Before we dive into the story though, let us send a BIG THANKS to Czech
Googlers! Those guys are awesome – putting together such a great and overall
perfect conference with just two people is unbelievable. We still don’t
understand how Martina and Filip managed to do this. And yes, we have to say
this: GDD 2010 was legen…wait for it…dary!
This year’s GDD was the third one in Prague and also the third one for us.
The first year we had a big presentation about Android, and the second year we
had a couple of presentations and helped with some organizational aspects. This
year we worked with our friends at Google on even more entertaining things for
Everything started for us a couple of months ago – brainstorming about
possible content, interesting guests, and about what Czech developers really
care about. We thought about supporting program, interesting and cool things to
put into relax room… and so on. A lot of thinking, lots of great ideas, and
lots of excitement. But it’s a long way to go from having just an idea to
it’s realisation. At the end of all brainstorms, we had reduced all ideas to
a few we were able to deliver on time and in perfect quality: mobile conference
app with integrated QR Hunters game, twitter-wall, Android devices showcase and
of course our presentations.
Audience at Google Developer Day 2010 opening keynote.
Mobile conference app
Mobile conference app (also called mobile navigator) is a tool that can be
used by every attendee during the whole of a conference – it allows one not
only to review the agenda and read about speakers or sessions, but also to build
a personalized schedule, follow the news throughout the day or send feedback
after each session. Because we’ve decided to implement this tool as a heavily
optimized mobile website (more about the technical side of it in some of the
following articles), it was available to all attendees independently of a phone.
Our app was optimized for all kinds of Android phones, iPhones and iPads, big
desktop browsers like Firefox or Chrome, and even old phones without good
However, this wasn’t all. We integrated one more nice feature, the 2nd
edition of our QR Hunters game. Attendees were able to collect awards in the
form of QR codes throughout the day. As rewards for great technical question,
correct answers, or for just having a nice chat with one of the presenters.
Codes were valued based on a different number of points and the only thing one
had to do was add these points to his/her game account by scanning it via any QR
reader app in the phone. Simple and effective. Actually, exactly 839 QR codes
were scanned at the end of a whole day!
Lots of work but definitely worth it! Watching attendees actively using the
app during the entire conference convinced us that our decisions were right! It
was a great, warm feeling. By the way, if you’d like to have the same
conference app – which is well tested and worked perfectly for an event with
1,200 attendees – let us
Twitter-wall (with Foursquare twist)
Twitter-wall was another fun item we really wanted for “our” conference.
To help us with the implementation of the wall, we called our friends at AppSatori who worked on the code, while we
focused on other apps and the UI of the wall. We had seen twitter-wall at a few
conferences in the past, but we wanted to make it right, unlike some other guys.
What did we need for it?
1) To have a huge screen (we had an enormous projecting screen)
2) A visually appealing and well readable UI
3) Something more than just a wall of text
The first two points are clear, but what about the third? Well, together with
the guys from AppSatori and unofficial Czech Foursquare evangelist Eliska, we come up with great idea,
“foursquare wall”! Why not show not only tweets, but also 4sq checkins?
The result was great – people were using twitter the whole day like crazy
(of course not only because of our wall, but we believe it had a great
influence). More than 1,200 tweets went across that huge screen, which lead to
lot of conversations, fun and even an attempt at a reality hack :) Success!
Android devices showcase was a whole different challenge. Actually, most of
the work was done with friends from our partner portal SvetAndroida.cz (or “the World of
Android” in English – the biggest Czech Android portal). Fortunately, we
were able to “practice” for this one. We had a very similar (but smaller)
showcase on Google Day, a business conference a few weeks before GDD.
Showcase of Android devices.
Getting through 30 Android devices from all types of different manufacturers
is much more difficult than one would expect – it’s not only about
convincing these guys to lend us devices, but we also had to borrow special
security stands for all phones, prepare information about every device, and
finally, put all the pieces together before the event (and find the right box
for each device afterwards, which was even more challenging :). But the result
was more than worth all the phone-calls, e-mails and sleepless nights. Interest
in our Android corner was enormous! Everyone wanted to see the large scale of
different Android devices offered almost exactly 2 years after releasing the
very first T-Mobile G1 phone.
Tech talks and a big Keynote
And finally, a few words about the presentations we prepared for GDD
2010. The plan was to do 2 guest talks this year – Michal about AppEngine,
and Pavel about Android – two very important platforms we use for writing
scalable mobile apps at Inmite. But, plans are meant to be changed – and that
is exactly what happened just a few days before the conference.
Michal talking at opening keynote.
Pavel’s co-speaker changed at the last minute – instead of speaking
together with Reto Meier (his friend from past GDD’s and Google I/O events),
he had a session with Justin Mattson, another Android guru from Google. No big
deal for these guys, all of them are skilled speakers with a lot of experience.
The only downside was Pavel’s sleepless night preparing perfect slides. He
made it, and was able to give an enthusiastic talk even though he had slept just
45 minutes that night. Our CTO is a crazy guy :)
BTW if you missed Android talks on GDD or would like to see even more,
check out the Android conference we are preparing together with Martin for Spring 2011: Android Devcamp .
An even bigger change was waiting for Michal. Instead of having a technical
talk about AppEngine with AE guru Fred Sauer, he agreed to do something much
bigger – a keynote talk! Preparing for such a huge keynote was an excellent
experience. When looking at it from the outside you don’t realize the many
things that have to be sorted out before a live performance. Rehearsals started
a day before GDD at the Google offices. Michal threw away old slides and created
brand new ones with huge images instead of huge blocks of text; fine-tuned
slides with Eric Tholome (Google Products Director and the main keynote
speaker); did a dry-run of the presentation and had only reached the half-way
point! The night before the event there was a big rehearsal on stage in the
conference center (to test sound, microphones, etc.), and one more rehearsal
early in the morning on the day of the event to also test the cameras, lights
and fine-tune the last technical details.
As we said, there is surprisingly a lot of preparation that goes into this
but it’s definitely worth it – you don’t want to flub in front of
1,200 people watching your every move! The keynote went smoothly, everyone knew
when and where to be, how to operate the microphones and clickers, and what to
say. And what was even better? The feedback we received from excited attendees.
This year’s GDD was a lifetime worth of experience for us at Inmite. After
the many conferences we’ve attended in the past we thought we had seen
everything, but this one was very special for us. It was exactly the same place
where we had our first big conference experience two years ago and where we met
most of our Google friends, at GDD 2008, which took place in exactly the same
conference center (but was half the size of this year’s event). Lots of great
Google Developer Day is a very important event for Inmite. Who knows where we
would have been if we weren’t lucky enough to meet the right people at this
event 2 years ago? We are really thankful for this awesome opportunity and
we’re looking forward to GDD 2011 already – see you there!
All speakers and organizers of GDD 2010.
[Nice pictures were taken from official photogallery
of GDD 2010 ]