We were at Lambda World 2017
Published by Miguel Ángel Viera on 04/12/2017
This last 26th and 27th of October I was a proud assistant of the Lambda World. I gathered with some colleagues from Codesai (Manuel Rivero and Antonio de la Torre) and with some friends. It was also my first time on the event so I was kinda hyped.
My main intention coming to the Conference was to be completely disrupted with this software programming paradigm. I’m a newbie when referring to functional programming and I’ve always wanted to learn it on my free time, but I’m usually stuck with topics related of what I want to improve on the clients I work on. So I thought this time it could be a great moment to finally awake that part of me that is waiting to start learning functional programming.
The conference was comprised of three sections: - The first day there was an open space in the morning and several workshops in the afternoon. The second day was a more conventional conference day full of talks.
During the open space I enjoyed quite a lot a session by Rúnar Bjarnason, it was an improvised crash course on Category Theory. I was quite amazed by the fact that he just opened a text editor and started writing every definition and identifying objects and arrows of every category.
I also attended the workshop session: “Don’t fear the monad” by Antonio Leiva. I really liked his session, but it was quite uncomfortable having to follow the examples and doing the exercises on benches without a desk or table to place my laptop. The workshop was great, it covered a lot of topics which were greatly explained. The only downside of the workshop was that we had a really short time to do it ourselves (about only 5 minutes) and it was impossible (at least for me) to end the exercises without being familiar with Kotlin.
“Kotlin 102” (I couldn’t find the link from the conference, so this one is from Devoxx Conference) was a great summary about many of the decisions that Jetbrains has made on designing Kotlin to be more functional-friendly and most importantly, remove unnecessary boilerplate to keep only the necessary tools. The talk was really funny and didactic. I got a deep insight of Kotlin and I can say I can’t wait to try it on any of my side projects.
The second talk by Daniel Sfregola “A Pragmatic Introduction to Category Theory” was a kind of Category Theory Developer Oriented talk. Basically it was a summary of each category, but removing all the abstraction, and explaining it straight from a code implementation. Although the talk itself wasn’t very revealing, in my case, it was a confirmation of everything I had learned during the conference about Category Theory and I felt a little proud of myself :)
Also I assisted to the talk Functional Programming in Kotlin with Kategory by Paco Estevez and Raúl Raja from 47 Degrees. It was an introductory talk about the library they have developed and every feature they have brought into Kotlin. I was mesmerized by how powerful and great it looked. The talk was really enjoyable and dynamic. And my last session was at the Keynote “Profunctor Optics: The Categorical Approach” by Bartosz Milewski. Sadly I didn’t get a single clue of the talk. Too advanced for me. I hope I can watch it again in a year and understand it.
Finally. I would like to thank the organization. The event was fantastic and the venue simply amazing. The only thing that I can think that might be improved are the workshops. I think benches are not a good place to program, but I understand that there was no other place in the venue that might have fixed that problem. That is what tradeoffs are about :D
And I would also like to give some feedback about the conference itself. In my opinion it would be really great having more topics apart from Category Theory, which was, no doubt the most discussed topic on the conference. For instance, I would have liked to have some more talks about dynamic functional languages.
To conclude I’d like to thank everyone I have talked to during the conference. I had a great opportunity to meet new people and spend some time with my Codesai colleagues and friends. I hope I can make it again next year.
I’m glad because I finally had the chance to come to this conference and immerse myself in this FP “world”.
I got a new perspective on applying functional programming for my day-to-day work. I’m happy because I feel that a lot of new paths have suddenly opened in front of me and I love it. I will try to practice more with this paradigm and get a better understanding of it. I hope next year I can understand a 30% of what is told in the conference talks. But for a newbie, understanding a 10% I think it’s a good starting point.
Thanks everybody for an amazing Lambda World 2017!