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5 Takeaways from XConf EU 2019

Now in its 6th year, ThoughtWorks XConf was hosted in Manchester, Munich and Barcelona. The days were packed with talks and discussions on Infrastructure, Machine Learning, Blockchain, Security and Kotlin.


Here are our five key XConf takeaways: 

1. Neal Ford - the past is never dead, it's not even past, and the next time you get a null pointer exception for your Java code, remember this quote. 


Neal Ford’s keynote focused on stories and lessons from architecture, design, process, and other sources, each illustrating important principles and pitfalls for modern architects. These real-life mistakes were brought to life by Neal as learning examples. Stories are a great way of remembering the pitfalls of this past. Find out more about Neal’s keynote talk here.

2. Agile and Lean make security the first-class citizen it deserves to be


While some are still recovering from the mistake of treating security as a second-class citizen, the rise of agile and lean methodologies have opened the door for information security to sit alongside software development, with an opportunity to align security with technology's value stream. Teams that write secure software often do so thanks to the efforts of individuals. Felix and Foo spoke in their talks about the necessary tools, ceremonies and mindset to formulate the narrative needed. Security should be iterated and tested during delivery and not considered an afterthought. 

3. Kotlin is on the rise


Kotlin seems to resonate with developers. It keeps appearing across platforms and tools as a general and special purpose development language. So no wonder that Astrid and Noe illuminated that topic for us during this year’s XConf. Astrid focused on a real-world example of how ThoughtWorks used Kotlin to build a new online platform for One Million Mentors, as well as a generic intro to Kotlin and its benefits. Meanwhile Noe focussed on how features from the Arrow library can help harness the power of functional programming in Kotlin. 

4. Make your environment more consistent for software development with evolutionary cloud infrastructure


Kief talked about evolutionary infrastructure and how to use infrastructure as code to help evolve our infrastructure and make it something that can be changed and worked with on safely with ease to do this successfully he said it takes three core practices: one is defining things as code obviously; the next is then using that to do continuous validation, automated testing of our systems; and then the third is building things in small pieces – want to know how? Listen to Kief’s talk.

5. Chaos Engineering - If you are not able to answer the question “Are we ok?” You should not be doing Chaos Engineering.  



Steve delivered a nice and insightful introduction to Chaos Engineering in his presentation; its core principles, why you should actually do this, and last but not least a quick guide on how to get started with Chaos Engineering. Even though it’s a great way to test your systems, it’s not for everyone. Check out Steve’s talk here.


Don't worry if you missed XConf this time

Visit the XConf EU hub for all the highlights from Manchester, Munich and Barcelona including talks, decks and videos.