GDevCon #2 Review

GDevCon is still the one and only independent, community-driven and non-profit graphical programming conference. GDevCon#2, which took place in Birmingham UK this year, proved that this event remains our absolute favourite of the year! Just as last year with GDevCon#1, all turned out better than we could have hoped for – thanks to all the beautiful people involved: Organisers, sponsors, presenters and delegates alike!

GDevCon#2 - The Calm Before The Storm
GDevCon#2 – The Calm Before The Storm

Background

GDevCon was created by an alliance of LabVIEW professionals from all over the world with the goal to establish a community-driven conference. It being fully independent means there’s no outside influence on the content, which is democratically voted on. As a result, we are free to discuss what we want, how we want. GDevCon is intended to be the “User Group of User Groups”. We really feel we reached this important goal. The personal side of a conference is just as important as the professional side.

The first conference took place last year in Cambridge, and was immensely successful. For more info, you can read our detailed summary. We managed to build on that past experience and improve it even further.

The Location

This year, the conference outgrew last year’s venue. We decided to relocate to the Birmingham Repertory Theatre and the Library of Birmingham.

Centenary Square in front of the Library - Clearly a place for the people
Centenary Square in front of the Library – Clearly a place for the people

Birmingham was awesome! The venue was awesome! Especially the architecture was fascinating, eclectically combining traditional Birmingham architecture with contemporary ones.

The DSH Workshop

From the very beginning, GDevCon was meant to help software developers with their daily struggles. Showing others how we solve our problems by presenting our solutions is one way. Another, even more practical way is to try and facilitate actual hands-on learning by holding workshops.

The DSH Workshop (DSH = Delacor-SSDC-Hampel Software Engineering) on “Pragmatic Software Development” was GDevCon’s first advance into the workshop waters. The workshop was held on the day before the actual conference, to let the attendants warm up to the conference.

Fabiola De La Cueva (Delacor), Steve Watts (SSDC) and Joerg led the workshop. 22 people took part and received valuable practical knowledge on real life software engineering principles.

People did seem to like it, so we declare it a big success! Here’s hoping that we’ll see even more workshops at GDevCon#3 next year. We are working on a detailed summary of the workshop and will link it here, so stay tuned! 🙂

The Conference

And of course, the main part, the conference itself. It was unbelievably fun! The entire event had a wonderfully friendly and collaborative atmosphere to it. Many attendants and organisers reached this conclusion, too.

There was no stress or pressure to be felt during the presentations: Each presenter showed “what works for her or him” with all pros and cons. They would explain in more or less detail the requirements and restrictions specific to their situation, and why some of the decisions were made. Most comments from the audience were very humble and also very constructive, often pointing out alternatives, but never in a condescending or demeaning way.

We loved the absolute lack of dogma – that’s the way it should be!

LabVIEW Community Edition

An astounding surprise for the audience was the announcement of the Community Edition of LabVIEW at our own event. This move from NI will definitely change the LabVIEW ecosystem. Picking GDevCon for this important announcement underlines both NI’s willingness to foster the community and NI’s appreciation of what GDevCon is doing for the community.

The Community Edition is purposefully designed to attract new people to the LabVIEW ecosystem, by lowering the cost barrier of entry. We will write a whole blog post about it and link it here, so – again – make sure to check back regularly.

The Presentations

Just like last year, we filled GDevCon to the brim with captivating presentations. We cannot go into detail about all of them, here’s just a teaser:

  • Ben Leedom – “Rebar: What Rust Can Teach G”
    Ben demoed a new plugin for LabVIEW NXG, designed to take the very best parts of Rust and implement them into a new graphical language. Rebar brings a whole slew of modern software development tools, especially in concerning software security, parallel programming and OOP.
  • Chris Woodhams – “Why bother with continuous integration?” Chris’s presentation was about the transition to a continuous integration workflow at his company, Argenta. This process was inspired by Jörg’s, what an acknowledgement for him. For more info check out this page. Then a panel discussion took place, with Chris Roebuck, Sam Taggart, James McNally, Joerg as speakers.
Panel Discussion on Continuous Integration
Panel Discussion on Continuous Integration
  • Gary Boorman – “A Practical Guide to Signal Acquisition”
    Gary gave an extremely useful presentation, that helped anyone with just a bit of electrical engineering knowledge, to improve their signal acquisition knowledge. A must see for every engineer.
  • James Powell – “Application Design Around SQLite”
    Tips and tricks about SQLite and how to use it. James showed the strengths of SQLite in situations where LabVIEW is weak (and vice versa) and what a high performance tool it can be. Especially for applications with big data-sets (> 1 GB) the performance and ease of use can make the difference.
  • Tom McQuillan – “Improving the LabVIEW Developer’s Experience”
    A very entertaining presentation on how to improve your daily life by building on and extending the LabVIEW Development Environment, leveraging existing plugins and add-ons as much as doing your own VI scripting. He also made a hilarious reference to one of our scripting tools!
Scripting VI Icons - A hilarious reference to one of our tools!
Scripting VI Icons – A hilarious reference to one of our tools!

Just as last year, GDevCon hired a professional videographer who recorded all of the presentations and is editing them at the moment. The videos will – again, just like last year – be released free of charge on GDevCon’s Youtube channel. Make sure to check them out!

The Verdict

GDevCon is the place to be – with a friendly atmosphere, surrounded by #LabVIEWfriends with an unparalleled amount of pragmatic knowledge around our favorite graphical programming language.

We’re very proud of what the GDevCon Alliance has created, and we’re extremely happy to be a small part of this awesome team. Thank you to all at GDevCon!

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