From July 2nd till the 4th, we were tucked away from the heat in a nice big building in Poznan (Poland). They fed us ice cream and cotton candy with names like Shrek and Smurf, while we were staring at parenthesis on a big screen.
Yes, it was fun. And intense. And inspiring.
PolyConf is organised by a small, dedicated team from Poland for programmers interested in a polyglot approach to software development (shouldn’t we all be into this?). Their approach is a single-track filled with many experienced speakers presenting on advanced subjects across languages, paradigms, systems, and so on. The organisers care for the community and it shows from the start. The very first talk addressed diversity, asking us to be open to the different and the unknown in code and in life, and to share constructive criticism on how they can make things better. It was one of the best women:men ratio of speakers at conferences I have ever attended – they are such a great example for demonstrating that true effort is always fruitful. If felt very cozy – and I don’t say that lightly.
We learned a lot! Among the monad measuring contest and all the stuff that compiles to JS, I personally came home with a lot of inspiration. So let’s look at some of the things we’ve learned. Though I did oversleep a bit and chilled on the lawn, I was there most of the time, listening to these awesome people that came to share knowledge with us.
— Chris Adams (@mrchrisadams) July 3, 2015
Yup, I know you want to. Go play with Emojilisp right now. We should all ditch what we do and continue our careers with it!
There was a lot of Clojure. Everything seemed to touch on it in one way or another, which made me want to learn it. I also loved the introduction to Elm and PureScript. I have to say that this is a way I would consider doing frontend without crying while doing it : ). PureScript got my attention, so I tried to install it and write something, but stuff broke. @Bodil explained they are fixing the new version now and I should try a couple of days later. That’s ok, maybe we should not write production stuff with new things, but PureScript is definitely worth looking into!
— Yan Cui (@theburningmonk) July 3, 2015
We were reminded that there are alternatives to JSON and XML, if we need to work with data exchange formats: Asn.1, Protobuf, Thrift, Avro. The important thing is to explore the alternatives out there, and then it’s up to us to find what suits us and use THE RIGHT TOOL FOR THE RIGHT JOB. I think that was repeated often enough at the conference. All the languages, formats and so on are just tools, we need to make the best of them when writing software.
I liked @anorangeduck‘s Cello into extending C to take advantage of some of the neat stuff from other languages. Take a look! We learned and explored unikernels, and @ made WebSockets and what’s behind it is perfectly clear to us.
— Amir Chaudhry (@amirmc) July 2, 2015
Honza spoke about committing to your DB, testing stuff yourself rather than believing people on the Internet and asking us to reconsider using a DB if we don’t need one in the first place. There were a couple of inspiring talks on the necessity to look beyond, strive for more and learn more languages and paradigms. People had sound advice on how to lobby your company to start using a new technology, on how to prepare yourself and the team for the integration of something new and how to keep getting better at what you do. Too bad all of the videos are not out at the moment when I am writing this, but they are rolled out and announced one by one here.
(As I started this summary, I realized it might very well be endless.) We had a couple of JS frameworks; we had Racket (I had no idea it existed before – I got excited about it like a little kid ); we explored how to get your Ruby into Python to make use of its data processing libraries (tweet, tweet), and learned about Julia. I got to meet and speak with all of these creators and feel quite happy about it.
There is so much more that I am not mentioning here. For more, check out the the hashtag and keep scrolling.
So, I will leave you to explore #PolyConf and end my summary. One last question: “But can you do it in MiniKanren?”. See you all next year!
— Bodil Stokke (@bodil) July 4, 2015