Recently I had the pleasure of attending the TechExeter conference in, as the title suggests, Exeter. This was the first ever incarnation of this conference and I cannot say enough good things about it. Everything went very smoothly and there were hardly any problems (that I as an attendee noticed at least!). There was a great selection of talks, the food was great, and it was in Exeter so I didn’t have to travel far for a leading technology event.
Top highlights from Tech Exeter Conference 2016
Going cross-platform with ASP.NET Core
Presented by Joseph Woodward. This is something I’d already been looking into. The prospect of having the developer productivity benefits of the .NET framework, writing code in C#, with the ability to deploy across Windows and Linux, is very appealing. It was great to get another person’s perspective on the technology.
The what, why and how of Unit Testing with SQL Server
Presented by Annette Allen. This talk was full of great practical examples of how unit testing can be performed on SQL Server stored procedures, functions and views.
Data Science in the cloud with Microsoft Azure
Presented by Martin Thornalley. A really interesting introduction to HDInsight and Azure Machine Learning, demonstrating how accessible Microsoft have made these technologies and the benefits of cloud computing. If you’re looking to provision a Hadoop cluster, for example, compare the effort of setting it up yourself versus a few clicks on the Azure portal.
Overall, the conference was a very useful day. We’re delighted that a multi-disciplinary tech conference now exists in the South West and I’m already looking forward to next year!
I also had the pleasure of attending the Tech Exeter conference on October 8th 2016 which was held at the University of Exeter Business School. I must say Exeter, previously a bit of a quiet back-water, is really becoming quite an exciting place to be a software developer nowadays; It is events that this that are giving the city the essential notoriety that it needs to be recognised as a place where technical innovation happens.
At the conference, there were two simultaneous ‘streams’ of presentations. The attendees could pick which to attend out of four sessions in the morning followed by four in the afternoon. I attended a number of these together with Jon, so will not repeat any of his information above. However, I did have the audacity to attend some on my own, whilst Jon was in the other ‘stream’ (yes, I know I’m getting a little ahead of myself nowadays but these things apparently come with age).
Practical Agile (Lessons learned the hard way on our journey building digital products) with Ian Ames
Ian hails from HM Land Registry and gave an excellent presentation on the practical use of the Agile project management methodology, from the perspective of a large (I believe ~4500 people) organisation. I was particularly interested in his comments on the approach of dividing up a large, complex IT system into individual ‘micro-services’ in order to mitigate some of the difficulties with delivery.
On the (slight) downside, I was a little disappointed that the presentation did not align with my needs working for a small, very commercially-focused company. Indeed, during the presentation, Ian light-heartedly quipped ‘…coming from a government department I’m not exposed to real customers with real money”. I would have liked to have had some of my questions answered that relate to the application of Agile together with fixed-price contracts. But, never mind, maybe next time.
Jacob Tomlinson – Monitoring in a Scalable World
It was very interesting to see Jacob’s presentation which was centred on the use of open-source technologies for the monitoring of large systems. He spoke about Kibana, Kapacitor and Grafanafor the processing of large volumes of data together with the presentation of information drawn from it. He drew on his experiences at Met Office and the large systems he has worked with to produce this excellent presentation.
All in all, a very useful conference which included a number of items of particular relevance on use to the commercial software developer.