Once again Tooploox team attended MCE conference in Warsaw. We were hyped up as the bar was set very high after last year’s edition, at least for iOS team, so the majority of our mobile team decided to go. You can read about last year’s MCE here. This year’s tagline was `positive tech` and the conference was a little bit more general than only mobile. Subjects varied from very detailed or technical to general so there was something for everyone.
It all started on Sunday with the train trip. We left Wrocław at around 6.30 and arrived on Warszawa Centralna station around 10.00 pm. We decided to grab something at McDonald’s (very healthy school trip style) and walked down to the hotel. The weather that day was very gloomy and foggy though Warsaw looked pretty cool in such conditions. We had a very nice hotel close to the city center but we decided to have the first team-building party in the lobby.
MCE day 1
This year MCE was organized in Centrum Nauki Kopernik (the exhibition is really cool, check it out when visiting Warsaw). It’s hard to say if it was an improvement from last year’s Kinoteka but it sure was different, and a little bit further away from the city center. There was a pretty long queue at the entrance. The organizers opened two check-in desks – one for A-L and the other one for K-Z surnames. It looked like the second group was about 5 times bigger than the first one…
The conference tagline was `positive tech` and some of us joined the discussion panel called `We are counting on you` to see what it was all about. The questions were very general and the answers mostly very safe, but it is hard to dig deeper into such a broad topic in so little time. The audience was rather tech-savvy so it was hard to buy us with some cliché future predictions. But one thing is certain – we live in exciting times when it comes to technology!
The second talk was one of the best of all. Fernando Cejas from Soundcloud gave a talk entitled `Hidden mysteries behind big mobile codebases (lessons learned)`. From Android perspective it was great to hear about really big mobile projects as mobile apps are rather medium-sized (very subjective). The key points related to tests (unit, integration), pair programming and internal tools.
Then, Matthias Tretter from MindNode gave an incredible speech about accessibility features for visually-impaired users. To be honest, we expected Apple Accessibility API breakdown but it was much more than that! He delivered experience we could really immerse in by actually using those accessibility features. Using an iPhone is a totally different experience for visually-impaired users. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s really hard for them to use our apps. However, having this knowledge and with just a little effort we could probably make a real difference. That was a truly `positive tech`. Great job Matthias!
After the talk, we quickly grabbed some lunch at the conference venue and we went for a walk to the roof of Botanic Garden to enjoy the view. We still had some time left so we decided to have some coffee and talk about our first impressions.“Swift scripting in practice” by John Sundell was one of the more insightful talks for our iOS team. Although we are pretty familiar with the power of scripting, even with Swift, all of the work John put into simplifying and speeding up the process was very impressive. Plus, doing it in our favorite language meant less context switching, so more things done. We already had some amazing ideas how we could use if. Check out Marathon by John https://github.com/JohnSundell/Marathon
Michael May and Romain Piel had a talk called “Cats and Dogs (Lessons Learned from Working Together as an iOS and Android Team)“. This was not a technical speech. They focused on the relationship between iOS and Android devs. Although we already really like each other in Tooploox, they inspired us to do more in that matter.
Before MCE official afterparty in Harenda we went to have Tooploox beer. We had so much fun in our own company and we forgot to join Harenda party. Especially iOS team got to know their Warsaw teammates better.
MCE day 2
“Elm Architecture in Swift” was the first presentation on the second day. Yashuiro Inami went through different app architectures like MVC, MVVM or Clean and then described his own idea. Elm is a functional language used for web development and you can use it to generate all HTML, CSS and JS you need. Yashuiro wanted to do the same for Swift and UIKit. To be honest, we were a little disappointed because his idea was very experimental and it’s not ready to use in production at all.
We knew Benjamin Encz from “Undirectional Data Flow” talk that was posted on Realm a while ago. This very technical iOS speaker surprised us with a non-technical talk. But very inspiring one. It was all about looking for ideas in other places, platforms or even research papers. Maybe it’s time to steal some ideas from our Android team, who knows?
Károly Lőrentey’s “GlueKit: Reactive Collections in Swift” talk was conceptually very similar to Yashuiro’s. They both got a new idea and implemented it in Swift. Károly’s solution was all about dealing with collections in Reactive Way. Props for the live demo which went great. We were all hyped and felt like we are ready to use it in our work. We had only one problem with it. It would be so much better as a part of RxSwift, which we use a lot. Still we are very excited what the future will bring for this one.
Unfortunately, we skipped the last talk to grab our things and have a snack before getting back home. It went very smoothly but we were very tired after action-packed trip to Warsaw.
The MCE conference and the whole trip was as great as last year’s edition. We had tremendous fun socializing with our Warsaw colleagues and we gained tons of energy and confidence to try out new things in our daily job.
- First of all, we will try Swift scripting with Marathon to automate some of our workflows. It would be nice to come up with something general enough to open source it.
- We want to increase the amount of pair programming we do. Those sessions are very productive and fun and the benefits for us and clients could be tremendous.
- Last but not least, we have to perfect the art of stealing 😉 . We have such variety of different teams in Tooploox. Of course, we’ve got Android, but also data science, which is very broad field or backend and frontend. We can learn a lot from them.