devfest

Mauritius Google DevFest 2020

The 1-day even took place at Uniciti Pierrefonds on Saturday 21st Nov 2020 with 101 attendees, two parallel tracks and lots of fun sessions on google-related topics.

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While all other DevFest events around the globe seem to have gone virtual, we are lucky enough in Mauritius to be Covid-safe, so we had a physical event with all the security precautions.

I missed the keynote and reached Pierrefonds around 10am. I was greeted at the gate by Girish who asked where I'm from, to which I replied ..from Roche Bois. A great start to the day, I went at the registration desk and picked up my badge. Got some swag including a nice shirt and a custom GDG mask.

Session 1 : DialogFlow - (Speaker : Keshav)

The first session I attended was by Keshav Purdaseea, who spoke about DialogFlow. He conducted a very detailed session about how to create a tech support chat bot and demonstrated the latter in action. I thought it was pretty interesting and could be applied in a lot of areas.

There were some discussions with the audience about how this could lead to the demise of "boring jobs" and a shift towards more interesting ones. A hot topic for another time.

Session 2 : Cancelled/Lunch/Photo-session

The next two speakers unfortunately cancelled their sessions so we have a long break, lunch and a photo session with all the attendees. Masks ON please.

Session 3: Storybook and Angular (Speaker : Kherin)

The next session was by Kherin Bundhoo from MCB who spoke about Storybook. I was very eager to attend this session as I use storybook at work daily. Although his session was about Angular, it was very interesting as I could relate to most of the situations he presented. Naturally I followed up with some questions from a sitting position, including:

  • The Storybook documentation for Vue sucks, how's it for Angular ?
[Speaker's answer]
it's even worse, but it's not too complicated to figure it out. It's also an opportunity for PRs.
  • Does storybook slow the delivery time of projects?
[Speaker's answer]
It depends on the task, consulting with the client helps. Storybook itself makes conversations with the client easier as they can understand things better when making a decision.

It was also interesting to see how University Students replied to some questions of the speaker, such as "How do you collaborate when doing a project". The speaker was hinting at the use of git and how storybook would be an even better tool on top of git. But unfortunately it appears they couldn't differentiate between GitHub and git in the first place. So there's some ground work to be done there. Please attend more meetups dear students!

I wanted to have a chat with the speaker after the session but I had to run to the next session and couldn't find him after that. Next time i guess :D

Session 4: Google maps is a social network (Speaker : Pritvi)

Privi, as we know, is very unique and has a very unique presentation style. He demonstrated in this talk why he thinks Google Maps and Google Local Guides is a social network. He also spoke about how to contribute to Local guides and why people should do it. I threw in some fun questions about potential abuse of the way the system works, but he  convinced me that in a crowd-sourced system, eventually "bad" things get kicked out naturally.

I also had a question about Elevation Data for Mauritius, as in a recent side project of mind, I was unable to find that data. He suggested that I contact the ministry of land and housing but unsure whether that data is paid or free.

Session 5: Google Cloud Platform (Speaker : Jochen)

I never used GCP but heard a lot about it. In this session Joki spent some minutes showing the extent of the services available under GCP, which is a lot !

Then he continued to show how to create an VM instance and some of the recommended settings based on his experience. That part was highly appreciated as it's something that will definitely help me. In contrast to a previous presentation last year where the person only where through the available services and spent two minutes explaining what each of them does.

The cheat-sheet was a much better method to get that out of the way quickly and move on to more meaty stuff!

I was quite surprised that one could upload their own OS image and run in there. That's cool! It raises some security alarms bells as to what that could imply, but hey i guess its sand-boxed anyway and even on their image you would root access. So it should be fine.

There was one very good question about Data Protection from the audience, asking if Mauritian data is hosted on GCP (US company) in a Singapore server, which data protection laws apply? US or Singapore?  

[Speaker's answer] Since all the data is encrypted anyway, it would comply with the DP laws of Mauritius.

I guess that also means it's the Mauritian law that applies here.

Experience as an attendee.

  • The registration was smooth and pleasant.
  • The security measures due to COVID were well implemented and the event felt safe.
  • The goodies were very nice and relevant to the event and situation.
  • The AC was extremely cold  in one of the rooms so that made it discouraging to go back in the heat outside.
  • One of the main projectors was faulty and permanently displayed an error message on top of the slides of speakers.
  • Room 2 had a projector that wasn't as sharp as the others and the sun glare from the windows didn't help.
  • A lot of students attended the conference, but not all of them stayed till the end.
  • The website was very well made and helped me keep track of what was going on during the event. Especially the agenda.

Closing

The closing session was short and sweet. One of the students won a prize for answering a question from the organizer! I was the lucky winner of the same segment last year.

DevCon 2021 has been hinted to take place in March 2021.

I hope this post was informative and helpful to everyone ! Hit me up on twitter @__sun__ to continue the conversation.

© 2020 | Sandeep Ramgolam