On paper it seems like this was a light week… but not really. Technically I only made it to one official meetup though – the Android Australia User Group – Sydney. It was a special one too, as it was Georgina’s final meetup as organiser (after 4.5 years!). Before the 😭, we had a couple talks, both of which built on topics I had learned about from YOW! speakers last year…

The first was by Quirijn Groot Bluemink from The Iconic. Quirijn’s talk was an introduction to Flutter, a new mobile app SDK to help developers and build mobile apps for both iOS and Android. Flutter uses Dart, a programming language that Google developed and uses to run some very large apps.

I learned about Flutter and Dart last December from Kasper Lund‘s talk at YOW! 2017. Basically it saves you from having to reimplement your app’s functionality for each platform – you can literally use the same code for both! I was amused that both Quirijn and Kasper mentioned the Hamilton app as one of the most well-known apps built with Flutter.

The second talk of the night was Mitch Tilbrook giving us a peek at Kotlin “backstage.” Kotlin is a programming language that runs on the JVM but can also be compiled to JavaScript source code. While it’s been around since 2011, it got a big push this year when Google announced first class support for Kotlin on Android at I/O.

I was lucky enough to see two talks on Kotlin last year by Svetlana Isakova, one of the core developers of Kotlin at JetBrains. She gave a keynote at YOW! Connected 2017 called “You Can Do Better With Kotlin” (video here) as well as as a YOW! Night that dived deeper into features like support for coroutines.

After the two talks, there was a special presentation of thank yous and flowers to Georgina for everything she’s done for the group. Well done, G!

I had hoped to attend DevOps Sydney on Thursday night, but unfortunately it was cancelled. Frankly I was relieved, as my brain was rapidly turning to mush as I battled through the three-day functional programming course put on by Data61 and the Queensland Functional Programming Lab. I expected it to be challenging… and yeah.

I’m not gonna lie – this was hard. The instructors were great and my fellow students were all friendly, but the reality is that this is literally a semester’s worth of university-level content covered in three 8-hour days. Not just that, but FP in general is quite a mind-flip from other programming paradigms. I found that I would hit a wall every couple of hours where things would suddenly stop making sense. That would trigger a stressful fight-or-flight response, and it was really hard to push through. (Massive thanks go to assistant instructor Dave and my friend Jed for helping me as best they could.)

The fact that I returned after that first day is solely down to the Snook persuading me that I could do it. (I really, really didn’t want to go back.) I survived though, and even if I didn’t understand everything, I have a much better grasp on the concepts that I did before I started. I learned a lot of vocabulary and demystified some of the more arcane bits of FP jargon. The next time I crack open my Haskell book, things will be easier.

Other Stuff

  • I’m going to India! I was honoured to be invited to speak at this year’s Agile India 2018 in Bangalore in March. I’ll be talking about Building Software That Lasts. If you’re in the area, you should definitely attend.
  • LinuxConfAU kicks off tomorrow! Tomorrow I’ll be hosting an art exhibition during the lunch break, and on Tuesday the 23rd I’ll be running the Art + Tech Miniconf. (There are a limited number of miniconf-only tickets available for purchase for Tuesday, so let me know ASAP if you want one.)
  • Tickets are still available for Sydney’s Global CFP Diversity Day event on February 3! If you’ve got a goal of speaking at a tech conference, you should come along to this workshop.
  • Curious about what Webpack actually does? I found this excellent Reddit comment that explains it in straightforward English. If you’ve ever wanted to know why we don’t just add <script> tags to a page anymore, read that.
  • The YOW! team often shares links to interesting stories in tech via our internal Slack. I especially liked this one from my boss Dave: Your Next T-Shirt Will Be Made by a Robot. I will be very curious to see if this company can pull it off. I’ve seen videos of robots trying to fold towels, and they are so flummoxed by soft fabrics that they have to move verrrrry sloooooooowly.
  • And one more reminder – we have two upcoming YOW! events in Sydney with open Calls for Presentations! YOW! Data will be held on May 14-15 and is looking for speakers on data-driven technologies and applications. YOW! Lambda Jam is coming up on May 21-23 and is all about functional programming.

I leave you with a final bit of wisdom from my FP course…