05 August 2017

It's been a while since my last blog post, but Today I'd like to talk about GR8Conf US 2017.

This was my second time attending GR8Conf US and it was very special because I had the opportunity to give my first talk in a conference! Before going into the details of the 2017 edition, I want to share a little bit more of why this is very important for me.

When I started to work with Groovy/Grails in 2010 I was totally new to software development using JVM related techonologies and I found the Groovy community a very friendly one. A year later I started enjoy Grails so much that I became some sort of advocate for it and started to follow people working heavily on Grails like Graeme Rocher, Jeff Brown, Ted Naleid, Burt Beckwith, Bobby Warner, Ryan Vanderwerf, Dhiraj Dmahapatro, Colin Harrington and others.

Few months/years later I started to see Minneapolis as a great place to work with Groovy, companies like Target, Object Partners and Refactr had a lot of employees contributing to the community on a daily basis. I wanted to travel to Minneapolis for GR8Conf and meet all these cool people, unfortunately, I didn't have the money to pay for my travel expenses.

I finally decided that I wanted a job in Minneapolis but I couldn't land one since my show stopper was the need for a work Visa. During that time I met great people that gave me advices for my career and that helped me to land a job in Los Angeles, California... I'd like to thanks Craig Burke and Dan Woods for answering personal questions during that time.

A few more years later, I finally had the opportunity to attend GR8Conf US last year and had a wonderful time! After that I knew I wanted to live in Minneapolis and one day speak at the conference, a couple of months later I signed a job offer with Target and here I am... enjoying everyday, working in cool things with very talented people.

So one of my career goals was always to speak at GR8Conf, I can check it as done!

Going back to GR8Conf, I'd like to share some interesting talks that I attended to, hopefully the videos will be online soon!

The workshops

In the morning I went to the “Amazon Alexa Workshop” workshop by Ryan Vanderwerf and Lee Fox. This session covered all the fundamentals to write AWS Lambad with Groovy and create your first Alexa skill. It was very fun to use Groovy for something like this, if you are looking for things to do on your spare time check it out!

In the afternoon I attended Daniel Hyun's “Hands on Ratpack” workshop. I use Ratpack everyday to write high performant APIs but I really wanted to attend Danny's workshop because I knew it was TDD! It was fun but Danny, I'm sorry, I cheated and did it in Groovy :(

The talks

Graeme Rocher kicked off the first day of talks with a keynote detailing the current state of Grails and the future, which is very exciting! Although I don't use Grails on a daily basis, it was great to see how Grails is evolving so quickly and adding very cool features on Grails 3.3 and upcoming releases. The engineering behind Grails is something that always amazes me, very cool stuff

During the first day I attended to the following talks:

After that we headed to the Object Partners Meet & Greet where I had the opportunity to talk with very nice guys doing some cool stuff. It was great to catch up with people that I already knew and made new friends.

Of course we had the Groovy Puzzles hosted by Baruch (@jbaruch) and his especial guest Daniel Woods (@danveloper). As you can imagine they had great groovy puzzles and drinking rules. At the end, Dan and Baruch finished a bottle of bulleit rye drinking shots. Dan also gave a few copies of this book "Learning Ratpack", if you don't have this book I encourage you to buy it. Not only because of the great quality of the book, but also because all the royalties will be donated to the GR8Ladies.

The second day was the best:

To close this awesome conference, Paul King gave the talk "Groovy Update: What's new in Groovy 2.5+". He talked about new upcoming features in Groovy, very exciting stuff... really looking forward to the parrot.

After that we headed to The Local to have some appetizers and drinks. I really enjoyed this networking event.

To finalize

During the conference I had the opportunity and time to talk about software and everyday life with very talented and interesting people: Dhiraj Mahapatro (@dhirajmahapatro), Eric Helgeson (@nulleric), Bobby Warner (@bobbywarner), Søren Berg Glasius (@sbglasius), Daniel Woods (@danveloper), Doug Sabers (@lightsabersd), Evan Murphy, Izaak Lauer, Ivan Lopez (@ilopmar), Ken (@kktec), Burt Beckwith (@burtbeckwith), Steve Pember (@svpember), Daniel Hyun (@Lspacewalker), Ryan Vanderwerf (@RyanVanderwerf), Aaron Zirbes (@Zirbes), Shaun Jurgemeyer (@sjurgemeyer) Ted Naleid (@tednaleid) and so many others (btw you should follow them on Twitter)

I would like to thank Doug Sabers and the GR8Conf US organizers for such a wonderful job! Overall GR8Conf US 2017 was a fantastic conference, and I’m already looking forward to attending Gr8Conf 2018!

I had a great time. I think everyone knows that the Groovy community is full of talented people, they are great human beings, kind and friendly... Software is a passion that drives everyone but there is more than that and I'm looking forward to contribute back to it and see them again soon.