Wicked Good Development is dedicated to the future of open source. This space is to learn about the latest in the developer community and talk shop with open source software innovators and experts in the industry.
After attending the Devoxx Poland Developer Conference in June in Krakow, Kadi and co-host Steve Poole sat down with a few of the speakers. These include Oleg Šelajev, Developer Relations at Atomic Jar Inc, Ana-Maria Mihalceanu, Java Champion and Developer Advocate at Redhat, and Brain Vermeer, Java Champion and JUG Leader Netherlands. They discussed their key takeaways from the event, trends on cloud adoption, how hot the developer market is right now, and their favorite presentations (hint: they weren’t their own talks!)
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- Kadi Grigg - Host - (Twitter: @kadigrigg)
- Steve Poole - Co-host, Developer Advocate at Sonatype / @spoole167
Oleg Šelajev - Developer Relations at Atomic Jar Inc / @shelajev
Ana-Maria Mihalceanu - Java Champion, Developer Advocate at Redhat / @ammbra1508
Brian Vermeer - Java Champion. JUG Leader Netherlands / @BrianVerm
Hi, my name is Kadi Grigg, and welcome to another episode of Wicked Good Development, where we talk shop with OSS innovators and experts in the industry and dig into what's happening in the development community.
Yeah and hi my name is Steve Poole, Developer Advocate here at Sonatype. And I'll be your co-host. Today, we hope to bring you up to speed on the latest in the community through our conversations.
Today, we have an excellent panel of speakers that were at Devoxx Poland last week. So before we get into the conversation, can each of you introduce yourselves how people can interact with you on Twitter or LinkedIn, as well as what your speech was last week? So Ana, do you want to go first?
Okay, so I'm Ana, a Java champion and certified architect. I'm currently working for Red Hat as a Developer Advocate. Last week at Devoxx Poland was awesome. And I was there with, a well, with one talk about helm and operators, and another workshop about the efficient resource management on Kubernetes. So for me, like everything, the event and how it was organized, and the enthusiasm of attendees were awesome. I really feel recharged after the conference.
Yeah, it was exciting to see everyone too.
Hi, my name is Oleg. And I work on a the Developer Relations team at the Atomic Jar, which is a startup by the maintainers, some of the test container libraries. And yeah, I just want to add that I love Devoxx. It was a great, great conference, I had just one session about the test containers and how to use them. And I tried to inspire people to show what's possible.
Well, you definitely did stir up some Twitter conversation.
Yes, yes, I have received very lively and loud feedback about my session. Yes. Enough about me, Brian.
Okay, let me introduce myself. Hi, my name is Brian Vermeer, fellow Java champion, board member for the Netherlands Java user community, and on the DevRel team for Snyk. And my talk at Devoxx. Poland was about different security phases that currently in developer needs to face. It's not only about your application anymore, but also things like containers and Kubernetes clusters are factors that people can attack, and they show them how you can do this. But more importantly, how we should be aware that we need to prevent this as developers. And yeah, you can reach me on Twitter. My YouTube channel is also a little stale.
All right. Well, Steve, you gave a presentation. Do you want to recap? Yeah.
Okay, so I did the talk about 10x developers. So you know, the idea was to explain to developers that, they, these people do exist, but mostly it's a team effort, and how you could think about being a better developer. But I didn't quite get the reaction. I mean, it was a really, I mean, it was a packed session. And it took me 20 minutes to escape the room afterward. But it was interesting to see some of the feedback that I got from other people later on, which we can talk about when we get to it.
And then the other thing, of course, we did was the Jeopardy game. And- which went down really well. And Ana was the winner. Well, Ana's team was the winner, and Ana has the goldish unique, really heavy present that she's going to take to JBCN. And we haven't quite figured what's gonna happen with it. Are they gonna give it to the next winners? Or maybe the next losers. Or maybe we're just changing it for something else. But, you know, hopefully, this is a tradition that will continue for as long as we can run the game.
So let's dive in. Last week, there were a lot of different speakers giving a variety of different talks. Now, I'm curious to see if you noticed that there were any trends in the discussions going on? So were there certain topics that were popular? Were there certain topics talked about more than others? And then, were there topics that you were surprised weren't talked about at all?
I can start. So from the conversations I had, I had seen a lot of people are concerned with optimizing what they're already doing. And a lot of people are enthusiasts on Quarkus, and I'm not getting abstraction from the fact that we're using Quarkus at Red Hat, and we're using OpenShift and all this. There was a lot of enthusiasm from people coming through the session. And also a lot of interest and a lot of great questions and suggestions coming from the public or what they would expect from the framework or from things to happen.
And a lot of good questions regarding performance, like how, how would we think, to some solutions, or what practices we would recommend improving the performance of applications that have like, you know, spikes in loads that from time to time in all these kinds of kinds of stuff.
So, overall, that's what I would say. Also, I've seen a lot of Spring Boot presentations. The test containers, one was very interesting. And had a lot of a lot of traction. But yes, that's what I've noticed from the presentations that I mean, people are focused on improvement and actually going further with what they're doing in their current development life. And very interested in like learning more and how to apply more.
I would say the level of the conversation going on was very advanced.
We saw it because we had a booth at the conference, and obviously, people came up to us. And, because hey, we're hiring- like lots of people, we have many people coming up and talking to us.
I reckon maybe one in three was interested in recruitment. I mean, it's a rough figure, but what got I at UK Devoxx, Poland, compared to almost every other DevOps conferences, was that the number of people looking for new work was much higher than I'd seen before. And I don't know if that's a new trend or whether it's location. But it definitely seemed that the whole conference was geared towards that sort of finding a new job and picking out the new skills that you need to have to improve your chance of getting a job. So that was my impression. But I don't know, do you feel that was the same in the conversations you had?
Well, I didn't have conversations about jobs or about these things. I mean, I must admit, I didn't look into that part of the conference. But yeah, as I said, the level of the people was like, much higher than, like, much more deep knowledge then, than regular. And regular because it was not another beginner conference, it's just like, I would say regular Devoxx. Because Devoxx is in general, they do have an audience of experienced people attending it.
I feel like the deeper dive talks were had over and over here. So there was not a lot of let's begin with Kotlin, like these kinds of talks were lucky and skipped out. There was more on, like how to go into a specific library or specific niche, and that's, I think, that's what we saw more of. Focused on a specific topic instead of a broader overview thing that is on the technical level.
I mean, we saw a lot of things about cloud native stuff. So how to create service meshes. Do I actually need a surface mesh? These kinds of things but also related to how to build a cloud native application. So you see that shift towards that. A lot of my, in my opinion - a bunch of talks about general things that we have already done for years, but people needed to be reminded of that.
I think a good explanation was the keynote by Ted Neward on "Quick and Dirty". And that quick and dirty, mostly the dirty part, is what triggers people and why we are doing certain things, and should we be doing certain things? And there were a lot of these similar things on architecture and more back to the basics, what we used to do like 20 years ago, or 10 years ago, and now we tend to have forgotten that.
And I agree with Steve that there was a lot, like on the conference floor, not not in the sessions, but on the tradeshow floor. I think 99% of the booths were there to hire folks to get people into their company to either, as consultants or like to, like small consultancy firms that want to want to put people out to in other projects or actually get to work for a larger banks and insurance companies for instance. I do believe that is that was already the case. The previous years in Poland might have something to do with the pool of talent that is there. There because a lot of bright people there and location.
Well, I'm in Krakow. It's amazing. And it's an amazing conference.
So I was gonna ask you, Brian, I think you just said it anyway, was your impression that Devoxx Poland, was is it that sort of conference that it does a lot of recruiting or is there for a lot of recruiting. I mean, it’s just good if that's the case for other people to understand that if they're going to Devoxx Poland as a business or a speaker or whatever, what the audience is interested in? And why do they go? Because that makes a big difference.
I think most of the sponsors that were there having a booth were definitely there for recruitment.
Of course, not everybody, but most of them were there for recruitment. Most of them were also local parties that want to recruit Polish people to work for them. So I think that is good for the Polish developer market. And you see that developers are eager. Might not always be comfortable to ask questions in a room right away; big room, the speaker. But afterward, I had a ton of conversations with folks about specific use cases, their topics, and how I looked at it, but also with other speakers, how they looked at certain sorts of things. So I think the pool of talent is a huge thing there. And everybody wants to have a piece of that.
I mean, so that again, that was, what I liked was it's great when you go to a conference, and you can talk to people, and they give you a hard time because they're asking good questions. And that was the case at Devoxx Poland, which is fabulous. Oleg, did you get the same rush of maintainers people jumping up and down for more information?
Right, so test containers are a fairly large community, right?
As it's a basic fundamental thing that everyone should be doing tests. I had a lot of questions after the session about the specifics: either demos that I showed, whether people can find those materials and kind of take it to the next level or the particular details of the integration switch technologies.
This might be a little bit specific for test containers, because we integrate with, like a ton of, third-party, off-the-shelf solutions. Like we have modules for the databases for, I don't know, Kafka, and then for Elasticsearch and whatnot. So, lots of questions were like, “Oh, do you have, like, a specific setup for working with Kafka?” Like, for example, Kafka clusters, compared to some ways be simpler setups, which is very, very good because it shows that people actually use test containers in the wild.
And then they want to, they want to see what they can do something better than their, like, homegrown solutions that they somehow figured out. And this is also what I like about that is, because those things are the prime opportunities for attracting new contributors to the project.
Which is great because if somebody is using a particular setup and say like, “Oh, we're doing integration tests with test containers and Kafka clusters,” right? And then often, the out-of-the-box modules that we have do not support maybe cluster setups that easily. They can contribute that back, which is what I tried to explain to everyone who would ask me like, “oh, how to do this particular thing better,” and then yeah.
So go, if you use open source modules, or open source libraries in general, or tools, it doesn't have to be test containers, though it's a great default choice for, maybe if you want to contribute something- I'd be very happy.
But if you're using some open source things, right, know that you have the power to shape the future of those tools and technologies, right? Be the change that you want to see in the world, as they say. And just we all know that like contributing to open source can be a little scary. Especially like in the large established projects. It's not that easy, right? You don't go to Kubernetes and start like whipping up PRs left and right and expect everything to be merged right now and then become like the maintainer, right? But - see how smoothly I equated sort of testcontainers and Kubernetes? Like two very successful but very different ahh..
So test containers is a service, isn't it? I mean, you provide the service?
No, testcontainers is the libraries. Right? So.. Well, at Atomic Jar, we're currently building the product, which is the cloud back end for running containers during the tests that you write with test containers. And it's currently in the private beta. And if you, if you feel like you could use this opportunity to defer this like a large chunk of like, resource using power to the cloud, please take a look at testcontainers.cloud and like, talk to me, I'd be happy to talk.
But in general, you don't have to use any service to run test containers or to run integration tests using test containers, neither on your desktop nor on the car in the CI environments. So it's just pure open source libraries for all different languages. Like it's not even just JVM languages.
Okay, so what I was intrigued about was whether we saw more adoption of services to help productivity. I mean, is that a trend that's happening? Because I just think, you know, traditionally, developers would have said, “I'm not doing that I want to run it at my desk because I have to have complete control.”
But I feel like, I say it's a feeling more than anything else, that people are more and more willing to go run a third party tool that's on the cloud because it's quicker and easier. And it just improved productivity because they don't have to set things up with a figure. And so that was just my feeling. I just wonder if anybody else has the same idea or whether they dispute that?
I think it's, I think it's in between. I think a lot of developers still need to do things on the local machines or on-prem because what we saw is that a bunch of folks works for, work for banks and insurance companies, and maybe even the government. And I had questions about the Snyk tooling, “Hey, can you do this on-prem?” And, of course, we can do this on-prem.
But it is what I tried to explain this is not the scalable way. And well, in a sense, you see that people slowly moving towards having cloud services to do their stuff on. I mean, a lot of people already have some services in the cloud, as in on an AWS system or on Google Cloud System, or whatever, and trying to use other services. But it depends on which kind of environment you're in, which kind of type of organization you work for.
So I think people want to, but the old fashioned companies are still afraid. So I think that is there is a need for both running this stuff like Oleg saying with the testcontainers, the libraries are still available, you can use that on your local machine, or whatever you do. But in the future, you might want to offload a certain thing and go to the cloud. And I think that is for a ton of services the same case.
Yeah, I mean, we can see you're looking at the past. You can look at even going back to like email. When Google turned up, people were going, “Oh, I want to remove a mail server. I wanted to be safe because I can't trust Google.” Because it was like it was a cloud service.
But over time, you realize that the risk reward is not as bad as you think. And you move on to use those things. So if you look at what we're doing here (podcast recording platform), you know, we're using this as a cloud service, and COVID, lockdown, etc, has forced us all to go online. So I just get the feeling that we're going to see more and more of this, and the companies that are going down that we must have an on-prem service are going to find that harder to validate because it goes easier in the third party thing.
I think it has something to do with, specifically, Poland, as well as Europe. So GDPR is a big thing over here. And customer data cannot just be out in the open, specifically not if your servers are running somewhere in the United States, because of different laws.
So one of the questions I always get is like, “Hey, do you have like single tenant, European based data centers, where your where your stuff runs?” So that's, of course, something we offer, but the thing is that a lot of banks or public organizations like government things, cannot just hand off their PII data for what they need to work with to either the United States or Asia or whatever. But needs to be either in the European Union or even in the country. So these are still things that people struggle with.
Yeah, just to add… But while I think that will never change, actually, I see very unlikely that the, like the big kind of slow moving companies and teams whose focus is mostly on stability, will suddenly start adopting various cloud technologies or cloud products like that, right? Even if they don't run that in production. Then so, the moment goes always like that, right? As you start, you're starting to do some changes in production because that's where the incentives are to optimize for the biggest impact, right? That's like the whole migration to the cloud for the applications.
And then it slowly starts, like sort of trickling down back to the development, the shifting, shifting, shifting left, the cloud product consumption, so to speak. You start doing like, “Oh, let me run my CI in somebody else's cloud.” Because that's also, like, loads of resources needed for that, right? You might don't, you might like, avoid writing that in your data centers. And then you will like, “Oh, let me think about running the individual products like that defer some parties here to the cloud, or let me run, the whole may be remote cloud based development environments,” as Gitlab provides. Or, and I've seen a lot of companies blogging and writing about how they actually use the cloud, like the remote environments. And I have never seen anything, anyone talking about how “Oh, we tried this remote cloud thing, and, and we hated it. So we were no backup at the old setup.”
So I think while the movement might be might seem a little slow, and I don't expect that ever to be like fully 100%, I think there is no, people are not coming back to the local setups can.
If we look at what's happening in the supply chain arena, now, you look at the security issues and things that those old legacy systems that you've got, that you might have stuck a couple of firewalls around and hoped you could get away with just not updating it, that's becoming less and less tenable. So then there will be these older systems are going to die quicker than most people expected. And, of course, every time you start looking at obsoleting, something, you're going to replace it with something new.
So yeah, so we'll see. It just seems cloud services, in the last few years, have become much more. I'm not sure they got any better. I'm sure some of them have. But they've become more accepted. Because as a population of the planet, we're much more used to working with, you know, cloud services, and it becomes less scary and less frightening. So yea, I thought that was really good.
I think that also. I think it also reflects the amount of talks that were on what I mentioned before, on how to build cloud native applications for yourself. And then the adoption of cloud tools. Let me express that will be part of that eventually. So I do absolutely agree with Oleg in this one.
Yeah, I have to say, I find that it's interesting to see that every time you adopt some new technology, you learn, you gain something, you lose something. And so you gain possibly the not having to run people servers and run your own servers. But what you lose is, is you have to deal with some particular cloud's complex deployment and configuration things. You know, every time I use a new one. And so how do I do this? So you know, and use that whole painful exercise of learning out how to get access keys, and all those sorts of things, sort out, depending on the cloud you go to. But of course, that's just life.
So I wanted what I did want to come back to because we wanted to talk about Devoxx Poland just because it's a fabulous conference. We had 2000 people there, apparently, and about 400 people online, which was just awesome. Where does Devoxx Poland fit in your list of favorite conferences?
It's my absolute top favorite Polish conference.
I would subscribe to that. I think.
I absolutely… I absolutely agree. Yeah, that is my favorite Polish conference. Yeah. And there are a bunch of Polish conferences to be honest.
To be honest, we also love geecon another smaller Polish conference. Right after Devoxx there was a conference for targeting students in Warsaw.
So there are a number of them, and it's a great conference, and I think everyone should form those opinions for themselves. So next year, come to Devoxx Poland. Be one of those 2000 people. Go to the sessions. Learn things. It's a great conference and then sees whether you like it or not for yourself.
So come on, what makes a good developer conference? What makes you…What criteria do you look for that make you want to go to that conference? Other than for them to accept your talks, of course.
Yeah, I agree accepting my talks is already a plus one. No, but honestly, if you just look at the schedule of Devoxx Poland from this year. The amount of different talks about different topics, but also if it is the same topic, it might be contradictory talk, or it's like, if you even if you go to all these talks about service meshes or something, you probably will not have two of the same talks covering exactly the same topic. That's a good one.
The other thing is a lot of this stuff is in English. What do you see with conferences that are in other countries, where English is not their native language, you see a balance between them. And I think the balance here is way, way more towards the English side. So, everybody who is either in Poland or close to Poland, or wants to travel there, because well say for Western European countries, for instance, it's doable. Like it is a two hour flight from Amsterdam for me to go to Krakow. It's pretty cheap. And a lot of amazing speakers are there. So and all the talks I've seen were in English, and I think there were just a handful of talks in Polish. So I think that is already a good one. 3 days. 2000 people. A lot of different speakers. A lot of different topics. You have me.
If I can say something about Devoxx Poland. What's great about it is that a lot of people from Eastern Europe could travel there as well. I mean, I got to meet with a lot of folks from the Romanian community there. I speak Romanian so that's, like, really cool for me.
Then, as Brian mentioned, the content is very important. That is also if you're asking, like what makes a developer conference great, it's also like to know very well, what content are you bringing to your audience? I mean, here, the organizers, when they knew their audience, they're like, “Okay, you can speaker you can say like, oh, yeah, this is intermediate from my point of view,” but maybe intermediate varies across different countries. So what's intermediate in one may be advanced in another one or beginner. So all this kind of makes it like a big success.
Also, the amount of sponsors and the parties that are going on after the event also helps as well. Like to make people comfortable and network because, in the end, we want developers to network, not just with the speakers but also between themselves exchange ideas. So yeah, anything that can nurture this feeling of like feeling comfortable talking to possibly unknown folks makes a great developer conference.
Well, I mean, I, I mean, Devoxx Poland was awesome. And I went home totally exhausted because I'd spoken to so many people for so long. And it was all good conversations and as a DevRel guy, what more can you have? You know, we, you explained what you're there for, and you get feedback. So I think it was great. It was enormously well organized, and it just flowed.
And you know, you can get that sense that because they've done it several times, it just worked. And it it was yeah, it was just good professional hall conference. And it had all the right characteristics that you'd like to see in other conferences, including apart from a good audience, a good location. The you know, being able to go off and do things in the evening, because that's cool, too. Because as professional travelers, it is nice to be able to visit new places.
So I think this is a good place to kind of wrap up this conversation. So I'm going to ask each of you what your final takeaway is from Devoxx Poland and what is one key thing that they would if because we will be providing in the shownotes links to your talks from last week. So what is one key takeaway as well from your talk that you would like people to take away when they go check it out? So, Brian, I'll start with you.
The key takeaway from my talk is to make sure that, as developers, you have the right culture but also the right tooling in place to help you be secure from the get go. Security is just as important as scalability and maintainability. Look at the tooling that is available and see how it fits your way of working instead of the other way around. Don't just satisfy to what was the market. What was your question?
And your key takeaway from Devoxx Poland or maybe an observation or something you noticed?
Well, my key takeaway from Devoxx Poland is pretty much that there were a lot of people, you can have a lot of conversations, a lot of talks great, and a great building in general. So go there, like pick the talks that you want, but also make some time to talk with the local folks, local people there and see what drives them and what they think is interesting. So you can have conversations about that, instead of looking at what's interesting for you.
Okay, so my talk was about automation and the automation side of Kubernetes; I’d like to draw the attention, like when you're picking the tool to work with Kubernetes, especially when you're automating your work, always balance the pros and the cons, that's actually what is in my talk, the good sides. And when you should not use that specific tool. Also, try the code, like, see if it works. And if it indeed matches your expectations, if you're using that tool, or if you use it in similar cases, as I did.
And in regards to takeaways from Devoxx, Poland, it was my first time at Devoxx Poland. I must admit, and I was very, very impressed by the venue, as Steve mentioned, and about the people. They're like very welcoming to everybody. So I would say keep, keep rolling with the awesome community you have there and be as forthcoming as, as everyone was during the conference, everybody is welcoming.
And something that I also noticed, from the organizers, they're always ready to help and like give you indications, some great stuff that you can do in the evening if you need to relax. Or, like pretty much help you feel comfortable and at home with anything. And that's an important aspect of all conferences, especially if you're a traveler.
Yeah, that's true because the people who are organizing were just awesome, especially because I was coming from the US. And there were, like, so many logistical things I had to figure out. So I felt like crazy asking them 15 million questions, but they were so kind every time. Steve, what is your key takeaway?
Ah, well, so my talk was about how to be a better developer. And so my key takeaway, what I'm trying to get across, was that, yes, you can learn to develop, but you can actually learn to be a better team. And that's more productive and more effective. So that was the basic thing. My key, key takeaways from the Devoxx were three things. One was your fight with a cardboard box. The other thing was the fact that always broke my finger. And the third thing that was that just in general Devoxx, Poland was just awesome. It had all the right ingredients. As I said, I went home exhausted because it was just a fabulous conference.
Since you saw the cardboard box incident, we will finish the conversation with you. What are your key takeaways?
Right. So from my session, I think the key takeaway is that any team should probably think about how they can test their applications better. And testing is one thing that we know improves the quality of your software. So there is no reason to neglect that.
And I know I know that some teams are doing an excellent job. And you're like, “Oleg but we're doing everything.” But there are… think about less fortunate teams who might not be doing everything yet. And, and yeah, so test your stuff. It's very, very important.
And in general, about the conference, I think it was great. I liked very much the set of sessions. And it was very unusual because I don't typically go to like several sessions with the same speaker. But I got to two sessions by Christina Aldan, I think. And she spoke about soft skills and how to say no, and how to kind of manage your life and your career and your path into the future better. And about memory.
Those who are like very cool, and sort of it, they weren't strictly speaking, they weren't technical talks, right. But they were very, very useful. And I recognized myself in the situations there. And so I think that is one of the highlights for me for sure. And when the videos are out, I would recommend you to at least skim through those sessions. Because even if you don't make radical changes in your life or your approach to work, even just knowing that other people will kind of stumble upon the same problems and this validation in how you might feel about work. This is a great help in life in general, which is, surprisingly, one of the major benefits of all the conferences, in general, right? You get to speak to your peers, and you get to experience. Even if you don't learn new things, you get to experience this validation, like, “Aha, we are all in the same boat.” Right? The other teams are also struggling to, I don't know, like, figure out how to make everyone learn what Kubernetes is and make sure that everyone is sort of aware that security is not something that ops people do. And so on. So, yeah, talk to your peers, talk to everyone. You have the experiences to share. So try to become a speaker. It’s great. It's very kind of scary, but it's great. And go to conferences, read books, subscribe to YouTube,s and don't be a stranger.
Well, thank you all so much for taking the time to be here today to speak with us. I cannot say thank you enough, and it was great meeting all of you last week. Looking forward to seeing more of you and hopefully coming back on the podcast soon.
Thanks for listening to another episode of wicked good development brought to you by Sonatype. This show was co-produced by Kadi Grigg and Omar Torres and made possible in partnership with our collaborators. Let us know what you think, and leave us a review on Apple Podcasts or Spotify. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave us a message. If you think this was valuable content, share this episode with your friends. Till next time.
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