ElixirConf EU 2023

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Sunday, 30 April 2023

I’m just back from ElixirConf EU. My first conference since the big C, and my first Elixir conference since 2016.

Day -1

I got to Lisbon on Tuesday, for training on Wednesday, and the conference ran until Friday. I was staying about 10 minutes away from the conference hotel. The room looked alright, but the hotel was covered in references to old Hollywood stars - Audrey Hepburn, James Stewart, and Alfred Hitchcock. They called the hotel Hotel Florida, which seems like a weird thing to do with all the Hollywood references. Maybe Planet Hollywood owns any references to that?

After dropping my bags I went for a beer at a local place and got a Francesinha. That is a meal made for drinking.

Day 0

I was mostly there for a WebRTC workshop from the folks behind Membrane. Nice guys, and although it was their first time giving the workshop, I thought they did a great job. Some minor stuff to improve on. I was surprised at people showing up to the workshop having not written any Elixir or not followed any of the instructions. It wasn’t exactly cheap.

Day 1

The first day of talks started with one on Livebook. I haven’t used Livebook at all, but it was super interesting and really sold it to me. Another talk on the same day showed how to use it to debug a production app. I’ll definitely use that.

Unsurprisingly, lots of the talks focussed on LiveView. I’ve been slowly working through the Pragmatic Studio course and used it a bit for work. Optimizing LiveView for Realtime Applications had some great tips on using it in big apps. At work, I’m just using it for an admin UI, but I’m building something else with it too and this was a good talk full of practical tips.

A really fun talk, was on building Not Hotdog. I’m still amazed by computer vision and machine learning, so this was mind blowing.

Lars Wikman finished the day with another mind blowing talk titled Lively LiveView with Membrane. He built the slides with LiveView, and used Membrane and Nx to do live subtitles. He even changed slides with just his voice. It was really fun. I got a chance to tell him how much I enjoyed it at the end of Day 2 in the pub just before he had to leave. He even mentioned me in his writeup.

Day 2

In the morning, the CTO of Auroville showed how they moved from Drupal to Elixir. After working at GOV.UK, I’m really interested in how government can use technology. Hearing how a city built out the infrastructure for citizens and businesses was really cool.

Product focussed analytics for LiveView was a perfect talk for me. Figuring out how we can use a specific technology to build better products for users is always interesting. It turns out you can build live dashboards using LiveView to understand user behaviour.

James from Electric SQL showed their product - an offline client side local database that can sync with and resolve conflicts when it reconnects to the database in the cloud. It was really cool, and an interesting counterpart to so much LiveView, which requires a constant connection. I’ll be following it closely.

Chris McCord’s keynote was a great look at how far LiveView has came. It’s insanely powerful. I’m looking forward to working with it even more.

We finished the day with drinks at Musa da Bica. It was a nice way to round off a great week. The talks and the chats in the pubs left me feeling inspired - and excited to keep working with Elixir.

I’ll definitely be back to ElixirConf.