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Heartland Developers Conference 2015

I had the opportunity to attend the Heartland Developers Conference this year. I had a really good time. I got to learn from really smart people, catchup with friends, and meet some new people.

The biggest takeaway I had from this conference was how to evaluate which session to go to. With the first few sessions I attended, I tried to find topics that I already had familiarity with hopes of getting deeper understanding. I came to the conclusion that that was not a good approach. The sessions at conferences are not able to dig very deep into a topic. There just isn't enough time for the speakers to cover a lot of ground. So I changed my plan for which talks to attend and chose the ones on topics that I had no knowledge of. This worked out much better for me. I found a lot more new information and generally enjoyed the sessions more.

I will highlight some of the other items that I found interesting below.

Swagger is an open source abstraction for documenting your REST api with a JSON response. It is available for practically every platform.

HTTP2 is coming, already available on some platforms. Should help reduce overhead of web requests. Shrinks the size of headers. If a header value is unchanged, it does not need to be sent. The server will know if you request an HTML page that you will be requesting CSS and JS files next, and begin sending them before the client requests them. It will be able to do that through remembering how previous requests were handled, not by parsing the HTML file. The client can also tell the server if it has a cached version of a file and does not need it. Sounded like it will make some really nice improvements without breaking how things work currently.

Cory House gave a talk on "Owning the technology adoption curve." I really enjoy his talks, every session I have attended by him has been really great. He detailed the adoption curve, from early adopters through mainstream and to strategic laggards. Each spot had its positives and negatives. The biggest thing I took away from this session was, "Don't have a fixed mindset. You can learn anything if you work toward it." The example he gave to further explain this concept was, "Don't say I am shy and awkward. Say I need to work on my social skills." I think too often people assume that someone that is successful just has a natural gift, but they have worked hard to get as good as they are. If you know that you have a weakness or if you are not as good at something as you would like to be, realize that you can get better. It may not be easy to improve, but if you work at it you will get better.

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