Life During Spring IO 2022: The Second Day

The second day started … early. I managed to get to room 3 at 8:30 am. Not only I had trouble falling asleep the previous evening, but I also obviously had trouble staying asleep, because I was awake at 6:50 am the next day, 10 minutes before my alarm was supposed to ring.

I took my mac out of my backpack, and did a few walks around, and welcomed people to the room as they arrived. Laurentiu Spilca, reciprocated me being in the first line at his talk, by being in the first line at mine and he brought his lovely wife. There were about 20 people in the room, so I guess that helped me relax a little. Three people that thought I would be anxious to speak in front of them bailed. ;)

I started speaking at 9:00 and I did my best to give useful information, useful coding samples and keep people interested. Nobody fell asleep and some of my jokes even made a few people laugh, so I think I did well. I am aware the topic was pretty niche, my talk was called “Harnessing Amazon’s DynamoDB with Spring”.
DynamoDB is an enterprise database service, it is not easy to work with and mistakes in configurations can lead to serious cost, thus not many people actually use it. But it is incredibly scalable and fast, and I think it deserves more attention.

There is a single picture from my talk, taken by Laurentiu, and is from before starting the actual talk.

I finished in 30 minutes, to leave a lot of time for questions and technical chats. In about a few days the talk should be on youtube and I will come back and edit this entry to add it.

After my talk, I went to attend Tim van Baarsen’s “Spring Kafka beyond the basics – Lessons learned from our Kafka journey at ING Bank“. My interest in Kafka and Spring is of course related to the book I am currently writing. Honestly, for almost anything Kafka seems like overkill, and I still remember when I was on support form NCR and production went down because of mis-configured Kafka. So, I am not a fan and his talk hasn’t made me one. I probably must see it again.

After the coffee break I went to Thomas Vitale and Mauricio Salatino’s “Knative and Spring Native – Bringing back the func“. I initially wanted to go to a different one, but I met my new friend during the coffee break and the one he was going to seemed more interesting. I mean… I’m not gonna get many occasions to do monitoring and look for performance problems in the near future, but I am already using Kubernetes, I am already using Spring and I am interested in Spring Native so … why not all of them? :D The presentation was great and I cannot wait to see it again and pause it at the more important moments to try a few things myself.

The next talk was Rossen Stoyanchev‘s “Welcome, Spring for GraphQL“. Obviously I am interested in GraphQL because of the book I am writing, and seeing mentioned so many times at this conference I have the impression that it is gonna be the future of API requests. I can’t see in the future anybody extracting data without using GraphQL. In his presentation Rossen made it obvious how practical and easy it is to use and customize your API queries using GraphQL. I cannot wait to write the book chapter about it.

After lunch I went to Brian Clozel and Stéphane Nicoll’s “Ahead Of Time and Native in Spring Boot 3.0“. This talk was very interesting. For too long we have relied on the fact that memory and storage are cheap, and we don’t have to care about it when writing code. Or, it doesn’t matter how slow it starts as long as it works and stays up. And for too long Java applications has been considered slow and inefficient compared to the ones written in C, Python or NodeJs. The Ahead Of Time engine and Native images promise faster Spring applications. How was that achieved is the subject of this amazing session.

The next one was Maciej’s “Troubleshooting Spring Boot applications with Sentry“. I am very good at using grep to scan my logs for key terms when a problem happens, and combine it with other commands to reduce or widen context, but Sentry makes all that unnecessary and I would love to work on a project where I could introduce it. Although the demo gods were against him, I have no doubt about the value Sentry could bring to an application running on production.

Then it was time for Philip Riecks’ “How fixing a broken window cut down our build time by 50%“. If you are familiar with the theory of the broken window, you know somebody fucked up, it was found out and this is how this presentation was born. I am a fan of writing integration tests with as little setup as possible and reusing any setup I can because … I’m lazy. This presentation listed a number of approaches I’ve used and some I can’t wait to use in my next Spring project.

And at last, it was time for Oleg Šelajev’s “Testcontainers and Spring Boot from integration tests to local development!” I am a fan of testcontainers, since it saved me from Amazon costs when running integration tests for the application I mentioned in my talk. So whatever Oleg has to say about it, I am interested. He used this meme in his talk and this will never stop being funny.

And this was it. As for the closing session, is only interesting if you have the right person on the chair next to you, or if you win one of the prizes.

Since this is the last entry about Spring IO 2022, I’ll list a few conclusions and I will start with this:

Beside that:

  • Spring Framework 6 and Spring Boot 3 are expected in November 2022
  • There is a lot of focus on making things small and efficient, in my opinion the Spring Native images are going to reduce cloud services costs, thus cloud providers will either slow adoption and make sure they increase the costs.
  • There is way less talk about reactive programming, than a few years ago, what happened?

Also, the internet has played a trick on us. It gives us the impression that we see some people in photos or see them in videos and we know them. Maybe it is just me, but looking at the pictures and videos I’ve taken, the people seem different. There are colours that cameras lose, there are inflections in their voices that are not there and mannerisms that look differently on video than when witnessed in real life. And this makes me a little sad, because I will miss some of the people I’ve met, and the information they share on the internet won’t be able to alleviate that.

I am so happy that I’ve managed to conquer my fear of public speaking and do it again. The last time I did this was in 2014 when I spoke (in Romanian) in front of a university auditorium full of students eager to enter the software development field.

[Later edit]: I have to add this correction here: although I did some talks between that time and now, all were limited in scope and audience to my work at BearingPoint. Not sure those really count, because the audience then was made of my friends and colleagues, so there was not that much anxiety to deal with.

I am currently pretty sensitive about my English, my accent, my tendency to swear and my inability to follow a script. And there are some other reasons why I was so scared of this. But I think I might have some natural talent for this, once I get on the stage the words and ideas just flow and I get excited about the topic, and I get very energetic and engaging. At least this is what feels like to me, not sure if the the audience noticed all that. :)))

Spring IO 2022, was a great experience, and Sergi Almar has come back with a vengeance after the two years of forced break he took on organizing this event because of the pandemic.

My friend Cristina was telling me before I came to Barcelona to take this opportunity and do some networking, but as an introvert this term always gives me the chills. But I did introduce myself to a few people and I am so grateful for those that approached me and somehow figured out I needed help beating my imposter syndrome.

Will I be back as a speaker for Spring IO 2023? I will give it a shot, we’ll see what the future brings.

Stay safe, stay happy!

Stay strong Ukraine! Слава Україні!

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