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On PolyConf

November 07, 2014

Last week I’ve been to PolyConf - a polyglot programming conference. Definitely one of the best conferences I’ve ever been to.

Talks were awesome

Apart from what I call the Business & Social (BS) track, we got plenty of solid technical presentations.

Hands down best presentation we saw was John Hughes talking about using QuickCheck (warning: autoplay)- he went from testing a simple implementation of LinkedList in C to stories how he used it also to test cars, radios and databases. That’s a pretty versatile tool. Not only the content, but also the delivery of the talk was great. Definitely a must see.

We got David Nolen talking about immutable data structures and ClojureScript. He showed us they’re a viable alternative to traditional mutable approach both design- and performance-wise. Not to say “a superior alternative”. His explanation was also a great prelude to Alexander Solovyov’s amazingly entertaining live-coding session were he implemented “the snake game” in ClojureScript.

Michael Snoyman blew my mind by showing how you can use the same Haskell codebase (and compiler!) and compile the backend part to binary and the frontend part to JavaScript.

We got examples of cross-platform programming from two Michałs: Łusiak (F#) and Taszycki (Ruby). They both showed us how to target all the major mobile platforms using their favourite programming languages. And Ryan Levick talked about how it is to work at 6Wunderkinder that uses 11 different programming languages in their main product. That’s proper polyglot motivation!

Those were just my favourites. Probably you should stay tuned to PolyConf YouTube channel (sidenote: pity it’s not Vimeo instead) and watch them as they come online.

People were awesome

I went to many conferences before that were single language oriented. I went to Ruby ones were the conversations weren’t particularly interesting, because everybody has the same problems, similar solutions, reads the same blogs and watches the same videos. I went to Haskell ones (well, one) were the conversations weren’t particularly interesting, because I wasn’t proficient enough to understand the complicated stuff people were talking about.

PolyConf was different. Because of different backgrounds people had there was much more useful experience being exchanged. You had people discussing pros and cons of applying Clojure, Ruby or Haskell to similar problems. This is a really useful conversation to have for anybody thinking of migrating their codebase.

Also, you meet plenty of new people. It’s cool to meet old friends at a Ruby conference, but it’s much cooler to make new ones. Especially if it helps to burst the small bubble that we all live in.


You should go to PolyConf next year. It’s good for you.

Written by Wojciech Ogrodowczyk who takes photos, climbs mountains, and runs Brains & Beards to help companies deliver better mobile applications faster.

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