Getting the most out of OSCON: what not to miss

One more week and the first ever OSCON conference in Europe will take place in Amsterdam (26-28 October). Here's what to look out for:


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O’Reilly’s OSCON comes to Amsterdam for the first time on October 26 to 28, bringing the open source community to Europe following years of successful events stateside. Over the course of the three day conference, attendees will have the chance to check out dozens of talks, tutorials, and workshops for beginners through to the most experienced professionals. has spoken with a number of speakers ahead of their talks at the conference to get a feel for what they’ll be discussing and who their subjects will appeal to the most. You can see the full schedule of speakers here.

There’s a wide variety of subjects tackled by each of the talks but many speakers follow similar themes too. We’ve selected a handful of talks and workshops worth checking out over the three days in Amsterdam to get the full OSCON experience.

It can be hard to keep with the latest open source technologies and updates, and ensuring you’re always working with the newest tools so several OSCON speakers will be discussing some of the newer coding languages and technologies, whether it’s a crash course for beginners or delving further into the technology than ever before. spoke with Paris Buttfield-Addison, of Australian game and app developers Secret Lab, who will be looking at Apple’s newest programming language Swift 2 on Wednesday October 28 with his all-day workshop. The language is still rather new and Buttfield-Addison expects that it will come in high demand in the future so getting familiar with it now is key.

UK-based PHP consultant and author Lorna Mitchell will be presenting What to expect from PHP 7, which will be covering everything a developer needs to know ahead of its release at the end of this year.

Etsy data engineering manager Melissa Santos and software engineer Maggie Zhou will be looking at the adding vital new tools to your technology stack, removing old ones, and dealing with challenges like outages while making those transitions.

Deb Nicholson from Open Invention Network meanwhile will tackle one of the biggest issues of our time: surveillance and privacy. She will be looking at how the web needs to change in the future to allow freedom online and the breaking down of inequalities.

Another common theme at OSCON is the topic of ever-changing roles and responsibilities for developers and managers. Earlier spoke with ThoughtWorks’ Neal Ford on the making the transition from software developer to software architect or what he calls “accidental architects”, where people fall into the role with little planning.

In cases like this, the developer may find they lack certain skills. Neal Ford’s day long workshop will look to bridge the gap between the technical skills and the soft skills needed to be an effective software architect.

The fear of failure is another pervading issue for developers and startups. The idea of embracing failure and learning from failure is much stronger in the US compared to Europe but on Monday October 26, Leslie Hawthorn will break down the barriers around understanding failure and how to get back on track. The European edition of the open source conference OSCON will be taking place in Amsterdam between October 26 and 28, bringing together some of the biggest players and budding startups from the open source community.

Click here for more information on registering for OSCON.

Read’s interviews with OSCON speakers ahead of the event:

Live coding with Sonic Pi creator Sam Aaron

A/B testing at – and preparing to be wrong

Leslie Hawthorn on the fear of failing

ThoughtWorks’ Neal Ford demystifies the fundamentals of software architecture

Secret Lab dives into programming with Swift 2

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