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Codemotion Rome 2014

There is no need to introduce Codemotion, an event that happens in some cities in Europe where development communities meet in one space for a two day conference with different programming languages and tracks for every developer’s need and flavour. One of them takes place in Madrid where you will easily find most of the Kaleidos team. However, the main event was born and is still being hosted by the incredible city of Rome.

So, there I was, invited by the organization of the event: Codemotion Rome 2014.

Opening Party

Roma is quite impressive as a city. Its narrow streets twist around ancient buildings providing an amazing backdrop for an international conference. Given that, the opening party is located in a place called ‘Tempio de Adriano‘ you can’t help but to hope for an impressive event, and that’s how it was. A lot of international speakers and assistants, interesting talks in an wonderful building just in Rome’s old quarter. My expectations were definitely fulfilled, and that was just the beginning.

First day (April, 11)

This day we had arranged to meet at Università Degli Studi III, Engineering Faculty. Sponsors gave the opening talk in the first day of conferences. Microsoft and Oracle where among them, so I tried to focus on setting my schedule and choosing my favourite talks.

Conference tracks and talks

Embrace the front-end revolution: Our Spanish colleague Alvaro Sánchez-Mariscal (@alvaro_sanchez) addressed front-end developers and highlighted the importance of this fast-growing role in companies worldwide and the revolution of languages such as HTML5, CSS and JS.

The Wonderful World That Is Twitter Bootstrap: Not everything was so positive at the conference. Twitter Bootstrap is a wonderful tool for fast-development of wire-frames or test-projects, but, in my humble opinion, it makes no sense as a production tool. I went to the conference expecting to find an advanced use of this Twitter project, but instead, there was a too happy, over-excited developer telling us how easy and fast is to develop with Bootstrap, while failing to take into account optimization, code quality and design. It was so bad I had to leave and go for a free coffee (did I say there was free coffee?).

Become a Front-end Developer Ninja using HTML5, JavaScript and CSS3: Thanks to the FSM I speak Italian so I could attend this talk because it was among the best talks I’ve ever been to. Marco Casario (@marcocasario) astonished us with a performance analysis of a website and an impressive collection of common front-end problems and his proposed solutions for them. Finally! there was an advanced-level conference.

Second Day (April, 12)

After a couple of days walking around Rome, a number of talks and some new kilos of pizza, it seemed that we were a little tired so the number of attendees went down. The tracks for this day were less technical and more focused on creativity, methodologies and inspiration. Good news for some of the more creative minds amongst us. The most interesting were:

Programmare la Creatività: While most of the people in the talk (90% developers) thought they were not creative at all, Lucia Zappacosta analysed the common problems we have when trying to be creative and taught us some techniques that we could use for group and personal improvement of this skill, and presented use examples that we could implement in our companies. Really interesting.

Refactoring Web Interfaces: Thanks again to the FSM, I also understand English and could attend this talk by Jina Bolton (@jina) part of the SASS team. Her talk started as a beginner lesson of CSS preprocessors (Sass) but evolved into an analysis of the internal process of style development inside the Sass team. Jina proposed an interesting way for organizing our code (quite similar to Kaleidos, I must say) and a nice idea for documenting and keeping our styles somehow visually tested. You can find a video of the same talk, at SassCamp.

What do I bring back from Rome?

First of all, there are plenty of nice, amazing developers out there doing amazing things, people we should learn from and listen, sometimes also in fields that are not exactly our own. Codemotion offered us the chance to meet people from all over the world and from a lot of different fields.

Second, Kaleidos is probably in the top ten-percent companies in the front-end and methodologies development level, which is great to know. But still, there is a lot to improve specially when it comes to developing large applications, where every theory is aggressively put to test.

Third, international-oriented conferences are a hub for the best professionals out there and the best talks. Most of the talks were from well-known people (either Italy or international) and the level was higher than most local events.

Fourth: Italy, Rome and Codemotion rocks!