Saturday 5th October was marked on my calendar for the annual Google DevFest Mauritius and I had to get up unusually early to reach west of the island. Luckily we reached right on time !
This article is a summary of my experience at the DevFest and it’s special for me because I was in excellent company and for the first time in as long as I can remember I wasn’t speaking at the event. That allowed me to attend sessions, have a regular attendee badge and ask questions !
Registration started early morning with beautiful weather in Pierre Fond.
After the nice breakfast and some quick phone calls, everybody gathered in the amphitheater where JoKi officially kicked off the event in a room packed with technology enthusiasts !
Session 1. 10am
It was time for the first session and Pritvi spoke about HacktoberFest with a little history followed by the hows and whys. The audience was in awe of his unique style and top artistic presentation slides.
He encouraged all attendees to contribute to open source through GitHub and send pull requests.
Session 2. 11am
ML and AI at Google by Robert John
He spoke about the various ML solutions that google offers and highlighted the fact that Google has thousands of models in production.
Firebase ML Kit sounded particularly interesting to me because it would allow me to leverage the power of ML without having to do the math.
Other mentions were : BigQuery for people who are into SQL. Yeah not for me.
- Discovered Dialogue Flow, Cloud Vision API, Tensor Flow
The session was an overview of all the ML options offered by Google which I guess was meant to be a starting point for students.
I really like how each of the AI options from Google have their own logo, and they kinda look nice.
Session 3. 12:00
Up next was Mike geyser, south-african crowd favourite speaker who was going to be talking about lit-html. I was really excited about this one because that’s how I feel when I get to learn something new. I had. a quick chat with him before the session started about GDE’s and how to get on the path.
He started off by introducing himself in his fun style and mentioned Jozi JS, which takes places every third Thursday of every month in Johannesburg.
Mike started by explaining writing for the web isn’t that simple enough. The complexity increased many folds over the years.
“This is not the web that I fell in love with” - Mike Geyser
After introducing lit-html, he set on a journey to create a todo app, with the audience.
The session was very interesting and engaging as usual. We did complete the todo app.
The usage of code snippets to aid with live coding was a nice touch.
Time for the group photo & lunch !
Session 4. 13:30
Vue + Firebase
My friends and I got a little early in the room and settled down waiting for the session to start.
The speakers introduced themselves as two freelancers and carried on with the prez in a very relaxed style.
The session was about creating a vue application with real time chat capabilities.
The showed their boilerplate code, which is typescript flavoured vue, which I don't particularly like. But that’s just me.
VS Code was used with a light theme.
They showed how to create a collection on firebase and how to deploy the app on Firebase Hosting.
The session was very interesting and afterwards I had a chat about issues I encountered with Firebase auth mixed with Vue-Router.
Session 5 14.30
Go : Turbocharge your programs
By this time most of the students were mostly outside eating cake and talking to each other. There was a great dessert table set for everyone after all.
Yusuf and Jules from LSL digital spoke about why they picked go and proceeded with a demo of what language can do. The demo showed how easy it was to build a websocket powered chat application with minimal tooling.
Session 6 15:30
He talks about how things that PWA focuses on are very obvious and known to us africans. I couldn’t agree more.
Having performance on low powered devices and not waste bandwidth comes naturally to us, because it is a necessity.
We set out on an ambitious journey to livecode a meme generator, which was a bumpy ride. That happens.
The session was full of useful information and the Q & A that followed was very lively and informative.
Immediately after this session, it was time to wrap up the event and joki used the Google photo album as background during the closing session as he thanked all the attendees, sponsors and helpers.
He encouraged attendees to shout out the event to more people and write blog posts about it.
Devcon 2020 was hinted to be around April 2020, which I'm very excited about. Anyone who wants to help with building the Devcon 2020 website, get in touch with me on twitter.
One very unusual thing I noticed is that all the sessions I attended used VS Code with a LIGHT Theme ! I am a strong advocate of dark mode for health and accessibility reasons, however during daylight, the light theme was clearly more readable. I should go outside more, they say the graphics are amazing.