh!! My old buddy Josh Long! OMG!! I must admit he was one of the people who inspired me to try to speak at conferences.

Not only Josh! Brother Mark Heckler is also here!

But thats not all! I’ve met Stephen Chin! I’ve been watching his night hacking series since the very beginning! And now I’ve met him!

At the end of the day there was a special edition of the Russian podcast Razbor Poletov.

We had a live emission together with Baruch Sadogursky, Viktor Gamov, Alexey Shipilev, Alex Borisov, Andrey Cheptsov and Mykyta Protsenoko.

http://razbor-poletov.com/2017/11/episode-144.html (in Russian)

It was a pleasure for me as a regular listener to be part of it this time.

Day three

Day three (or technically day five), was a short day. Unfortunately only half day was allocated for the final sessions of the event. So it was wonderful just to attend the talks. Still it was a tough choice – I wanted to attend all of the sessions! But it all ended up with the wonderful talks by Stuart Marks, Heinz Kabutz and Brian Goetz.

It was great! Definitely a must attend event!

After the conference…

As we had some time and our return flight was scheduled for the next day, we’ve decided to make a small ride to Gent. Absolutely lovely and very beautiful town!

The technical side

Ok, this was the “emotional” part of the event. Now some technical thoughts.

This Devoxx actually represented all of the modern trends in Java (and all around Java) world:

  • Java 9 and modularity;
  • Java Enterprise;
  • Spring and all around Spring;
  • Kotlin;
  • Machine learning and AI;
  • Some Devops/Containers/Clouds;
  • Microservices.
  • Hardcore stuff

As I’ve mentioned above, I’ve watched about ~180 videos of the talks I could not attend. So I’ve made my own short list of the talks I liked the most, including those I’ve seen there myself:

Once again!

It was a truly great experience and a lot of run! Special thanks for Stephen and the team for having me!

and special thanks to Ivan Ivanov, Vlado Pavlov  and the Bulgarian guys/gals for the full time support!

And as member of The Gang of Five which stands behind the jPrime conference, I’ll try share the experience I’ve gained with the Bulgarian Java Community and inside my Company.

I’ll try to make some more posts.. if my talks are accepted elsewhere 🙂