Mobile Central Europe 2014: a mobile conference done right!

Mobile Central Europe 2014

Games are fun, no doubt about it. Turns out not only playing them, but also making can be a source of tons of enjoyment and satisfaction. This is how I got into programming in the first place – I just wanted to learn how to create my own RPG.

So I paid the conference fee (turns out it’s not always beneficial to be an ‚early adopter’, promocodes were easy to obtian later on), paid for the flight ticket to Warsaw, Poland (my home city btw) and joined other fellow programmers listening to the first lecture delivered by Mike Lee (@bmf on Twitter).

And what do I hear? His main point was: Don’t make games, it’s a VERY expensive hobby. Oh, and also: don’t make games. Did I mentioned don’t make games already?

Yeah, right – perfect start of the day – hearing Mike contradicting the whole reason I got into writing software in the first place ;)

Actually it was hardly a shocker for me, but some of his points were very eye-opening. Times when I shared this worldview that professional game development is a dream job are long gone. There’s a reason I’m making a more traditional ‚business’ software.

Anyways, the conference was great. I didn’t expect the first edition of any IT conference to be so well organised and overall so valuable. Great speakers lineup, fenomenal venue (in a cinema!! yay!), lots of really nice peope. To be honest as one of the first people to buy a ticket I didn’t expect much (the website was almost empty when I signed up). But over time (with more and more speakers anounced) it became obvious that the event is going to be huge and very worthwhile.

Unlike most Polish conferences, this one attracted mostly international (and mostly well-known) speakers, which is rather unusual and especially noteworthy considering the event price. To name just a few, we had a chance to listen to Chris Eidhof, Ortha Therox, Jon Reid and Peter Steinberger. Three simoultaneous lecture tracks guaranteed that one wouldn’t end up listening to something he didn’t find interesting.

One talk that got me thinking was Drew Crawford’s ‚UI testing sucks’. This is something I’ve been looking into recently (Calabash in particular). He made an argument that the UI automation tools need to have so many assumptions (which will not always hold true), that where possible we should focus on writing correct unit tests first and only then start thinking about automated UI testing. Or even think about dropping automated UI testing completely in favour of TDD. I’ve got too little direct experience with BDD to comment on that, but that’s a certainly interesting point.

Did I mentioned how cool the venue was? Not only did we have enormous cinema screen sizes and very comfortable chairs, but also we didn’t have to go to a pub for the afterparty. For me that’s a huge benefit – as a non-native english speaker I find it difficult to talk with others in environments having lots of loud background noise.

Oh and during the afterparty the attendees were able to play some games.. on a cinema screen. Pretty cool, huh? ;)

Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to join a preceeding event – JITTER hackaton that happened on friday. You can check out the official hackaton video here (includes some footage of the actual conference).

In short: the conference turned out waay better than I anticipated. It could easily compete with similar events that happen abroad, only it beats them with the ticket price ;)

Will I go next year? Sure I will! And you should too, it’s worth it!

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