Heading to the Mile-High City
I love going to conferences. I think they are a great way to get out of the office, to stay current on trends in related fields, and to meet/interact with peers. Because of these beliefs, I like to attend at least one conference in every year. After attending AnDevCon Boston last year, I had been targeting DroidCon New York as my conference of choice for 2016.
This past spring, however, I came across a new conference (360AnDev) being held this year in Denver. Initially, it caught my eye because Colorado seemed a bit more accessible to me coming from the west coast. After following the conference website and twitter for a while, I was sold on the potential of 360AnDev to be a terrific event.
“The combination of talented/high-profile speakers, and a schedule packed with interesting talks really sold the event for me”
The combination of talented/high-profile speakers, and a schedule packed with interesting talks really sold the event for me, and I started making my plans to attend. I even convinced some co-workers that this should be the go-to event for the year.
I was very impressed with the quality of the sessions at the conference. I thought all sessions I attended were well done and included useful takeaways for developers at all levels. I was equally as happy that the conference organizers placed an emphasis on inclusivity and that the presenters came from a variety of backgrounds. This was called out during the closing ceremony as a continued goal for next year’s event.
Day 1 Keynote
Chet shared some interesting thoughts on animation principles and how they translate from paper/film to devices. He pointed out this book The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation as a great read for understanding animation. His presentation also included a very useful sandbox app for playing with animations and interpolators.
Romain’s talk went into some of the science/math of how colors are perceived and how they must be corrected to be viewed properly on our modern screens. Having just briefly scratched the surface of different color spaces during my graduate work, I enjoyed hearing more about the complexities involved in doing color correctly. Romain received a nice round of laughter after pointing out that almost everyone, including Android, does color wrong and started listing off various aspects of the Android framework where the handling of colors could be improved.
Day 2 Keynote
The day 2 keynote was given by Kelly Shuster, and for me, it stole the show.
The overall theme was on a11y, but it was less deep technical session and more inspiring piece on how mobile technologies can empower users to do amazing things. A saw one tweet describe her talk as “TED talk worthy” and I would have to say I agree. It’s very easy to come to a conference and want as many nitty-gritty implementation details as possible, but it was very refreshing to have a talk step back, remind attendees of how technology, when done correctly, can impact users and then discuss how to keep those users in mind when building applications.
Some of my favorite sessions
Like I said earlier, I thought all the talks where great. The ones that I didn’t get to see I will definitely be checking out when the slides/videos are posted. I included links here to a few of the talks that I particularly enjoyed. Session names are linked to presentation slides.
- Made me want to create custom lint checks for some of our common coding conventions
- Nice overview of what goes on under the hood in popular libraries such as Butterknife that leverage annotation processing
- Complete walkthrough of how to build a custom view and some of the challenges and gotchas associated with that
- Great overview of essential Java and Android threading concepts
- Enjoyed the emphasis on understanding the underlying principles of threading that are leveraged by higher abstractions in the framework
- Really enjoyed this back-to-basics approach to teaching dependency injection as a concept rather than focusing on a library such as Dagger
I love food, so I couldn’t help but mention Thursday’s great lunch offerings. Upon registration, attendees got a $10 voucher for lunch at any of a number of food trucks. When lunchtime rolled around, we had a nice walk through Denever where attendees could chose from a variety of lunch options. I thought this was a great way to handle lunch and provided a fun atmosphere with a lot of options. Only problem was the difficulty involved in finally picking an option
I was very happy with how well Thursday’s Facebook sponsored reception was. Tap 14 was a great location (complete with rooftop bar), and offered tasty food and a very satisfying selection of local craft beer
Even more, it provided a great chance to chat with fellow attendees and engineers from Facebook
For the full list of sessions and their related videos/notes check out this great wiki page.
I could not have been happier with how 360AnDev turned out. It was well organized and well communicated. The schedule was available early enough to make an informed decision about the potential quality of content. The organizers sent out useful travel information the week before the event which made getting to the hotel very easy. Within a couple days of the conference ending the majority of slides for each talk were hosted and available and videos will soon be following.
“If 360AnDev is held next year, I definitely plan to attend.”
The whole event was very accessible. The organizers were great about answering questions leading up to the event and were easy to find during each day of the conference. Speakers were also easy to find and were happy to chat and be involved just like everyone else. It was a great chance to meet new peers in the Android community and to catch up with others I hadn’t seen in a while.
I think my biggest takeaway from the conference was how wonderful the Android development community is. The event was well-organized, and filled with knowledgeable presenters, but what really made the event great for me were interactions with fellow attendees. Hearing inspiring talks about empowering users through a11y design or listening to speakers cheer each other on before giving a talk helped illustrate that, for many in the Android community, the goal is to help as many people as possible through building quality apps and through empowering others to do the same.