16 Mar

Bourne Developer Conference {BDC2023}

Phil Cooley – CTO

Last November after the buzz of the SAP TechEd conference I thought about organising a Developer Conference for my team at Bourne Digital.

With a full team of 40 developers in multi disciplines I thought it would be a cool concept. Given my experience with organising SAP Inside Tracks and SAP Tech Nights I did have some knowledge about how an event like this may be organised…..so I started planning!

With the team in multiple states we had some logistics to coordinate, catering to organise, but the biggest challenge was to pick a date – given all of our commitments to customer projects currently in train. We also had to give the team enough time to compile the content which for some of the topics was quite big. We also had to organise some merchandise – a cool Tshirt (with a Bourne designed logo for the conference) and a stubby holder – to keep our drinks cool for the social event after the conference. 🙂 With some great help by key Bourne staff we got the job done. Key developers also worked very hard to get the content completed. A massive thanks to Shaun Oosthuizen (SAP BTP Architect & Integration Lead), Gurbhej Singh (BTP Cloud Development Lead), Noble Mathew (Mobile Development Lead, Amin Almarsafy (SAP Development Lead), Dinesh Nayar (Web Developer), Krishna Shinde (X-Platform Lead) and Vivek Parkhe (SAP Development Lead).

When planning the Bourne Developer Conference {BDC: 2023} I wanted to meet a few key objectives, summarised by this drawing.

One of the purposes of the day was to set aside time to prioritise learning and innovation and to promote a culture of “finding ways to do things better”. I’ve always believed in the Japanese concept of “Kaizen” – to always look for ways to continuously improve so the conference was also about this message. The main theme of the day was about quality improvements – there is always room for improvement across development activities so we talked about the following topics:

  • Test Suite Development
  • Unit, Integration, E2E
  • Design Time Quality – Static Code Analysis & Typescript
  • Disaster Recovery & Reducing Downtime
  • Application Performance

All of our sessions were designed to provide knowledge – through detailed theory – and hands on information to see each area in practice.

Now to the day itself…

I could feel the buzz as people started entering the AppHaus in Melbourne. Merchandise had arrived and people were excited to wear it – #merchisgreat! Given that most people are WFH these days it was good to see everyone talking and catching up – the Melbourne AppHaus was noisy! We started the day at 8.55am with a special Welcome message. I had been in contact with Juergen Mueller (CTO of SAP) to see if he could record a message for us – to inspire the team prior to the start of BDC2023 and he obliged. It was great seeing him again and the team really appreciated it. Thank you!! What a way to kick off our Bourne Developer Conference!

With the welcome message done, the first session was to provide Tricks for Mastering CAP (Cloud Application Programming), SAPUI5, React and iOS. Part of this was covering Typescript: Enhance Your Code Quality and Dev Experience with TypeScript on CAP.

We covered the differences between Javascript and Typescript and the main benefits – including enhancing Developer productivity:

  • Provides features like interfaces, classes, and modules
  • Makes it easier to organize and structure code
  • Provides better tooling support, including code editors with improved code completion and error highlighting
  • Improves productivity

Before lunch we had a fun session for the entire Development team titled iOS for Beginners: How to get started building iOS Apps. Because let’s face it – everyone wants to develop cool native apps. Most of the team could participate either with their Mac’s or iPads using this resource.

The team got stuck into a well deserved lunch break and the conversations were excellent. Reflecting on the morning sessions plus also connecting with their team mates – which great to see.

After lunch we started with a session titled Mastering the Art of Writing Effective Tests and was all about Testing as the concept and also provided hands on sessions around test suite development for CAP, SAPUI5, React and iOS. We talked about some of the applications that could be used to perform these tasks as well (e.g. Postman). The theory covered what a good test looked like and also what a bad test looked like . Overall a really good session and the whole team benefited.

The next session was a SAP BTP session. This was a session to get all developers up to speed with SAP BTP including:

  • navigating the cockpit
  • the different build packs that are available
  • securing applications
  • application deployments

We finished off with an advanced topic – of rolling back an application and looking at the use of Blue-Green deployments. This is a seriously cool topic that everyone enjoyed.

We then jumped in to a session on Business Rules. Business rules by far is one of my favourite SAP BTP services and I still believe it is not used enough when designing solutions on SAP BTP. I have used Business Rules for years and in every application I architect due to allowing applications to have ultimate flexibility and business logic that Business users can maintain. In the Business rules session Amin and I covered the various different use cases – that is – when can Business rules be used and for what scenarios. This summary slide from {BDC: 2023} details these scenarios.

Another key topic that we always work hard on in our customer projects involves application performance. Developers always need to be mindful of performance when designing and developing solutions – especially when large data sets are involved. So with this in mind we had the next session – Rev Up Your Application Performance: Advanced Techniques to Optimise Speed. We used multiple resources for this – one of them being this one ‘How I got a 100% Lighthouse score with my React app’

Looking back at the key objectives of the Bourne Developer conference I did want developers to go back to their customer projects and to take their learnings into their development day to day activities. So I plan to measure in a few weeks time how many developers were using Lighthouse as a way of identifying potential performance issues in applications that were being built. Why not take the free helping hand!!

OK…the conference was now getting to the end of the line. But one major part that I did want to include was a Keynote. When I thought of having a keynote there was only 1 person I had in mind to deliver it. My good mate DJ Adams. DJ is such an inspiring figure in the Developer community and given his UK timezone I thought it was a great way to end the conference and to inspire our developers for the year ahead. So I asked DJ and he said Yes. Weehoo! So my good friend DJ had the last session of the day – the {BDC: 2023} keynote – called “If I can do it…anyone can” and was so inspiring. DJ talked for about 20 minutes on:

Cultivating Curiosity

  • Learning First Principles (Fundamentals)
  • Reading – Importance of consuming vast amounts of information
  • The team really enjoyed this session and the chance to hear from DJ’s experiences.

When I dreamt up the BDC 2023 conference late last year I never thought it would be as good as it was – especially given it was our first year of running it. The success of course is not due to luck – it is because we have an amazing team that pitches together to help each other out to make the event great! Some more photos from the event.

Employee Feedback

“We should spread out the sessions a bit more. Maybe book 2 days so that the hand-on sessions can be a bit easier for new-comers to follow. A break in between sessions would be good too for refreshing and getting into fresh topics.”

— Bourne Digital Employee

“It was an amazing experience. It was absolutely great to learn from experts and interact with everyone. Very good to learn or start learning journey in a new area! Keynote by DJ was icing on cake , it gave insights into his mind and thought process to all of us which can be very inspirational given his work in SAP world. Cant wait for next BDC! Thank you Phil and everyone for organising it, we all appreciate it a lot!!”

— Bourne Digital Employee