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Groovy tales from the GeeCON

This past week I was at GeeCON in Prague talking about Metaprogramming with Groovy. It’s a topic that I know pretty well because I’ve used it in many projects during the past five years.

You may wonder how I ended up in a Java conference in Prague. Well, I saw a tweet in June by Andrés Almiray about this conference. I went to the website of the previous Polish editions and I thought that they were great, so when they opened the call for papers I submitted three talks and the rest, as they say, it’s history.

I have to admit that I was very nervous about the talk, not because I hadn’t prepared it well enough, which I had done, but because of being the only talk about Groovy in the conference and therefore being a bit “alone”. Luckily, I found Vladimír Oraný who I met during the last edition of Greach, and since the talk was scheduled the first day (thanks!) after the lunch, I was able to enjoy the rest of the conference.

Speaking about the talk, I spoke too fast (as usual!) but I think nobody noticed it. Let me confess you something 🙂 I had a small cheat-sheet with the main slides and the expected time-stamp as a reference during the talk to know if I was speaking too fast or too slow. What happened is that by the fourth slide I was ahead of the schedule and no matter how much I tried, I couldn’t “slow down the rhythm”!

I had 60 minutes and I finished after 49, but with the Q&A (there were four very interesting questions) the whole talk took about 55 minutes. I finished with good feelings and some people came to talk to me after the talk and said that they had enjoyed it a lot. I created a very simple Google form survey and the people that answered it also told me that they had enjoyed the talk 🙂

The room was packed full moments before I started but this is an early photo I took while preparing the slides.



The first day after the talks, all the speakers and the attendees were invited to a boat trip around Prague to have a dinner and a party. While I was walking on the pier I met three speakers, and as we arrived early we went to a bar to take a nice Czech beer. Then, in the boat, I was talking to them and other speakers and told them a lot of things about what we do in Kaleidos, the different technologies we use, our recent launch of Taiga. It was a great night and I enjoyed it a lot.

Although I’m used to go to Groovy related conferences and not Java conferences, I enjoyed almost all the talks in the conference. My favourite talks were Make and Conquer: Start making your own things about a voting system created for a conference using a 3D-Printer and RaspberryPi. I also liked the talk about SQL and jOOQ and the opening and closing keynotes. About the closing keynote, we had Bruce Eckel talking about “Do languages matters?” and at the end he confessed that his favourite language was Python. One of the main reasons was the community always willing to help and the ratio between man and women being around 20% (more than usual).

The venue of the conference was a Cinema in a very big mall and it was awesome. Imagine to see your own slides in a very big cinema display with a resolution greater than Full-HD. AWESOME!

I also want to send kudos to the organizing team because all the conference was great. There were a lot of volunteers to help you, the food was great and we even had a dedicated movie room for the speakers to have some rest.

And, speaking about the organization, they invited us (the speakers) to a trip on Saturday to Český Krumlov. It’s a very beautiful town in the south of the country. We saw a brewery, then we could taste some beers, had lunch in a nice restaurant and finally have a walk around the town and the castle.

Yes, it's Bruce Eckel seating by my side :-)

Yes, it’s Bruce Eckel seated by my side 🙂

So summarizing: It was a great time in Prague, which is a beautiful city, and I really enjoyed giving my talk and attending the rest of the conference. Next stop, GeeCON Kraków 2015!

My final thoughts are that as a developer committed to opensource I think that speaking at conferences is a great opportunity to give something back to the community. It’s also a way to move out of your comfort zone: go to another country, speak in English instead of Spanish, meet different people. I highly recommend you to try it, at least once.

Oh, In case you’re interested in, the slides are available here and the code examples here.