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Popular Software-Development Conferences in Summer 2023

Joe Stanganelli Managing Editor, TechBeacon

In January, TechBeacon published a list of software-engineering conferences to check out this year. We didn't go much beyond the first half of 2023, however—largely because many conferences hadn't yet set their dates or prices.

Now that we're almost halfway through the year, we figured it's a good time to offer our readers some updates and highlight some developer conferences over the next couple of months. So here are TechBeacon's picks to help you plan your summer.

While curating this list, I noticed that—as with other conferences this year—artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are playing substantial roles in shaping the conversation. This is unsurprising, considering all the AI-related hype now that ChatGPT and generative AI are upon us. I thought it would be interesting, therefore, to highlight the AI-related sessions from each conference on this list.

I've also included my own subjective editor's picks for sessions—things that I personally would check out (you know, if I had the budget to go).

While we've done our best to include pricing information that was accurate as of press time, remember that we're coming close to these conference dates—so prices and availability may change without notice. Also bear in mind that hotel and travel costs are not included in conference-pricing information.


DevBcn (The Barcelona Developers Conference)

Twitter: @dev_bcn
Web: www.devbcn.com
Date: July 3–5
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Cost: €550 (€590 to include July 5 workshops)

While this will be the first annual Barcelona Developers Conference (DevBcn), the event is not entirely new. DevBcn started as JBCNConf—the largest Java and JVM conference in Spain. DevBcn represents a rebranding and broadening of JBCNConf.

Tracks for the first DevBcn include:

AI component: About two-thirds of the sessions in the AI, ML, big data, and Python track relate to AI and ML, so you'd probably do well to stick to that if you're AI/ML-focused. For what it's worth, at least three sessions (one of them in the DevOps track) specifically deal with ChatGPT.

Editor's pick: Of all the interesting stuff at this conference, one thing stands out for its bold unintuitiveness: a session called "Stop Building APIs." In it, presenter Peter Van Vliet, a full-stack software architect at Masking Technology, will take attendees through API alternatives down to the runtime level.

droidcon Berlin/Fluttercon

Twitter: @droidcon/@FlutterconEU
Web: berlin.droidcon.com/fluttercon.dev
Date: July 5–7
Location: Berlin, Germany
Cost: €420 regular admission until June 9, €130 student admission; group rates are available from €350 to €400 per person

Droidcon Berlin and Fluttercon are colocated events this year; a ticket to one is also a ticket to the other.

Droidcon Berlin purports to be the largest Android-developer conference in Europe, with more than 1,300 developers expected to attend and more than 95 sessions. Fluttercon, for its part, will boast over 1,000 Flutter devs attending more than 75 sessions. Each conference will feature five tracks. 

AI component: On the first afternoon of Droidcon Berlin, Sofy CEO Syed Hamid will present a session called "The GPT-ification of Mobile App Testing."

Day 2 of Droidcon Berlin features more AI content, starting with a morning session on using AI tools for app testing—presented by Michal Szczepanik, solution architect at EPAM. In the afternoon, Daniel Neamțu, EMEA developer advocate for Zebra Technologies, will present a session on improving and simplifying data capture with Google's ML Kit. Later on, Aleksandr Efremenkov, a software engineer at Bolt, will present an overview on using GitHub Copilot, an AI pair programmer.

Fluttercon does not immediately appear to have any AI-specific sessions, but feel free to go to the "Ask Googlers Anything!" session on the evening of Day 2 with an AI-related question.

Editor's pick: Day 3 of Droidcon Berlin will offer a panel discussion featuring "Tales from the Open Source World." Session attendees can expect tips getting started and continuing as an open-source contributor—as well as advice on leveraging open-source involvement for career advancement.

Day 3 of Fluttercon, meanwhile, features "Making Coffee with Flutter." In this IoT-flavored session, Moritz Theis, CEO at Snapp X, will take attendees on a deep dive into getting Flutter running on embedded devices. The case study? Running Flutter on a Raspberry Pi hooked up to a coffeemaker.

Refactor DX

Twitter: @RefactorSocial
Web: refactorconf.com/dx
Date: July 12–13
Location: Toronto, Canada
Cost: C$154.00 regular admission (C$308.00 after July 5), C$62.50 for full-time students (C$125.00 after July 11); prices do not include taxes

DX stands for "developer experience"—described by Refactor DX's organizers as "making developers' interactions with tools or applications as smooth and enjoyable as possible while they build their own projects." The idea is that better DX leads to faster development and better user experience (UX).

According to the event website, attendees can expect product demos and insights on optimizing workflows.

AI component: This year's opening keynote, presented by developer and content creator James Quick, is about the place of AI in DX.

On Day 2, Eirene Cremations co-founder and CTO Faisal Abid will present a self-explanatory session called "Learning to Wield Large Language Models" that will focus on HuggingFace (Google's generative-AI platform).

Editor's pick: There's no session description up on the site yet, but I find the session to be presented by Pearl Chen, director of product at Receptiviti, compelling. The title: "Who Is Your API For? Applying User Personas to Build Better Developer Platforms." Between this and my pick for DevBcn, it appears that devs are crying out for an improved experience when it comes to APIs.

THAT Conference

Twitter: @ThatConference, #THATConference
Web: that.us/events/wi/2023
Date: July 24–27
Location: Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
Cost: Varies from $599 to $1,199, with additional family/companion packages ranging from $99 to $649. Tickets to the pre-conference workshop are $199, while tickets to the conference's pig-roast event and water park party are $65.

The organizers describe THAT Conference as less of a developer conference and more of a developer summer camp—replete with being located at a water park. Attendees are referred to as "campers," speakers are dubbed "camp counselors," and the event offers family programming for those who want to bring the significant other and/or kids along for any or all of the four days.

If this one tickles your fancy, it might not be wise to wait too long to book this one; room blocks close on June 22.

AI component: Several, as follows.

  • Day 1 will offer an introduction to TensorFlow, presented by Robert Loesch, customer engineer at Google.
  • Day 2 will feature a history of natural-language processing (NLP) presented by Amanda Lange, Alexa developer community manager at Amazon.
  • Day 3 offers an introductory talk on the intersection between neuroscience and AI, presented by college student Ashlyn Larsen.
  • Later in the day on Day 3, AI-interested attendees will have to choose between a session on generative AI in Google Cloud (presented by Google customer engineer Sagar Kewalramani) and a competing session on using GitHub Copilot (presented by Breakthrough senior cloud architect John Ptacek). 
  • On Day 4, application analyst Bryan Shannon will present a case study on using ChatGPT to write a book to help readers understand what it's like to have ADHD.
  • A later Day 4 session from Lab651 founder and CEO Justin Grammens will offer an "under the hood" look at ChatGPT.
  • An honorable mention goes to family morning session on Day 4 (moderated by freeCodeCamp.org teacher Beau Carnes) that will guide attendees in creating a YouTube video about a robot attending his first THAT Conference.

Editor's pick: Jay Hill, observability practice lead at Intellibus, will be hosting a dad-joke competition on Day 3. I like dad jokes, but I don't know much more about the session—so you'd have to talk to him to learn more. To wit: Go to Jay Hill. Go directly to Jay Hill. Do not ask Joe. Do not collect $200.


Beer City Code

Twitter: @BeerCityCode, #beercitycode, #BCCGR
Web: www.beercitycode.com
Date: August 4–5
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan
Cost: Packages vary from $35 to $359

Teetotalers, never fear. Beer City Code is named for its location in Grand Rapids (known colloquially as "Beer City"); the conference organizers assure would-be attendees that the event is for "[s]oftware creators of all types . . . even those who don't care for beer."

Beer City Code is a smaller conference (with an anticipated attendance around 500), but apparently no less substantive. Day 1 features attendees' choice of five all-day workshops, followed by an RSVP-only Diversity & Inclusion Mixer. Day 2 is the conference proper, featuring sessions across seven tracks—followed by a separately ticketed VIP after party.

AI component: There appear to be three AI-dedicated sessions—all on Day 2. 

  • Evolution of Chatbot Therapists: From ELIZA to ChatGPT—presented by Diana Pham, a developer advocate at Vonage
  • Modeling Music with Machine Learning—presented by Herve Aniglo, a business-systems analyst at ADP and tech instructor at Black Girls CODE and CodeCrew 
  • Boosting Productivity with AI: Tips and Techniques for Software Developers—presented by Gaines Kergosien, a project lead at Trailhead Technology Partners

Editor's pick: In addition to his session on modeling music with ML, Herve Aniglo will be presenting a session on creating music with jythonMusic—a platform based on Jython, an open-source Python implementation integrated with Java.

React Rally

Twitter: @ReactRally
Web: reactrally.com
Date: August 15–18
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Cost: $500 for the main conference August 17–18; $900 for a two-day pre-conference React workshop August 15–16; $500 for a one-day workshop on using Remix August 16. Significant-other admission to after-conference activities available for additional $20.

React Rally is specifically for developers who use React.js, React Native, and related tools. While featuring back-to-back sessions along a single track, the schedule offers some recovery gaps for what the organizers describe as "hallway-track time to chat with interesting people."

The main conference takes place August 17–18. The two days prior will feature pre-conference workshops—one a "beginner-friendly" intro to React, the other on using React-based web framework Remix.

AI component: The last session on Day 1—presented by Eric Allen, developer advocate at Datadog—specifically concerns using large language models (LLMs) in the context of creating music playlists. More generally, the session purports to explore AI-prompt engineering, managing and manipulating the memory of chatbots, and other aspects AI tools (including, of course, ChatGPT).

For all we know, there may be more. As of press time, some of the sessions are still TBD.

Editor's pick: Honestly, that AI session sounds pretty good. But if I had to pick something else, I think I'd go with the Day 2 morning session on why and how to use React frameworks. In it, speaker and web developer Tejas Kumar will explore the "prevalent advice" on starting or incrementally adopting a React framework, along with some code examples. I like smart contextualizing, and this session seems potentially promising.

Again, though, keep an eye on the conference website. More sessions will be announced as the conference draws closer.

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