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R&D Stays Active in the Tech Community: Beer Involved

Senior Embedded Systems Developer
One of the cool things our R&D teams get to do is share our developer knowledge with the broader tech community in the Czech Republic and also learn from developers in other technology companies located here.
Earlier this month, Jakub Fojtl and I attended the jOpenSpace unconference. jOpenSpace was founded in 2008 as a Java unconference but the range of topics presented there has widened and is not limited to Java (or even technology topics) anymore. The difference between unconference and conference is that the program is not planned ahead; instead each participant is supposed to prepare a lightning talk about a topic which interests him/her. This year, there were almost 40 attendees and each of them delivered a 10-minute long presentation.
It started on a Friday evening with dinner and a discussion with Ondřej Moudrý from Zeebra. He spoke about how the IT market looks from a recruiters perspective and how the market has changed over the last year.
Saturday was filled with presentations. Jakub had a presentation, Code Your Architecture, where he spoke about Structurizr, a java application and library which allows you to describe C4 models of your application in code. The benefits are better version control support and capturing architecture discussion in pull request related to the model change.
I gave a presentation on how we developed an F# testing framework in our team. Our team develops a .NET application, so using F# allows a better cooperation between developers and QA than using Robot framework or other external testing tools. Developers write tests as part of delivering a new feature which decreases the chance that the feature won't be covered by automated tests. The framework also allows to run one definition of tests on multiple levels (e.g. our service with the rest of the system mocked, end-to-end with db import/Selenium setup using management GUI) which allows us to easily identify why a test failed and where to fix it.
Kateřina Novotná from Red Hat had a presentation about XML eXtensible Entity (XXE) attacks. When your application de-serializes an XML the XML can contain references to other entities, like a file on your system. After the XML is processed, the result can contain data which should be private. An alternative of this attack is a billion laughs DoS attack which causes the XML parser to create billions of objects in memory and can lead to system failure. Both of these can be prevented by disabling external entities processing.

Y Soft Beeromat

On Saturday evening there was another dinner and an opportunity for networking. Y Soft supplied a Beeromat for this event. A Beeromat is a mechanism for detecting and regulating empty beer kegs to prevent unnecessary beer foaming when replacing the keg. In Czech, this is very important!
The Y Soft Beeromat used the YSoft Terminal Professional 4 which is normally connected to printers where users authenticate and have their print jobs allocated against a cost center. With Beeromat this terminal is connected to a beer tap. Beer drinkers authenticated using an NFC chip on the bottom of their pint glass and poured themselves a beer. The terminal sees how much beer has been poured and when the glass is full. It then stores the information about how much beer the user drank with a leaderboard display so people can compete as to who is the most proficient drinker.
On Sunday there were workshops and presentation which didn't manage to fit in on Saturday. Petr Hamerník from Geneea spoke about natural language processing and how their applications can extract information from normal text. He showed an example by identifying named entities (e.g. Bill Clinton, Prague) and mentioned what complications can arise because of context. Pronouns are understood quite well by humans but can be tricky for computers to identify to whom they refer. Puns (e.g. "Farmer Bill dies in house") also complicate the computer’s understanding of text.
jOpenSpace was a nice and relaxing event. Compared to standard conferences, you have option to hear more topics and have a better opportunity to get in touch with people whose ideas you liked. I am looking forward to it attend next year.
Filip Štaffa
Filip is a developer working on Y Soft’s scanning solutions and is a Code Retreat facilitator. He is passionate about functional programming and improving what he does. In his free time he likes wine, board games and programming.
View all posts by Filip Štaffa

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