I was honored to have been invited to speak at this years Coder Cruise 2018 conference. A web conference for all things web thats also held on a cruise ship, yes please. This years conference brought together technologists from all over the world for four days to talk and learn about all things web and development.
Labor Day weekend we embarked on the Carnival Conquest for our five day, four night conference / adventure, sailing from Fort Lauderdale, Florida destined for the Bahamas. As we boarded we were immediately immersed in everything a cruise experience has to offer, people, food and entertainment. The first night on-board the conference staff and sponsors hosted a welcome event for all attendees. It was a great opportunity to meet with other conference goers to network and talk life and web. From there we continued chatting as we joined other conference attendees in the dinning room for a formal dinner. With many shared interests we quickly became friends, sharing stories from around the globe.
photo cred: @CoderCruise
The first conference day was a full day of talks, it was also our first full day at sea. The conference officially started a 9am where I presented during the first set of sessions. The breakout room looked an awful lot like a cruise ship lounge with it’s comfy chairs and cocktail tables. I think that added to the appeal of this type of conference. That morning I spoke on application security through user authorization. Link to talk The talk was well attended by professionals from many different industries, all excited to hear about security. My talk went very well with a lot of audience participation throughout. As I wrapped up the Q&A portion I was continuing to talk about what I covered and how it could be implemented within large-scale, real-world projects. There’s definitely a lot of interest in the topic and practical applications.
The first conference day continued with fantastic talks like Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality Web Apps and Design Patterns & Meta-Programming for Fun & Profit. A talk that I really enjoyed was Taking Code on the Road, by: Cindy Cullen about how she manages a growing development business while traveling full-time. It definitely got my wheels turning about the possibilities.
The second conference day began with a stop at our first port of call at the cruise line’s private Bahamian island, Half-Moon Cay. A beautiful island named for it’s half moon shape. The 2,400 acre island helps to provide habitat for local wildlife. We enjoyed walking on the white sand beaches where the sand felt more like flour than sand. And swimming in the clear blue water that let us not only see our toes but also the many schools of fish swimming around us.
photo cred: @CoderCruise
The afternoon of the second conference day included more fantastic talks about all things web. Mike Stowe gave a thought provoking talk on APIs, Chains & Graphs that dove into REST-API Multiple Request Chaining. His library provides a way to conditionally chain API calls together, while handling the errors too. Pretty cool. Joel Lord gave a great talk about security titled I Don’t Care About Security (and Neither Should You). I had the good fortune to be seated with Joel during our formal dinners each night so we had the opportunity to talk about security, authentication, and authorization. He definitely has a lot of expertise and I appreciate his insights.
The afternoon of the second conference day included more fantastic talks about all things web. Mike Stowe gave a thought provoking talk on APIs, Chains & Graphs that dove into REST-API Multiple Request Chaining. His library provides a way to conditionally chain API calls together, while handling the errors too. Pretty cool. Joel Lord gave a great talk about security titled I Don’t Care About Security (and Neither Should You). I had the good fortune to be seated with Joel during our formal dinners each night so we had the opportunity to talk about security, authentication, and authorization. He definitely has a lot of expertise in those areas.
Day three of our conference was also our last full day on the ship. We started the day with self-guided walking ‘exploration’ of the island of Nassau, Bahamas. Nassau is a beautiful island with a lot of history. As we disembarked the Carnival Conquest we were in search of adventure. We started by navigating our way through town up to the famous Queen’s Staircase and Fort Fincastle.
We continued our wandering tour through a series of small neighborhoods and commercial districts until found ourselves at the John Watling’s Distillery. We took a guided tour from a very animated tour guide through the distillery and into the tasting room. There we sampled their best rums and spirits.
Then it was then back to the ship to kick off the final day of conference talks. Like the previous days, day three’s talks did not disappoint. Unfortunately, choosing between which talks to attend was tough. James Quick from FedEx gave a great talk, Three Steps on the Path to Automated Testing, about how to get teams and leadership to ‘buy in’ to the idea of testing, how it can benefit everyone, and the returns on investment. Chris Lorenzo from Comcast talked about Performance Optimizations for Enterprise Web Apps and how large enterprises should think about their total application landscape. Chris gave great tips and small changes that can make a big impact on performance.
The conference officially closed with a keynote from Josh Holmes from Microsoft. Josh is an accomplished speaker with a personality I really resonated with. Josh talked about developers as individuals, developers as members of a team, and teams in general. How do we work together, how we each can help to improve that journey for everyone. It wasn’t focused on a technology or a specific problem to be solved, but rather focused on how we can solve problems through better collaboration. He closed with a story of a young girl, high-school age, who was stereotyped by her computer programming teacher because of her gender. The girl’s father is a programmer and has taught her programming from a very young age. As a young high-schooler she is very well versed in using multiple programming languages, concepts, and patterns. As she walked into her computer programming class one day the male teacher asked “can I help you honey?” honey! Josh was illustrating the point we all know to well about the gender inequality in the programming community. As a father of a very young girl I often think about what my daughter will experience and how I can help to change that for her and others. A very powerful closing keynote that really got me searching for new ways to be involved in my programming community.
Overall I would say the Coder Cruise 2018 conference was a great success. I really enjoyed this format of a conference, yes its a cruise ship you’re bound to have fun, but for me it was the opportunity to really connect with others from around the globe. Connect in was that would never happen in a normal conference setting. I will look for similar opportunities in the future.