How I spent my Saturday at the Devfest!

I love attending developer events as I learn more ideas, technologies and latest trends from fellow devs in the community. This Saturday I decided to attend the local GDG in Silicon Valley. Google Developer’s group GDG Dev fests are run widely around the globe and are focused on community building and learning about Google Technologies.

The keynote speaker Shirley Wu gave a session on Data sketch|es — a visualization a month which is a collaboration with Nadieh Bremer. The idea is to have a new visualization on any random topic every month and divide each project into data, sketch and code. I learnt a lot of lessons in this session like:

· Do you get the data first or the idea? This is a crucial question when you start working in data science projects.

· Be curious and get creative with data gathering. That level of excitement will help you move the project in a positive direction.

· Always explore the data before starting the sketch.

· Design with code — It is important to understand how the visualization works with the code and go back and forth between them.

· Lastly, understand the toolset you are using for truly unique results.

I also like the concept of having Codelabs in dev conferences as they are hands-on sessions with new technologies. Swapnil Patel taught a codelab on Event Driven Apps and Firebase, which is a Google Mobile platform that helps to quickly develop high-quality apps. The underlying technology uses Baas (Backend as a Service) as an approach to connect applications to backend cloud storage and processing as well as interacting with critical services. The environment of Firebase is neat and easy to use. Some key features involve authentication using Google accounts, Realtime Database and event based services. I worked on a demo project during the codelab to play around with the different features. Go check out Firebase here.

Benjamin Baxter gave an insight on Android TV’s newest home screen — Android Oreo. The speaker spoke of features like how the user can decide what he wants to watch from multiple apps at once, and also how the content on channels is kept fresh. One key feature I liked personally is that Google Assistant also syncs with the Android TV to enhance the search experience. The Android TV can respond to voice commands like “Pause”, “Wait for 5 mins” etc, and thsi technology is what make this TV stand out!

Pravin Bansal gave a talk on using Machine Learning and Predictive Analytics in Software Quality. He addressed many use cases in Quality testing like automating execution of test cases, missing test coverage in the requirements — traceability, product stability over a period of time etc. Predictive analytics can help improve the quality of product using self-learning algorithms, and also help in Defect analytics which can help the quality engineers spot the problems more quickly.

James Ferreira took us through a codelab based on how to build a Business App with Google App Maker. This codelab was easy and very fast to understand as well as deploy apps. The training showed the basics of building and deploying a data-driven web application using some Google features like Google Maps.

Lastly, I have always been a fan of the concept of Smart Home, and so I had to attend the session by Java Champion and four-time JavaOne Rock Star Kevin Nilson and his 12-year-old son, Andy. We came across numerous projects — big and small using simple electronics like diodes, relays to ICs that can help turn our home into a connected home. During the session, Kevin showed numerous videos of projects done at his home and also the challenges he faced while building them.

I could not cover every speaker who spoke today, however each talk was amazing, loaded with lots of information. I would highly recommend developers to attend this fest and gain knowledge!