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Ask HN: What are the best developer conferences in 2016?
129 points by jakemor on Jan 3, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 65 comments
What are everyone's favorite conferences to attend?

I had a blast at WWDC15, although its the first conference I've been to so I don't have much to compare to. The talks were very informative and I'm an iOS nerd so I was in heaven :)

How is F8? Google I/O? Any other lesser known ones?

I try to find people whose talks I enjoyed in the past and check their speaking schedule on lanyrd. I then cross reference that with cities I'd like to visit, topics that will get me passionate, and other good quality speakers. I find since I've been doing this, my joy vs exhaustion ratio of conferencegoing has risen dramaticaly

Lanyrd seems like a great resource. Bookmarked !

Here's a gathering that nobody has mentioned: Porcupine Festival in New Hampshire. It's not a "developer conference" per se, but there are very solid tech talks there. It probably has a more dense schedule of events than a typical tech conference, but it has a lot of material that might be considered "off topic" at a tech conference, such as political theory, practical tips for living freely (gardening, handing police encounters, etc), and, of course, a giant bonfire.

There are also really wonderful tech talks, and this has pretty much become the focus of the event. In addition to dev talks - which range in topic from crypto to mesh networking to solar power monitoring - there's also material on 3D printing, drones, beer brewing automation, high-tech gunsmithing, and radio communication.

There's also a beer exchange cum key-signing party which has become a hillariously awesome tradition.

It's great fun and a great place to learn things you didn't know you wanted to learn.

Other than Porcupine Festival, I'll also echo other people's suggestion to attend PyCon. It's more of a cultural event than a dev conference per se, but it's a really great gathering. And being in Portland, it's surely going to be quite a party.

Sry about hijacking the thread, but tbh, I don't have fun in any niche-tech stack conference (e.g., Scala conference, PyCon, generic startup competition hackathon), does anyone have recommendations for the most subversive tech conferences?

e.g., DEFCON, Chaos Communication Congress, HOPE or Demoparties from the DemoScene or BioHacking conferences?

CCC for sure. There is no other conference like it.

I concur. 30C3 to 32C3 were immense learning experiences, videos from the conferences can be found on youtube.

DEFCON,and CCC are the best imo

LambdaConf in Boulder was fantastic last year. Covers all manner of functional programming topics. 3 days in late May.


Missed it last year and looks like I'll be missing it this year again. Bummer. I've only heard great things.

Gratuitous plug, but I've been maintaining a haphazard list of conferences at my Indie Conference [1] site. It focuses on bootstrapped / indie developers & digital nomad types, but there's lots of developer conferences listed there.

If you're an iOS nerd, you might like these conferences:

Yosemite (March, USA): http://cocoaconf.com/yosemite/

NSNorth (April, Canada): http://nsnorth.ca

UIKonf (May, Germany): http://www.uikonf.com

360iDev (August, USA): http://360idev.com

iOS Dev UK (September, Wales): http://www.iosdevuk.com

Release Notes (September, USA): http://releasenotes.tv/conference/

Cocoa Love (October, USA): http://cocoalove.org

[1] http://www.indieconference.com/

BSDCan (http://www.bsdcan.org/) is always good, and incredibly cheap compared to most technical conferences.

I've been to tons of conferences over the years but the recent vBSDcon was the first BSD-centric conference I've attended. I've watched a number of videos of talks from past BSDCan conferences and I am very strongly considering attending in 2016.

There are quite a few North American BSD conferences now (BSDCan, NYCBSDCon, MeetBSD, vBSDcon) but BSDCan has been around for the longest and is the largest of them -- last year we had 40 main talks, plus 6 BoFs, 5 short public talks from the FreeBSD vendor summit, and 4 tutorials. vBSDCon had somewhere around a dozen talks in total, I think.

Also, Ottawa is a great place to visit in June. I wouldn't want to visit in the winter, but the May/June weather is very pleasant.

We run a small-ish (~300 people) un-conference every year in Vancouver, BC that has been going strong for the past 4 years. If you are looking for something a little more spontaneous and less polished where you can really engage with the software community and something that isn't centered around a particular language, framework or company then it is worth a look. Also it is inexpensive, thanks in part to being an un-conference and in larger part to great sponsors.


The 2016 conference details will be announced shortly in the new year.

Have to give it up for Webstock (http://www.webstock.org.nz/16/) and Beyond Tellerrand (http://beyondtellerrand.com), which are more towards the design/culture of tech side but consistently great.

If you like Python, PyCon is always a blast. This year it's going to be in Portland.

Also, SciPy 2016 is scheduled for July 11-17 (same location [as 2015], AT&T conference center, Austin)

Austin, TX, July 6-11, 2015

The site is down at the moment though: https://twitter.com/dpinte/status/663650024191037441

Not as much an actual language/dev conference, but I'm excited to go to Microconf, billed as "The Conference for Self Funded Startups."


Last year's React-Europe was one of the better conferences I attended (save for bad climatisation, which I hear is not a problem for this year). It's also fairly small for how interesting it is; highly recommended.


[DebConf16](http://debconf16.debconf.org/) but that is for Debian geeks and general FLOSS hackers :)

Academic conferences in a relevant field can be very interesting, and are often much cheaper than industry events. (You'll need to find some practical-enough conferences, and you'll need to somehow pick up the required vocabulary and concepts.)

Speaking for my own field, Real-World Cryptography should be mostly understandable (and entertaining) to a programmer and enthousiast cryptographer. (CHES and EUROCRYPT are also very interesting, but require a lot more background.)

(Also consider e.g. ACM, Usenix, and any local interest/user groups.)

ECOOP (European programming languages and systems conference) has a co-located industry/academic overlap conference called Curry On

It's in Rome in July

Another vote for Curry On. It has a strangeloop vibe.

The 2016 USENIX Annual Technical Conference

June 22-24, 2016 - Denver, CO


Celebrate the /joy/ of coding June 17th in Rotterdam, the Netherlands at:


If you live near by and want to do deliver a short talk or lead a workshop, have a look at the Call For Sessions.

Video from last year: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LI2yOM4tODw

Disclaimer: I'm co-organizing this event.

Conf looks interesting! I'm considering submitting to it. Please note the light-blue-on-white text of the speaker bios is unreadable to me. Perhaps this could be tweaked?

Thanks! Yes, we got the website out in a bit of a rush. I hope to find some time to fix that (and several other outstanding issues). Looking fwd to your submission!

If you're language agnostic when it comes to programming the "nordic" conferences are pretty damn awesome. Meaning:

GOTO conferences (Copenhagen, but also London, Berlin, Chicago and Amsterdam nowadays) - http://gotocon.com/ Recorded talks: https://www.youtube.com/user/GotoConferences

NDC (Originally Oslo, now also in London and "somewhere in Australia") - http://ndcoslo.com/, http://ndc-london.com/ Recorded talks: https://vimeo.com/ndcconferences

OreDev (Malmo, Sweden) - http://oredev.org/ Also has links to recorded talks

I've been to a few across the US and my favorites so far have both been in Colorado:

Develop Denver - https://developdenver.org/

Rocky Mountain Ruby - http://rockymtnruby.com/

AWS re:Invent is rad.

The sheer size of vendors and attendees is staggering. They keynotes are polished and generally reveal exciting things. The tech talks are numerous and sorted into 100, 200, 300 and 400 tracks based on how technical they are.

If you're building stuff on or for AWS you won't go home without learning something new.

Gonna disagree. AWS needs to learn to scale it's conference. It was literally dangerous, going up the escalators this year. And if you weren't there early, they'd run out of room. It was constantly cramped, and frankly, just a horrible experience.

The only reason to attend would be to speak with vendors. And if you want to do that, you can arrange that without spending a dime on re:Invent. Considering the cost of attending, and the fact that you can see all the talks afterwards for free anyways, it's not worth the price.

Even speaking with AWS experts was less than useful, as the individuals knew only the basics. Asking anything specific didn't get you any useful information.

Couple this was what amounts to an awful schedule on a website...

AWS re:Invent should be something everyone attends once, just so they know how not to organize or run a conference.

Yeah, this is the one I came here to post. re:Invent is a fantastic technical resource that's largely available after the fact, but (I am told, I'm going for the first time this year) the in-person stuff and the networking opportunities seem to be the biggest reason to go.

re:Invent is fun, but I find the sessions to be basically useless. Most of them are very superficial and don't give you much that you couldn't glean from a half hour looking a documentation. The most valuable thing is the conversations you have with other attendees and, in particular, Amazon engineers. Make sure you come with a list of specific questions you want answered.

One thing I've learned from my first 2 re:Invents...skip the provided breakfasts and lunches. They're terrible and I've gotten sick from them in both of the years that I've attended. The other options at the Venetian/Palazzo are well worth the extra cost.

2 UK options –

For front-end stuff: http://2016.render-conf.com/

For people who lead tech teams: http://2016.theleaddeveloper.com/

Disclosure: I help run them ;)

If you are into subversive, I don't think you'd find anyone who doesn't love Chaos Communication Congress (https://events.ccc.de).

I'm a regular at Linux.conf.au (Feb, Australia): http://linux.conf.au/

It is mostly Linux but a lot of other related stuff gets in.

It highly depends on what you want. If you want some general high quality overview of what happened over the year, I recommend GOTO or QCon. These are great events.

RailsConf 2016 in Kansas City, MO, USA http://railsconf.com/

Strange Loop[0] is the go to multi programming language paradigm in my opinion. It's held in St Louis, Missouri every year and features some of the very best speakers in the domain of programming language design, theory and computer science.

0 - http://www.thestrangeloop.com/

Monitorama, the open source monitoring tools conference. I have only attended the 2015 edition in Portland, but I had a great time.

Same here. Monitorama is excellent. 2015 is my first but I plan on going every year. Incredibly great talent. I felt like the most stupid person in the room and walked away with all sorts of brain hurting growth.

Is Signal a good, generic conference? I keep getting Twilio's emails about it but have never considered going as it seems about as interesting as a Google Maps API conference, ie: only focusing on using one company's very specific product family. That said, if you're doing anything telephony or messaging-related, it would be a good one for sure.

True. It's more centered around communications, but with Twilio expanding their product line recently (Video, IP Messaging, etc) I would think this is going to become more general. Last year it was a great conference and I'm sure it's just going to get better.

I'm a big fan of the ACCU conference. It's not too big, but packed with lots of good talks.


KCDC - June 22-24th in Kansas City, MO

I like to watch the talks on CPPCon on youtube (never attended it though); seems to be a very interesting conference.


AT&T Developer Summit & Hackathon 2016 is happening right now at Las Vegas, Nevada https://devsummit.att.com/

I haven't been to these, but I've been eyeing up http://gotocon.com/ recently

PolyConf maybe? http://polyconf.com/

I've heard very good reviews about previous editions.

uberconf was pretty sweet in 2015

Why has this been downvoted? I've heard great things about Strange Loop.

Why has this been downvoted? I've heard great things about Strange Loop.

Christmas dinner at the Programmer family's house has been tough this year. Logan was able to make the trip back home from San Fransisco, but is insistent on picking political fights with Grandpa. Mom and Dad keep asking everyone not to focus on politics for the day but Logan yells and calls them just as bad for trying to creating an environment where people with options Logan doesn't like can just sit there and eat ham.

Jake and I started day drinking before presents and are itching to slip away. Wanna go sledding down behind The Academy?

Because they discriminate based on political beliefs completely unrelated to the conference. For shame.

I really enjoyed strange loop this year

This is a great conference if you are okay with their insistence on no-platforming wrongthinkers.

Hopefully somebody will one day spin off a new weird/academic conference for those that can't stand to be in the same room as no-platformers.

what does "no-platforming wrongthinkers" mean?

It means that a software engineer with odious politics was not allowed to speak about a completely separate domain [0]. Presumably because of the worry that he might give a rousing speech.

[0] http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/bitwise/2015/06/cur...

Technology is obviously political. Anyone trying to ignore that has an agenda to maintain the status quo. There is no sense in pretending we're solving mindless puzzles in a vaccuum; we're out to "disrupt" the world.

I didn't consider it when I posted the link, but Strange Loop provides an unusual platform for technologists who actually do "think different". Many use their tech platform to reinforce racism in notoriously racist tech spaces. But some take scifi seriously and try to improve the world. That matters.

Here's the tech good ol' boy world, where you're supposed to passively accept casual racism in ranch houses: "It was really quite lovely. Later that day, in the jeep to the ranch house where everyone was staying, he started up with the casual racism, and everyone ignored him." (https://twitter.com/maradydd/status/606799534983770112)

I didn't say tech couldn't relate to politics, nor do I wish to hang out with racists.

I implied that not all people would care to waste their time in the company of no-platformers. Disinterest is a perfectly reasonable position to take when faced with the proposition of hanging out with people with wildly different political beliefs than yourself.

The idea that some people might dislike no platforming almost as much as they dislike racism shouldn't surprise you.

It's not safe to support organisations that choose whether to platform based on the whims of a mob or their leaders.

You're an entryist. I hope anyone reading your comment reads the rest of the thread to which you link. Much sanity is to be found.

Of course other conferences probably considering inviting him and then decided not to for the same reason. You only know about Strange Loop because it got further along the process.

Perhaps their ability to censor silently proves they're better run? I would have nothing to have an opinion of.

In fact I'm against the thing and not merely its signal but I can see that some censors are 'fitter'.

One incident does not make a trend.

I disagree with Alex Miller's decision about Curtis Yarvin, but as far as I can tell, this is the only controversial speaker related issue that he's made.

Have you actually been to Strangeloop? I have, and I'll go again because the quality of the speakers and attendees is top notch. They're aren't afraid to host some really esoteric stuff. Thus, it's a place to really learn some cool stuff.

I've met Alex at Strangeloop and he seems like a pretty humble and reasonable guy.

His role isn't an easy one, and I see no reason not to attend what has been a pretty excellent run of conferences because of one lapse of judgement by the founder.

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