SoCraTes Conference 2015

SoCraTes Conference 2015
This weekend, the SoCraTes conference took place for the 5th time. The SoCraTes is an annual conference that is held by the German Software Craftsmanship Community called “Softwerkskammer”. The conference is about all aspects of software engineering and is organized in a highly collaborative fashion. Each participant is expected to bring and share ideas and topics they are interested in.

Thursday: World Café

The conference started on Thursday with discussions in small groups organized as a World Café. The main question that was discussed here was “What do you want to talk about on this year’s socrates?”. Every 20 minutes, everybody except the table owner switched to another table. The table owner then presented the results of the previous discussion to the other participants and the discussion evolved around these. There was a very wide range of topics, be progamming languages, interaction processes or ethics of programmers. The World Café enabled to get to know a quite lot of other participants, as there were three rounds of discussions with about 10 to 15 people per table.

Friday, Saturday: Open Space

Friday and Saturday were each organized as an Open Space. Each day started with a marketplace in which the participants could present a session they wanted to host and name a place and time for it.

As a session owner, you could host your session the way you wanted, for example a prepared talk, a guided discussion round, a hands-on tutorial, and it was also possible to offer a session with a topic you were interested in and wanted other people to teach you about. You can find photos of the complete session boards for both days on twitter:

Full Agenda Friday:https://twitter.com/socrates_2015/status/637191394055057408

Full Agenda Saturday:https://twitter.com/AndreasGnyp/status/637546634675625984

As you can see in the session pictures, there were quite a lot of different sessions and unfortunately there were many timely overlaps between them so you could not visit all of the sessions you wanted. However, I want to mention just a few of the highlights that I learned about during the days (in no particular order) which should show you the variety of topics:

  • An introduction to type classes including an introduction of structural versus nominal types by @ikusalic.
  • A detailed presentation of an implementation by @singsalad; you can also read about this in her blog post.
  • A session about advanced git usage by @AndreasGnyp who also held a git beginner session
  • An introduction to monoids by @cyriux
  • An introduction to spacemacs, a emacs configuration that allows to a vim mode inside emacs and combine the advantages of both editors
  • A presentation and live demonstration of overtone by @magicmonty - a tool to do a live music performance by coding - if you want to try this out as a ruby programmer, you can also have a look at Sonic Pi
  • A presentation of the contents of the book “Your Code as a Crime Scene” which showed how you can deduct information about your codebase (coupling, code ownership) by analyzing the history of your version control
  • A discussion about how to find and design Aggregates when modeling your domain

Leisure activities

The conference was held at the Hotel Park in Soltau. As all participants also stayed there, there was a lot of time for spending time together beside the sessions.

  • Having all the meals together meant that you got to talk to a lot of other participants
  • There was a running group in the mornings that started the day with a run through the Soltau forest
  • The hotel also had a beach volleyball field that was used in the evenings
  • Many participants brought their board and card games - you should definitely try a round of Exploding Kittens
  • There were some music sessions

That sounds great! I want more!

In case you’re interested in joining such a conference (and you should be), you can have a look at https://www.softwerkskammer.org/. Beside the annual SoCraTes conference, you can also find links to local groups as well as international conferences (there are SoCraTes conferences in other countries as well). In order to find more impressions about this year’s conference, you should check out #socrates15 on Twitter.

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