I came back from Devoxx Belgium super hyped and excited about everything, Java, the community and Antwerp!

Devoxx Belgium 20th Edition: Best conference in the world - download

This year I had the opportunity and privilege to travel to Antwerp and be part of the amazing experience that is Devoxx Belgium. For reference – I have attended many great conferences in the past. This was epic. As the event unfolded around me I noticed more and more the invisible guiding hands, rallying energies, and most of all the love and care of Stephan Janssen and the organizing team.

Beyond the meticulous organization, Devoxx was outstanding this year because of amazing talks and speakers and great people from the community which I had a chance to meet face to face, some for the very first time! I am constantly surprised by the statistical anomaly that is the ratio of awesome folks / java developers. Had some great conversations over lunch with random developers who somehow all turned out to be interesting, talented, and kind.

Devoxx Belgium 20th Edition: Best conference in the world - PXL 20231001 162055691

Devoxx Belgium 20th Edition: Best conference in the world - F7p4uyeWoAAH9H8

I even stumbled into Josh Long – with whom I seem to share a favorite T-Shirt, when our brief discussion suddenly escalated into a live coding streaming session😁 Only in Devoxx.

As for the talks – There were so many amazing sessions it is hard to pick out the highlights, but here are some of my personal favorites:

Mario Fusco and Francesco Nigro’s session – Taming performance issues in the wild, a practical guide to JVM profiling

This session was eye-opening to me. Both in terms of the potential of async_profiler and profiling technologies, but also in how underused and inaccessible they still are. Definitely gave me a lot of ideas on how to integrate them more transparently to provide feedback on code inlining issues etc.

Markus Westegren’s and Simon Verhoeven are both dear friends, but I must say that objectively both of their talks were great examples of how empowering community know-how and tribal knowledge can be.

Markus’ talk brought to the forefront the mentorship model, which I feel is still underutilized in Software Engineering. There is just so much we can do to both impart knowledge and help developers grow and learn from other developers if we are willing to open up to new thoughts and ideas.

Simon’s discussion of refactoring and update techniques using OpenRewrite is always a pertinent one that somehow hits too close to home. Any discussion of tools and technologies that can help us maintain large codebases that show their age is greatly needed.

Finally, I had the big screen experience of speaking at a large theatre to a great audience about my favorite topics. Which obviously was LOADS of fun. If you missed it here are the links to my talks and as always I’d love to get your feedback:

One final recommendation – keeping caffeinated was high on my agenda as well during my jetlagged days at the conference. If you happen to be in Antwerp again, I can’t recommend this Coffee Shop enough. If I was never caught napping behind one of the vendor booths its because of these guys:

It was a special conference, celebrating the Devoxx 20th anniversary, celebrating Java21, and beyond everything celebrating the community. Congratulations organizing team  – job well done and hope to see everyone again next year!

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