Competitive pressures have pushed speed of software development to become one of the highest priorities for businesses today.
Improved tools and techniques have moved the state-of-the-art in agile development from pushing monolithic updates every few weeks to a continuous delivery of “micro-services” several times a day. But this move to “run what you wrote” and developer-driven infrastructure means developers are not only delivering products faster today, but are also responsible for the efficiency and safety of those products once they move into production.
This is a major shift in software development, and it forms a narrative that will underlie programming at the upcoming GOTO London technology conference, which I am helping organize and will be held Sept. 14-18.
No more “security-blanket” approach
Development is not only more agile today, but also more “lean”, as new techniques take waste out of the process. They’re augmented by cloud-native applications that auto-scale capacity on a just-in-time basis. Finally, development today must be “rugged”. In other words, the old security-blanket approach of wrapping a firewall around an insecure, monolithic product is no longer acceptable. It has been replaced by penetration testing of every micro-service; sophisticated use of identity and access-management mechanisms; encryption of everything; and careful security key management.
During the conference, speakers will focus on the themes of agile, lean and rugged, taking a broad view of these key developer concerns heading into 2016.
A single-track structure
This is the first ever GOTO event held in London, and the programming is being structured as a single track. Many conferences have an initial keynote session for everyone, followed by a wide selection of talks running at the same time. This forces attendees to decide what to miss and move from room to room. It also means that an individual track has trouble building and maintaining context, and encourages repetitive, self-contained presentations. The approach is great for variety but can be frustrating.
For GOTO London we will start the week with two optional training days on Sept. 14th and 15th, then kick off the event with two full days of single-track talks Sept. 16th and 17th. On Friday the 18th the conference will feature multiple tracks combining presentations about open-source tools and talks about the latest hot products.
For the single-track days, everyone will be in the same room, building up a shared context as the curated story arc unfolds. You won’t miss anything and won’t waste time moving from room to room. Attendees will get to know each other and the speakers much better than they would in an alternate format. The talks will be a bit shorter and more focused and will build on each other, reducing repetition and elementary introductions.
There is a repeated pattern for the single-track days. During each half-day there will be four half-hour talks followed by a half-hour panel session during which all four speakers will discuss each other’s talks with each other and the audience.
The conference agenda in detail
After leading a workshop on micro-services, I’ll introduce the conference as a whole on Wednesday morning, Sept. 16. Introducing the agile theme, Dan North (Founder of DNA consulting – dannorth.net) will focus on the impact of new ideas and tooling that support faster development. On the topic of lean, Nicole Forsgren (Director of analytics at Chef) will show how DevOps culture and other new practices reduce waste and improve outcomes. Finally, to introduce the rugged concept, Joshua Corman (CTO of Sonatype) will explain how developers can build the core concepts of security into their applications to protect information from attack. These four speakers will end the morning with the first panel session.
The afternoon will continue with four speakers digging deeper into the relatively unfamiliar territory of rugged systems. What kind of cyber-attacks are we seeing? What tools are available for developers to automate security testing? How can we manipulate keys, identity and access safely and easily? The afternoon ends with Joshua Corman joining the four speakers for a panel discussion.
The first evening is the conference party, with an entertaining and informative keynote presentation by Ines Sombra (Engineer at Fastly) and Adrian Colyer (Venture partner at Accel). Ines runs the San Francisco Papers-We-Love meetup, and Adrian publishes a daily blog post called The Morning Paper. Over the last year there has been a rush of interest in academic research papers resulting in Papers-We-Love meetups all over the world. People are finding hidden gems, radical ideas, or fundamental turning points in computer science, and having fun presenting their own interpretations. We hope you will be inspired to attend your local meetup, read The Morning Paper and share your own ideas.
The second day starts with four presentations on the lean motif. Co-author Barry O’Reilly will show why the Lean Enterprise book has become required reading for developers as these ideas spread into the mainstream. Value-chain mapping provides the tools for making better decisions about which parts of an organization’s architecture need to focus on being faster, cheaper or safer as their top priority. We will also look at developer-oriented techniques for measurement, analysis and optimization. Nicole will return to lead the panel session.
Digging into agile, we will take a close look at the Docker ecosystem with Alexis Richardson, of Weave, and see what it takes for a startup to “catch and surf the wave” when a product goes viral and everyone else dives in. At the other extreme we will examine the latest ideas to speed up development at a financial institution and issues around embedded hardware. We’ll finish with Rachel Davies, who will discuss “Extreme Programming in the 21st Century.” Dan North then leads the closing panel.
We’ll wrap up the second day with a keynote by Rod Johnson (founder of Springsource) on the world of Silicon Valley startups.
The final day of the conference puts all these concepts into practice through deep dives into open-source tools and the latest development products. The multi-track talks on this day are longer, leaving more time to switch rooms and for hallway conversations.
We hope that GOTO London attendees will have an enjoyable and memorable experience learning the concepts and tools needed to be agile, lean and rugged for 2016 and beyond.
This article first ran in The New Stack.