Mobiconf Highlights in Hindsight

Mobiconf Highlights in Hindsight

Filip Korski
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Last year I attended Mobiconf, the largest mobile conference in Kraków. The intervening months have given me enough time to digest the long-term value of each talk without emotion, but not so long that their information is outdated. Before the conference, I created a list of a few of the most interesting sounding presentations. Immediately after the conference I created a list of the best talks. Recently, I created this list again. These are three different lists. So now I want to describe the presentations on my third list.

Kevlin Henney, ‘The programmer’

The very first presentation from the conference was more like a spoken essay about who programmers are and how they should behave. The author started by comparing and contrasting programming with some other creative disciplines, like painting, literature or architecture. He told us about the three main rules of ancient Roman architecture, which can be applied to software development as well. These are robustness, which in programming usually comes with attention to details; usefulness; and beauty, which can be identified with clean code. Kevlin ended his speech with a wise if not revolutionary conclusion that programmers should think more.

It was a very good, erudite presentation. It didn’t change my life, but it gave me the chance to reflect on my profession.

Such a presentation is especially valuable here in Poland, where it’s hard to find veteran, seasoned programmers with industry experience (i.e., someone with more than 20 years of experience) who can share their knowledge with younger colleagues. It was visible during the conference, when the median age seemed to be just slightly higher than during the Student Festival of Information Technologies.

Anastasiia Voitova, ‘Building user-centric security model in iOS applications’

Building user-centric security model in iOS apps was a very interesting talk by Anastasia Voitova. She described the whole process which needs to be performed in order to make an app safe. It includes creating a risks and threats model and methods for preventing these risks. The whole concept was illustrated by a sample mobile application used for storing confidential data. The main advantage of this presentation was a complex approach to the subject of digital security. In my opinion, developers tend to focus on implementation details, so knowing this holistic approach will be very beneficial to all of us.

John Sundell, ‘Make Swift & JSON friends’

Sudell is a veteran Mobiconf speaker. I remembered him from his very good talk from the previous year and I expected something as good and I wasn’t disappointed. What I like most in his presentation is that it’s divided into parts which are logically connected. First he describes his problem – ineffective JSON processing in vanilla Swift. Then he describes existing libraries, talking about their pros and cons. Since there are more drawbacks than advantages, he decided to create his own. Here again, he talked about the whole process of developing such a library: setting goals, analysing capabilities of the language, creating several versions of the library. Finally he presented a nice demo which showed the main features of this library. Showing this generic process of solving problems can be valuable for every developer not only those who are working with Swift or JSON.

To conclude, would I recommend attending this year’s edition of Mobiconf? Well, the Internet is full of very good mobile talks, starting with videos from the latest WWDC. However, attending such an event provides great networking opportunities and the ability to see a presentation live and to ask questions.

You can be surprised by presentations which are better than you expected, like the three I was fortunate to attend

Links to described presentations:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVTs4_1ts_c
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QG-yw5iG564
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-AssMjy2e4

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