Last week the Vertabelo team visited the GeeCON 2014 conference. GeeCON is a well-known Polish Java conference. This year, it was organized in Kraków, one of the most beautiful Polish cities, which had been the capital of Poland up till the 16th century. There were over 1000 participants and about 100 lectures and lecturers. Hats off to the organizers for managing the crowd because they did it perfectly.
We went to GeeCON to promote Vertabelo. We spent the conference presenting Vertabelo to participants, explaining what it is and how it differs from other database modeling tools. The participants generally liked the idea of designing databases online. Many requested Team Account support and the possibility of an in-house installation, two features we will soon be adding to Vertabelo. The developers were intrigued by the technologies behind Vertabelo. We got numerous questions like “What is this written in?”
As usual, there were a couple of contests at our booth. Anyone who completed our database-related survey could draw one of our gadgets. The jigsaw puzzle with a provocative name: “Design your database offline” was a hit among people visiting our booth. Anyone who created an interesting database model in Vertabelo would get a GeeCoin. (Collecting as many GeeCoins as possible was a competition at the conference.) On the final day of the conference we gave out GeeCoins for completing our jigsaw puzzle as quickly as possible. The current record is 1 minute, 58 seconds!
Unfortunately, we only had time to attend a couple of lectures. I tremendously enjoyed Arun Gupta's lecture “How to get your kids started with Java programming.” The lecture was an overview of different programming platforms targeted at children, even at the age of 5. I tried the simplest one, scratch.mit.edu and it got me hooked for a couple of hours. (Unexpectedly, the interface I got was in Polish, so if your child is non-English speaking, check to see if it's available in your language as well.)
I enjoyed Ken Sipe's introduction to Go, a new language our colleague Rafał is very excited about. It was a nice overview of the basic language concepts. I didn't get the “object-oriented feeling” that the lecturer talked about. To me the impression of Go I got from the presentation felt like a mixture of C and SQL.
Jarek, a fellow Vertabelo team member, attended the lecture by Lukas Eder “Get Back in Control of Your SQL.” Lukas presented jOOQ, his Java library for handling SQL. The overall philosophy of the library is the philosophy behind Vertabelo: that SQL and the database are important, you should not back away from them in your application.
Finally something right up my alley: Functional Programming without Lambdas by Johan Haleby and Mattias Severson. The lecture was a case study of how to accomplish five simple programming tasks in functional style in Java pre-1.6. The speakers showed how to do the tasks in three libraries: Functional Java, LambdaJ and Guava. Unfortunately, only the Guava seems to be maintained today. The lecture was very nice.
It was fun to be at GeeCON, meeting and talking to so many developers. And it was entertaining to see the robots from Alderbaran Robotics. I will definitely be going to a Warsaw Jboss User Group meeting, which we were invited to by one of the group leaders.
Half of the Vertabelo team completed the Wednesday-to-Friday conference by staying in Kraków over the weekend (where I had a chance to pop at the speakers' trip to the Wawel Castle.)
Were you at GeeCON in Kraków? What did YOU enjoy most?