Recap of CodeChef Tech Talks

2 min read

Banana Soufflés,
Last weekend we kicked off the first (of hopefully many more) CodeChef Tech Talks. We were very lucky to have two awesome international speakers present alongside some of Directi’s finest. We’d like to give a big thanks to our sponsors: ADP, GoodAgile, and Xebia, our hosts: IIIT-Hyderabad and Directi and our Media Partner: ITVidya for making this event possible. Videos of all sessions will be posted soon.

In Mumbai, the day started off with Bhavin (Directi’s CEO) giving an overview of our goals behind CodeChef (in essence to raise the quality of software development in India). He then discussed how to develop a web architecture that is “infinitely scalable.”


Bhavin (left) with Naresh Jain (right)
Bhavin (left) with Naresh Jain (right)

Owen Rogers followed up next with a session on releasing code to production every week. He gave some insight into how his team works and their philosophy (thin slices, quick releases, continuous monitoring, zero-downtime database deployment, etc…). He advocated that different approaches worked for different teams and described some best practices he feels his team could be doing more of (TDD, pairing, automated testing):


Owen and the crowd
Owen and the crowd

After lunch there was a birds of a feather (BOF) session where audience members suggested topics, and anyone who was interested in participating could join that particular group. Topics included: what do you consider to be “meaningful” work, are estimates for software development projects harmful, what tools do people use to encourage knowledge sharing across their organization:

The final talk was given by Lisa Crispin author of Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams. She discussed the current trends and tools in the agile testing world (like Cucumber for behavior driven development), and shared her insights and experiences.


Lisa (center) with Owen (left) and Naresh (right)
Lisa (center) with Owen (left) and Naresh (right)

The day concluded with a Q&A with the audience.

The format of the event was pretty similar in Hyderabad and Bangalore though different speakers gave talks alongside Owen and Lisa. At IIIT-Hyderabad Ramki gave a session on RDBS’s vs other data stores for scalability:


Ramki enjoying himself :)
Ramki enjoying himself 🙂

In Bangalore, Naresh Jain gave a talk on Avatars of TDD:




The crowd in Bang
The crowd in Bang

Overall we had a really great time putting on this event. The people who attended the event were awesome, it was a good mix of students and professionals all bringing in different experiences. Everyone was really enthusiastic and actively contributed. We were really happy with the turnout (except for Hyderabad where for some reason 75% of the people who received invites didn’t show up 🙁 ).

Generally the feedback we received was positive (do a quick twitter search for codechef_techtalks to see the chatter) though we know there is room for improvement. How can we make this event better? Was the format of the talk ok? More speakers or less? More interactive / hands on workshops? What topics would you like to hear more about? Was the invitation system a deterrent for anyone to participate? If you have any feedback please let us know via email/twitter/or the comments below.

Cheers,
Amit (Chef)

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