OSCON Austin 2017 – Keynotes & Sessions

Continuing my previous post from Tuesday, the last two days of the conference were keynote speeches and talk sessions. I am not going to discuss every session I attended as there were many, I’ll just hit the ones that were the most interesting for me.

To give you an idea of how many sessions there were, look at the image below. Every hour there were 14 different sessions to choose from! And of course as you would know it, the ones I really wanted to attend most were all at the same times and my current employer didn’t pony up the big bucks to get me access to videos of all of the sessions, so I was forced to choose.

Wed Sched

14 Different Choices Every Hour


So the beginning of days 3 and 4 were keynote addresses, 6 on Wednesday and 4 more on Thursday. Unfortunately O’Reilly only posted excerpts for most of the keynotes on their YouTube channel. To see the whole videos you need a Safari subscription. I’ll include the ones with the full videos below.

Christopher Aedo from IBM discussed open infrastructures and defaced numerous classic paintings.

Ying Xiong, the Chief Architect of the cloud platform at Huawei Technologies, spoke about the open source ecosystem. This was very interesting to get a different point of view from China.

Finally I hate to include this one but I will anyway since the whole video is there and there is some useful information in it. Alvand Salehi, a Senior Technology Advisor at The White House, discussed open source from the U.S. Government, even some code from the Pentagon.

So that aspect was interesting. It was just unfortunate that I felt like I was buying a used car.


There’s nothing like the Family Truckster


Over the 2 days I attended 12 sessions, and there were 3 that stood out:

“From REST to GraphQL: Why a query language is perfect for writing APIs”

I could really beat myself with a wet virtual network cable. I got to this one late. It was the first one after the keynotes and I spent some time in the Expo Hall and lost track of time. The room was packed except for some seats up front (I don’t see why 50 people or more were just standing up in the back when there were seats up front). It was hard to see the screen but it was well worth it.


The session was taught by David Celis and Garen Torikian of GitHub. They tag teamed the story of a fictional company called Welp and their need to develop a REST API. After documenting the inherent problems of REST they decided that they needed to use GraphQL instead! What followed was a really good live demo along with tons of great details.

I know that when I get to the point of building out my API I will be spending a ton of time going through their slides and examples. Really great stuff. Thanks guys!!

Slides (with notes!): From REST to GraphQL

UPDATE: They provided the video to their session! Now I can see what I missed and everything else as well!

“The serverless revolution for JavaScript developers”

This presentation by Pam Selle (and her blog), a software engineering lead at IOPipe, didn’t have much new for me that I hadn’t already heard at ServerlessConf or earlier at OSCON, but it was by far the best talk to describe and detail what serverless is and what the different options are if you want to go down this road.

If you aren’t really sure what this thing called serverless really is, go through her slides. I wish her presentation video were available as well because that makes it so much more clear. Definitely a good read and a good resource. Thanks!

Slides: The serverless revolution for JavaScript developers Presentation

UPDATE: Pam provided the video to her session!! Thank you!!

“Graph databases will change your freakin’ life”

This was an excellent talk on Graph databases bu Ed Finkler, the CTO at Graph Story. After attending that workshop by William Lyon two days earlier my interest was intense and this talk didn’t disappoint. One thing that does disappoint is that his slides were not posted afterwards 🙁 (By the way, most of the slides to the talks can be found here).

UPDATE: He provided the slides!! Also, I found a video of him making a similar (or possibly the same) presentation previously and here is the video (embedding is turned off).

His talk covered a lot of the same material that the workshop did, but that only served to deepen my understanding of it. Plus seeing how someone else used Cypher and Neo4J really helped my understanding.

Definitely check out his non-profit organization called OSMI which stands for Open Sourcing Mental Illness. Ed is doing some excellent work. Give what you can to help. I did!

Also, he has provided an example repo in Github called 2016 OSMI Survey Graph. Check it out! I plan to.