Trifork Blog

GOTO Amsterdam – The ideas behind the program

March 24th, 2016 by

We recently had our program release party with Jim Webber, where we published our program for GOTO Amsterdam 2016. Over the last weeks we filled every missing spot and the exciting program is now complete. But we haven’t shared our thoughts on the program decisions itself.

When the Program Committee met… 

When the program committee met to discuss the conference, we decided on a few basic ideas: 1) we only want the best speakers on a certain topic without repeating ourselves, 2) we also want more inspirational talks, even if the speakers are not involved in IT and 3) we still want to focus on the currently hot topics, which become the “new normal” in 3-5 years, but additionally we want to pave the road on how to get started with these future trends the day after the conference. 4) Select track topics which span from “hot now” to “hot in 3 years”.

Always new speakers, the DRY Rule for conferences

DRY – Don’t repeat yourself – is known under programmers, but also conferences should aim for this. If we would host the same (great) speakers again and again, it would become boring for attendees. Therefore we have almost only new speakers who never spoke at GOTO Amsterdam before. “Smalltalk” Dave Thomas is the only speaker in 2016 who also spoke in 2015. We also host Dan North a 2nd time after 2014 and that’s it. Only new faces with new ideas. Of course these new speakers are not really new to GOTO, many of them proved their greatness at other (GOTO) conferences.

Inspirational Keynotes

Our 2nd goal, inspiration, becomes obvious once you look at our keynotes. The most exciting talk in 2015 was Raffaello D’Andrea’s keynote. We wanted to follow up on this and present a couple of talks with topics not directly on the landmark of most of us. We have Andre Kuipers, an astronaut, presenting ideas and thoughts beyond our existence on earth. The TU Eindhoven presents with a live-demo the rise of the machines, showing their robots. Simon Singh, the famous science author, presents the history of secrets and privacy and also gives a demonstration on a genuine Second World War Enigma machine. We also have a “Philosophy” track, which focuses on topics beyond software development itself, but with a major impact on it. Dave Farley talks about thinking traps and biases (if you read “Thinking Fast and Slow” from Daniel Kahneman you know what’s coming :-)) and people issues. But we also look at the intersection of programming, psychology and philosophy and on the impact of technology on this world right now and in the future when everything becomes smart and connected.

Apply your ideas directly after the conference

One of the depressing moments after visiting a conference is going back to work, back to normal. You hear all these cool stuff, but now you have to deal with “old stuff” again. The leap between the current day job and what hot Silicon Valley companies are presenting is usually too big to get an idea how to get started right away.

We want to change this with a new idea. We want to help to make the first step easier. The Spring++ track is one example. Spring offers a lot of software around hot topics like Microservices, Reactive Programming, Cloud or data processing. …and many companies are using Spring already for many years. The Spring++ track makes it possible to get your hands dirty very quickly without introducing a big new technology stack to your company. Not all is new, just some things, and that makes adoption easier. For all other tracks, we asked some speakers of these tracks to also provide an idea on how to start right now with the idea or concept they are presenting. That’s not possible for all, but for some talks. The “Legacy to Microservices” track is a good example since most of the talks focus on how a problematic monolith has been transformed and why. The “why” gives you the business case. The talks on Spring Cloud and Spring Netflix OSS hopefully a good start.

What were the motivations for each track? Almost every company claims to be Agile (or these days: doing stand-ups), but leading Silicon Valley companies are elsewhere. They don’t focus solely on outcome anymore, but rather on output and business value. The Post-Agile era has already started and we present 5 really cool talks on this.

JavaScript is everywhere and we have talks about emerging new frameworks (React and MeteorJS), how to organize large JavaScript codebases or JavaScript performance.

Legacy to Microservices focuses on how to transform your current system landscape into a set of Microservices and why and how you can achieve that.

The ‘Data’ track looks at how to effectively work with data in order to make money or save money. Some talks have a nice connection to the Post-Agile track, because finding out if a new feature is worth developing requires a platform and methodology to analyze data like clickstreams or historical data. Also, there can’t be a GOTO Amsterdam without an exciting talk on Elasticsearch 🙂

The world depends now totally on digital infrastructure, which requires great responsibility from us developers. To help you building platforms which are robust and secure, we host the “Security and Rugged” track. You don’t know what rugged is all about? Joshua Corman, the leader of this movement will tell you all about it. Additionally we have other exciting talks around this topic like the 4-times obfuscated C-contest winner Diomidis Spinellis or TED-speaker Adam Tornhill.

Sci-Fi IT – What to expect in a couple of years

IT is everywhere – in cars, devices, sensors, cows, buildings and so on. But these worlds are not worlds of their own, they also connected with each other. That’s the idea of the “Connected Worlds” track. How to connect the world. One example we present is how TomTom collects position, speed and target to predict and control traffic flows, but also how Microsoft connects sensors networks and the Cloud to create new businesses.

The motivation behind Spring++ and Philosophy has already been explained above.


Last, but not least: the trainings. All our trainings are connected to the tracks. You want to go faster in the Post-Agile era, visit Barry O’Reilly. You want to be able to build and deploy Microservices (or Self-Containing-Systems), go visit Dave Farley or Eberhard Wolff. Other trainings are offered by Dan North, Adam Tornhill, and Ruben van Vreeland.

Last but not least: you have probably recognised that the Wednesday morning keynote is still missing. We work hard on getting an unexpected talk for that keynote, so please stay tuned.

2 Responses

  1. May 22, 2016 at 02:30 by Lavinia

    Apepcriation for this information is over 9000-thank you!

  2. It’s good to get a fresh way of looking at it.