Meeting with the JVM community at GeeCON webp image

Amazing JVM community in one place at one time? Say no more! We made sure to make the most out of GeeCON 2022. Here is a snapshot of our experience.

Find out what our developers have learned, which SoftwareMill engineers gave talks, and what the GeeCON attendees enjoyed when making a visit to our sponsor booth.

What have we learned at GeeCON?

Programmers go to conferences for various specific reasons, most often for the opportunity to learn. At the venue, you're able to talk to well-known experts from the industry and spend time with people similar to you - other developers.

Hungry for new insights, we scanned the lineup and chose the talks to attend. This is what we took back from the GeeCON experience.

“Back to first principles” by Tomer Gabel

Tomasz Szymański: The keynote by Tomer Gabel was a little different to what we are used to. While usually, we get performances that are more to entertain us, providing not so much of the contents, this one was different. It made me challenge myself with some serious questions:

  • Are there company values that are more important than others?
  • How often do I have to make difficult decisions compromising the things I say are axiomatic?
  • Do I always choose the right ones?
  • What does it mean for the company?

"Say goodbye to implicits - contextual abstractions in Scala 3" by Magda Stożek

Tomasz Szymański: Magda proved that Scala is not standing still. The language architects are listening to the community and working hard to make Scala easier to understand and use with its 3rd version. The number of questions asked by the audience showed that the topic is dear to the hearts of many. And Magda did a great job explaining everything in an easy to understand way.

Bartek Żyliński: This year's edition of GeeCON was the first one I have ever participated in. As I mostly wanted to speak and interact with people, I spent most of my time at the conference at the SoftwareMill booth. However, I also found some time to listen to a few talks and even gave one myself. My favorite talk was the one given by Magda about differences in how implicits work in Scala 2 and Scala 3. She presented lots of useful information on how to migrate our implicits magic to Scala 3 alongside some tips and tricks. As a side note, I want to add that the conference as a whole was awesome.

Paweł Stawicki: It was the best presentation for me. I might be biased because she's my colleague, but I liked the way Magda explained all implicit use cases step by step, very clearly, and showed examples of how it can be done in Scala 3.

Sebastian Rabiej: I found out that Scala 3 will be great to work with because implicits will change completely and it's worth looking into that.

"What the CRaC - Lightning fast JVM startup" by Gerrit Grunwald

Szymon Kałuża: Gerrit presented an OpenJDK project called CRaC (Coordinated Restore at Checkpoint) that introduces a new approach to optimization. It combines the advantages of AOT (Ahead of Time Compilation) and JIT (Just in Time Compilation) and allows to dramatically reduce Java apps’ start-up and warm-up time via saving the image of running JVM. Data shown during the talk were really impressive and promising. For now, this solution is not ready for use in production yet, but I think it is worth following its development.

Dawid Popczyk: I found the talk to be quite interesting. The concept of saving the JVM state with our app to later be able to restart it in, let’s say: “lightning fast” manner was fascinating. The talk contained a PoC, which is always nice to see in these types of talks. I think it’s worth keeping an eye on this project.

Krzysztof Atlasik: I'm a Java and Scala engineer, but I rarely have the time and opportunity to dig deep into the internals of JVM. For that reason, a talk about project CRaC intended to optimize startup times and performance of Java-based applications was a real eye-opener for me. I'll definitely check it in the future.

“Design a Scalable Product & Engineering Methodology - Only Dead Fish Go with the Flow” by Roman Pichlik

Dariusz Broda: Being a triathlon enthusiast, Roman breaks his own limits. He made me think whether SCRUM is really a go-to solution for better productivity when a team is growing. What other options do we have? Based on his own experiences, he took us into outer space. He suggested that a large team (e.g. 30 people) should not be broken into artificial, small teams. There will be a shortage of domain experts in small teams, and competencies may also be a problem. Instead, to meet business requirements, he suggested organizing teams around missions. The goal of the mission is carried out by a part of the team sent into space, and, as a rule, it does nothing else during this time but work on the goal. The mission lasts 2-6 weeks. Meanwhile, the rest of the team, while at the ground base, waits or is working on another mission for which the crew is selected. Interesting idea, especially for large teams.

“How to keep your flame burning – on burn-out and its prevention” by Aleksandra Błaszczyk

Dariusz Broda: An interesting lecture on the reasons for professional burnout and how to deal with them. When we feel tired of our projects, should we just turn everything around and work on putting the roofing felt on the roof? Is it always necessary to see a specialist? It turns out that we often create problems ourselves, neglecting our own needs. We exploit ourselves in the name of customer satisfaction and project success. That is important, of course, but we overlook the importance of having time to rest. It turns out that it is best to charge our batteries during a quiet holiday, when we don't deal with work, or intensive trips around the world (but for this, the time is yet to come). In addition to thinking about personal and professional development, it is important to plan and implement holidays, and plan them bearing in mind that we also need to have a chance to get bored.

“Valhalla: codes like Object, but behaves like int” by Arkadiusz Sokołowski

Dawid Popczyk: I heard about the Valhalla project before but this was the first time I had a more in-depth introduction. It was nice to hear some of the problems the dev teams are trying to address and the means they’re taking to do so. Code samples felt like a sneak peek into the future of Java, which was cool.

Krzysztof Atłasik: Project Valhalla brings long-awaited value types to the Java ecosystem. Arkadiusz's talk gave me a sneak peek into how they will work and now I can't wait to see them in action.

“The End of the Data Ice Age” by Hugh McKee

Jacek Kunicki: I really enjoyed Hugh McKee’s session on what turned out to be a new take on Akka Serverless, now known as Kalix. The concepts and challenges that Hugh has discussed were unexpectedly similar to the brainstorms we recently had at SoftwareMill Academy. It was very reassuring to learn that we solved similar problems similarly.

“Modern Java Microservices in the Cloud” by Andrzej Grzesik

Magda Stożek: In his very interesting and well-delivered talk, Andrzej tries to answer the question: What makes the project modern in 2022? Is it the perfect architecture, the perfect stack, or maybe something else? Where do we draw the fine line between legacy and non-legacy code? How do we design our systems so that we can be productive and make changes fast? During the presentation, we got both some nice food for thought and a lot of practical tips.

Sebastian Rabiej: Andrzej gave me a fresh way of how to look at the architecture of my applications and how to choose their stack. In general, GeeCON was great, it's amazing to be able to meet with all of these people :)

"Techniques for a faster JVM start-up" by Ionut Balosin

Paweł Stawicki: This talk caught my attention because Ionut showed some handy JVM options and switches and managed to get a Spring example application from 6.5 seconds start time to 4 - which is impressive. It is still ages compared to GraalVM native image, which had a start time of less than 100 ms. This made me more interested in GraalVM, so I attended "GraalVM & Heap Dumps. Record, replay, analyze" by Jaroslav Tulach who showed heap dump analysis done in code.

Sergio del Amo Caballero on Micronaut and Michał Szynkiewicz on Quarkus

Adam Warski: As a large part of my time is lately taken up by development of tAPIr, I was interested to learn what the new Java web frameworks have to offer. Sergio’s and Michał’s talks were very informative in this area. It was really interesting to see how they both focus on developer experience, improving feedback cycle times as well as tooling. That's definitely an area the Scala ecosystem as a whole, and tAPIr individually, might draw inspiration from. On the other hand, the limited configuration language of annotations still seems to rule in the Java land, so tAPIr has an opportunity here to inspire others.

SoftwareMillers on the GeeCON stage

The atmosphere at GeeCON powered up not only us - attendees, but also the speakers. The energy from the audience motivates. This time, we had three speakers from our Team sharing their know-how at the conference!

  • Magda Stożek shed light on implicits in Scala, or, to be precise, lack thereof, in Scala 3. While the JVM crowd is mainly Java programmers, Magda’s gentle introduction to contextual abstractions gathered quite a crowd of listeners.
  • Jacek Kunicki convinced everybody that with a little preparation and pro tips from a senior programmer - anyone can try themselves at giving a life coding session and succeed.
  • Bartłomiej Żyliński dived deep into the math behind our systems' scalability. A talk full of equations and geeky stuff for numberphiles.

What could you expect at our booth?

It’s hard to stand out from the crowd at vibrant IT events, but we think we did quite well ;)

We are a people company. People build relationships and - as a result - the image of the organization they create. We love projecting our SoftwareMill Vibes outside and interacting with you directly. Getting to know you better at stationary events is something we always really enjoy. At onsite events, many valuable conversations happen naturally. This is what online events can never deliver: a way to engage your audience during breaks.

That is why we prepared loads of attractions for the JVM crowd. Here’s a snapshot of what was happening.

The wheel of JVM Fortune

Most programers agree that it takes several months to be comfortable with the basics of coding. But no matter how experienced a programmer you are, there are some language nuances and novelties that you can be surprised by. That is why you love our Wheel of JVM Fortune game so much. We came up with various Java questions, some of them tricky! The discussions we had during the play - priceless. As we all know, sometimes "it depends" ;)

Functional Programming Cookbook

Although GeeCON is not very much about Functional Programming, we decided to introduce you to the concept of Monads, but in a fun way! We found a way to teach you how Pure is different from puree! 😉 Maybe you know what Monads are, but are still wondering about a specific example of their implementation in code? Grab an ebook with a simple recipe for creating a monad at home!

tAPIr Lego challenge

tAPIr is our OSS project that the Scala community uses and loves. Consider joining the adopters list here, if you're already a user. We challenged GeeCON attendees with building their own Tapirs with Lego. We got quite a cute Tapir family at the end. The prize? DevSkin swag or a tapir mascot.

Open positions at SoftwareMill

Skills do not tell the whole story. Values play a crucial part of who we are, what we give back to the community, and who we invite on a journey with us. That is why getting to know you better at GeeCON was something we really enjoyed. We're always looking for passionate engineers to join our team! Check our career page to check if we are a match!

You may like: Why we hire beyond the skills

DevSkin Softwear giveaway and promo

In celebration of GeeCON 2022, we had a special offer for all those who love our swag! 15% off all DevSkin Softwear items in our online store. By purchasing DevSkin products, you support SOS Ukraine - all proceeds go to Polish Humanitarian Action.

Let’s meet at Confitura next :) Join the event for free!

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