Sunday, November 18, 2012

Devoxx

The grand finale for my Europe speaking tour is Devoxx. And grand is the right word for it.

A grand conference

Devoxx took place in Metropolis, the second largest cinema complex in Europe. The AV system is amazing. Gorgeous floor to ceiling projection with live video of the speaker on the left and slides on the right, plus a beautiful outer space background. Just stunning.

As if that is not grand enough, Stephan and team sprinkled the conference with panache. A troupe of Nao robots opened the conference with a dance, a motorcyle vroomed on stage in the middle of a keynote, celebrity speakers wearing giant hats... really good fun.


Nao robots

Java Posse with their signature hats

Android talks

I first heard about Devoxx from watching an Android talk on Parleys by Romain and Chet. Seems to cover many difference facets of Java, Android being one of them. In May I saw Romain and Chet in person at AnDevCon III, and asked them about Devoxx. That's when I decided to apply to speak there. Lo and behold, I got accepted!

Google delivered many awesome Android sessions at Devoxx, with Nick and Rich holding a hands-on workshop on the SDK, Romain and Chet talking about Jelly Bean, Xavier and Tor talking about the build system.


Chet and Romain talking about the developer options in Android 4.2

There were many great talks from non-Googlers as well. Pierre-Yves Ricau talked about Android Annotations, Jake Wharton showed us the open source libraries used at Square etc.


Jake talking about open source Android libraries

And then there is me, the ex-Googler! I talked about Android Custom Components, and people really liked it.

(Side note: did you know that Storify was started by Belgians?)

Awesome hallway

Although there were many wonderful Android talks, there were spread over 5 days, so for some time slots I ended up sitting out. Which is not a bad thing, because Devoxx has an awesome hallway setup.

There were two rows of tables with power strips in the middle. As we all know, developers swarm towards sockets to charge our gadgets, so this is like the well in the village square, where people gather and socialize. On top of that there was no special speaker preparation room, so everyone hang out here, igniting many interesting conversations. This is a brillant setup that every conference should copy!

Off-season Google I/O

As an Android developer, this tweet sums it up pretty well:

Great sessions, great people, great venue. Yes, it's far away, but I took advantage of that to enjoy some Belgian chocolate and beer. All in all, I'd love to speak at Devoxx again!

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