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XConf Europe 2024

Barcelona, September 19
XConf logo

For more than a decade XConf by Thoughtworks has been our flagship event for technologists by technologists who care deeply about software and its impact on the world. We want to create a day where like-minded professionals can talk about their passion and experience in a relaxed and casual atmosphere. Thus year we are headin to Barcelona! Register for XConf Europe 2024 in Barcelona on September 19 and get ready for an exciting one-day, two-track tech event for technologists, by technologists.

Catch the XConf vibes

What is XConf?

Thoughtworkers and guest presenters share how technologists and business leaders foster growth, collaboration and innovation to make an impact on clients, society and the tech industry. 

Highlights XConf Europe 2023

Last year XConf took place in Amsterdam for the first time and brought together technologist from all over Europe. Check out the highlights and catch the XConf vibe.

Meet our keynote

Trisha Gee profile
Are your tests slowing you down?
Trisha Gee
Trisha, a seasoned software engineer, Java Champion, and accomplished author, brings a wealth of experience as our keynote speaker this year. With a track record of developing high-performance Java applications and advocacy at Gradle, she's dedicated to empowering developers worldwide.
Are your tests slowing you down?
Trisha Gee
Trisha, a seasoned software engineer, Java Champion, and accomplished author, brings a wealth of experience as our keynote speaker this year. With a track record of developing high-performance Java applications and advocacy at Gradle, she's dedicated to empowering developers worldwide.
XConf Europe 2024 | Barcelona, September 19

 

Agenda and talks

 

9.30

Welcome by hosts
 

9.45

Keynote by Trisha Gee


Are your tests slowing you down?
 

Testing is a Good Thing, right? Especially automated testing. But "Good things come to those who wait" is not something that's going to appeal to the busy developer. You want results, and you want them now. You're in The Zone working on a problem, and the last thing you want is to break your flow wrestling with your testing framework or waiting for the tests to finish running. More code means more tests. More coverage means more tests. More tests mean more time. Time that you want to spend being productive, creative, innovative. How can you balance the need for quality with the need for speed? In this talk, Trisha will identify issues that slow down developers when writing, running and debugging tests, and look at tools that can help developers with each of these problems. There will be live coding, analysis of social media poll results, an overview of solutions in this space, "best practice" recommendations, and machine learning will be mentioned at some point.
 

10.45

Break 15 min

Track 1

 

11:00 

Building data mesh on Databricks and Azure for a large manufacturing company

Rieke Heinze and Dominika Makuch
 

It is hard to find detailed technical recommendations for implementing data mesh. Thoughtworks is currently supporting a large European manufacturing company on their data mesh journey using a concrete technology stack: Databricks on Azure. In this talk you will learn about concrete examples of libraries and services we used to implement Data Mesh principles. We will also share lessons and obstacles we faced, as well as things we found missing. For example, did you know - how great the support is that Unity Catalog gives you when it comes to securing your data? - that the brand-new Databricks Asset Bundles are awesome in supporting CI/CD? - that you can implement computational governance on the infrastructure side with Open Policy Agent and that you can do it using TDD and trunk-based development?


11:55 

Lessons learned implementing a large-scale data mesh transformation at Payback

Alessandro Confetti and Norbert Wirth
 

Data Mesh aims at solving the challenges of modern data-driven and data-intensive organizations with 4 key pillars: domain-driven data ownership, data as a product, self-serve data platform, federated computational governance. Translating these pillars into a sound tech roadmap and organizational transformation is a journey where every decision or step matters for better or worst. In this talk we will share the lessons learned from a the three-year Data Mesh journey at PAYBACK as where to start from and what to start with (e.g. tech, data, teams, domains, organization); how to build full data ownership without generating unnecessary overhead on people; how to prevent data product fragmentation; what to look for when migrating data and processes from data warehouses and data lakes into data products; and, most importantly, how to make sure the entire organization benefits from these initiatives.
 

12.50 

Unlocking Backstage’s potential: insights and solutions for a smoother developer experience

Germelinda Musliaj and Abel Guillen

 

In the dynamic landscape of software development where efficiency and collaboration are paramount, Backstage stands out. Like any tool, realizing its full potential demands more than just setting it up - it calls for experimenting and tinkering around to find what capabilities work better in your context. In this talk, we’ll take on a journey with Backstage, sharing practical tips for solving common problems you might run into. From customizing it to fit your team's needs, through improving onboarding experience, removing undifferentiated work to automated governance we’ll go over real experiences and lessons learned to showcase how to make the most out of its capabilities.

Track 2

 

11:00 

How to measure your software's impact on the planet

Minette Mangahas and Andy Symonds

 

The Green Software Foundation’s Impact Framework aims to make the environmental impacts of software easier to calculate and share. The Impact Framework allows you to calculate the environmental impacts, such as carbon, of your software applications without writing any code. This talk will introduce the Impact Framework using some fun storytelling (a panda and racoon in space!). The project is entirely open source and composability is a core design principle. Will will do a live demonstration of how you can develop your own plugins and plug them into the framework, or pick from a broad universe of open source plugins created by others. We want this talk to inspire you to start using the Impact Framework as you develop software, by making it as simple as possible.


11:55 

Cloud cost chaos? Get clarity with FinOps

 

Maria Valero

 

When having applications in the Cloud, it is easy to end up with unmanaged cloud costs and unclear developer ownership. I am a FinOps practitioner and have experienced lots of war stories of developers battling cost chaos without direction. FinOps appears as a practical approach for bringing clarity and collaboration to cloud cost management.
In this session, you will get practical recommendations to start your FinOps journey and develop the capabilities that you will need and how to implement a company-wide FinOps practice.
You should be able to walk away with actionable steps and resources to unleash the power of FinOps in your cloud journey.

 

 



12.50 

Uncovering seams in the mainframe & GenAI-assisted reverse engineering for incremental legacy modernisation

Tom Coggrave and Alessio Ferri

 

Mainframe systems handle much of the world's computing workload, but adding new features to them can be challenging due to their complex architecture. This complexity also makes them difficult to understand and replace. To mitigate these risks, an incremental approach to legacy displacement is recommended, gradually replacing legacy components with modern technologies. This strategy involves introducing seams into the mainframe system—points where logic flow can be diverted to newer services. In a recent project, we explored various methods to create these seams in a long-lived mainframe system and will share our findings and how they relate to other legacy modernization approaches. Join us to discuss incremental legacy modernization and learn about CodeConcise, a proof of concept developed in-house by EMPC and data and AI service lines. 

Lunch break 55 min

14:30

MaEVe: scaling charging station management system (CSMS) with WebSockets - challenges and strategies

Prachi Tyagi

 

Electric Vehicle (EV) adoption is rapidly increasing, leading to a surge in the demand for efficient Charging Station Management Systems (CSMS) - a central nervous system, orchestrating charging operations across networks of charging stations. The Open ChargePoint Protocol (OCPP) facilitates communication between charging stations and CSMS via web socket connections, enabling bi-directional message exchange. However, the stateful nature of web socket connections, presents challenges in scaling CSMS. This talk delves into the MaEVe project, exploring various approaches to overcome these scalability challenges.

 
15:25

What digitalization for a critical, highly-distributed infrastructure company means

Andreas Reisenauer (from 50Hertz)
 

Transmission System Operators (TSOs) play an instrumental role in enabling the transition to renewable energy. The distributed & critical nature of energy infrastructure places unique challenges for technology and the overall ‘digitalization’ of the energy landscape. Modernizing the whole software and infrastructure stack while bridging gaps between operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT) poses a cross-functional challenge. In this talk. Andreas will demonstrate the technological approach to delivering a platform that enables a cloud-native environment for realizing data-intensive applications at scale that will drive core TSO processes. From building infrastructure in data centers, to enabling seamless delivery and providing building blocks of a modern data architecture is part of this effort.


16:20

Container Security - zero trust and principle of least privilege in containers inside K8s

Amit Dube
 

As organisations are rapidly moving to containerised workload, the security design inside the containers has become very critical. As part of this talk, - What are various security options available inside k8s API definition for pod and how they work in conjunction and complement each other? - I will explain the security issues related to k8s default permission set when nothing is explicitly defined (more than 90% of containers use this). - How to start from zero permissions and add what we need based on the application in the container. - What are possible options to enforce/audit it in a big platform (landing zone) inside an organisation using admission controllers and policy engines. How to scale it? - How to transition from no security to zero trust & principle of least privilege model in bigger organisations?

14:30

Inclusive employee experience: AccessibilityOps for compliance and inclusion

Sara Michelazzo

 

Building accessible internal software is no longer optional. Dive into AccessibilityOps, our approach to digital accessibility compliance. TechOps, Thoughtworks' IT department, shares real-world experience and working software. We'll showcase how we build and monitor accessibility across products, engage with vendors to ensure compliance, and build awareness in our delivery teams. Learn how to integrate accessibility into your development lifecycle and product strategy. Why now? Prioritizing accessibility empowers employees with disabilities, fosters inclusivity, and ensures compliance with regulations like the upcoming European Accessibility Act impacting private companies by June 2025.

 

 

15:25

Evaluating LLM systems: the nuts and bolts

Aili Asikainen and Oege Dijk

 

Recent developments in large language models have made it easier than ever to develop AI systems. Companies are building internal and external chatbots, RAG systems and copilots. Many of these projects run into a similar roadblock: it is very quick and easy to get to the first 80% useability, but really hard to cover the remaining 20% to actually deliver a successful product. In this talk we will argue that the key to delivering a successful AI product is systematic evaluation of your system so that you can continuously and confidently improve. We will show practical examples ranging from how to evaluate LLM outputs and agent based systems to understanding new usage patterns in production. These insights enable fast iteration and informed decision making that drive both technical improvements and product development.

 


16:20

GenAI synthetic data used to fine tune a domain specific model

Meissane Chami and Siobhan Hughes

 

As organisations are rapidly moving to containerised workload, the security design inside the containers has become very critical. As part of this talk, - What are various security options available inside k8s API definition for pod and how they work in conjunction and complement each other? - I will explain the security issues related to k8s default permission set when nothing is explicitly defined (more than 90% of containers use this). - How to start from zero permissions and add what we need based on the application in the container. - What are possible options to enforce/audit it in a big platform (landing zone) inside an organisation using admission controllers and policy engines. How to scale it? - How to transition from no security to zero trust & principle of least privilege model in bigger organisations?

17.10

Closing and networking

 

 

Join XConf Europe in Barcelona

Talks from 2023

How will Evolutionary Architecture evolve?

Rebecca Parsons, CTO Emerita

How BMW stays on the fast track by building the Connected AI Platform for digital products

Magdalena Kuhn (BMW) and Anton Vlasov

A commune in the ivory tower: A new approach to architecture

Andrew Harmel-Law, Technical Principal

Past keynote speakers

Rebecca Parsons

Rebecca Parsons

 

CTO – Emerita, Thoughtworks

Martin Fowler

Martin Fowler

 

Chief Scientist, Thoughtworks

Emily Gorcenski

Emily Gorcenski

 

Head of Data Europe, Thoughtworks

Zhihao (Z) Lin

Zhihao (Z) Lin

 

Managing Director, Artificial Intelligence, Temasek

 

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