QCon Beijing happened last week and I had the opportunity to travel and give a talk as one of the few American speakers.
Here are some highlights from my trip.
Day 1: April 21
Paul Butcher gave the opening talk, speaking about trends in programming languages and the move towards functional programming becoming more popular, not just in usage of languages, but also with functional additions to other languages. Monica Beckwith then gave a talk about GC and memory management in the OpenJDK.
After lunch, the three western keynote speakers were invited on a tour of the Forbidden City. It is a very impressive palace and part of Chinese history, and is a must see when visiting Beijing.
Day 2: April 22
I kicked off the future of the web track to a standing-room only crowd (!) with a talk about Lessons Learned with ES6 and TypeScript!
That afternoon, I had the incredible opportunity of meeting with a team at Alibaba to tell them about Dojo 2 and Intern!
Day 3: April 23
Conference Takeaways & Other PROTIPs:
- 1. If giving a talk, speak slowly so the poor translator can keep up with you.
- 2. There are a lot of people in China. Get ready to meet and greet!
- 3. Remember that the firewall in China blocks many services, and most commercial VPN services are blocked fairly quickly. READ AS: Don’t plan on getting any work done unless everything needed is on the laptop you brought with you!
- 4. Business cards, aka “Name Cards” are still used in China! Luckily I have tons due to non-use in the west!
5. Setup a WeChat account because everyone has an account. It’s a very easy way to communicate, and it includes a streamlined interface for translation. Because Facebook, Google, Slack, and Twitter are blocked by the China firewall, WeChat is the defacto platform people use to exchange contact information, chat, and share updates. It’s even used by the conference as the login mechanism to view the speaker slides. I installed WeChat, and by the end of the conference, 250 attendees had connected with me in order to have future discussions. Now that’s social networking!
Speaking at international conferences is a great opportunity to learn from developers and grow from their experiences. There are definitely differing development constraints in priorities that we, as developers, face. I found QCon Beijing to be a highly rewarding experience, and I hope to speak there again in the future (and reconnect with all my new-found WeChat friends!).