Crossjoin Attending Innovation

By July 3, 2019Articles, Crossjoin
by André Simões, João Abreu, Tiago Alcobia / AMS Team 

Crossjoin AMS has been actively participating in several tech events with the primary goal of learning and sharing knowledge while having the opportunity to network with like-minded developers, tell them a little bit about our work and discuss product development.

ABOUT AMS TEAM

The Application Managed Services (AMS) team is a development branch at Crossjoin that started with the development of our own 100% in-house bred product: X-Viewer. Today it also responds to any client’s development needs through a cost-effective nearshore/offshore model that allows our customers to quickly scale up their development teams offering turn-key solutions, developing tailored made applications, perform architecture and roadmap evaluations, provide UI/UX consulting and respond to training needs. Find out more at https://www.crossjoin.pt/services/development/

LANDING FESTIVAL 2019

The festival included the main hall where companies had their stands and two stages where presentations were made on several topics. The event lasts for 2 days and even includes a Boat party. Of course, the festival was heavily focused on the current tech trends, Javascript/Web development, Artificial Intelligence, how companies are implementing Agile/DevOps to scale teams and how the contracting/remote working trend seems to be growing.
Cloud native, IoT ready and microservices compliant solutions are mandatory nowadays if the product’s goal is to be attractive to the audience. Who does still remember about SOA architecture? 🙂 Thankfully the blockchain and Big Data term were not thrown around too much this year as it’s applicability seems to have found the right niche.

Here are the key takeaways from the presentations we attended:

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning are being used in very productive ways, for example: EDP is using it to figure out, together with LIDAR technology, how vegetation will grow/expand around their Utility pole and transforms around the country and how they are predicting electric consumption throughout the year in each region where they are present;
  • Competent chatbots that can offset some of the common questions customers have when using a product. It’s the natural evolution of FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) and can save call centers a lot of calls if the right semantics/NLP (Natural Language Processing) algorithms are used;
  • Although web frameworks have become popular recently, we got accustomed to having lots of bandwidth and modern devices available in first world countries that can handle the processing of these heavy frameworks;
  • Accessibility is also something that is often forgotten when designing web applications/sites. Developers should always evaluate the power of HTML5 and simple CSS and avoid bloated Javascript frameworks that don’t ship accessibility out of the box;
  • Another related talk also discussed emotional design which is the concept of designing beyond a usable, reliable and functional site. A product should be enjoyable and convenient and there are several tips on how to make it so. For example, gamification simple gestures such as changing the way a user is asked to perform a task, surprising the user with constant novelty features and using humour can go a long way towards user loyalty;
  • Pipedrive (CRM/sales pipeline management platform) explained their experience in implementing the concepts of tribes as part of their agile methodology. Tribes, together with squads, chapters and guilds are a way to organize people in an agile organization to produce different benefits.
    Once a week, everybody in the office gathers around to watch presentation pitches that can be made by anyone on implementing a certain feature (a mission). The aim of this pitch is to recruit developers and form a small multidisciplinary team and develop a feature in a short time period (1-3 months). This allows to rotate and grow people, share knowledge and drive innovation;
  • We also had the chance to learn more about several alternatives we could adopt in our own products, for instance, MobX for managing state as an alternative to Redux and how to adopt React Native to build hybrid mobile applications with a team already experienced with React;

Obviously, the festival is also about having fun and also interacting with companies, learning what they are building and sharing some feedback.
The way companies increase engagement is by running competitions for prizes so, of course, we had to participate and break some records along the way either in Virtual Reality, Lego speed building and even claiming the title in code battles.

REQUIRE(‘LX’) MEETUPS

Meetups are online groups that host in-person events for people with similar interests. Each event is composed of tech presentations and at the end there is a chance to network with other members. Since we are heavily using Node and Javascript in our product, the Require(‘lx’) group seemed one of the most relevant to participate in.

It’s been great being able to validate many of our internal decisions for X-Viewer’s technological stack, not only adopting React functional programming, but also choosing GraphQL for our services API and ObjectionJS for defining models to be used together with Knex in the backend. On the other hand, we are following the best development practices that are currently being adopted and taking all the necessary steps in moving towards an AI-powered product. Overall, these meetups help attendees stay up to date with what’s trending in Javascript development and, so far, the experience has been very positive.

WHAT’S NEXT?

Crossjoin has upcoming planned participation on:
Oracle Users Group Portugal, Amazon AWS Innovation 2019 and Neo4J GraphConnect 2019 among other meetups and hackathons…
We will continue to actively invest in our team’s training and keep up with the state of the art technologies and the latest trends in development to use it for our clients’ advantage. See you around\!

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