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try! Swift Presentation Report

Hello everyone, my name is Inami (@inamiy) and I’m an iOS software engineer at LINE.

A Swift developer conference titled “try! Swift” was recently held in Shibuya, Tokyo from March 2 to March 4. LINE was a gold sponsor of the event, which was a gathering of over 500 people (30% of which were from overseas). There were many female presenters in the event as well, making it one of the most diverse gathering of developers I’ve ever seen; the likes of which I haven’t seen in any Swift/iOS study group! I was offered a chance to present at the event about “Parser Combinator in Swift”, a functional programming method.
Presentation slides
Live tweets during the event

Me speaking in front of the audience

If you read any of the reviews in this collection of try! Swift reviews, retrospectives (Japanese), you can see that this event could be summed up as: Result.SuperSuccess(event). Many participants have already talked about each session on blog posts of their own so I would like to focus on my personal experience, talking about what the event did well, and lessons I have learned.

Skilled presenters from around the globe

Simply put, I experienced what I can only call “culture shock,” but only in a positive light. The level of expression in the slides, the tone of their voices, rapport with the audience, and humor among other things (PokémonDragon Ball) all came together in presentations that could grab the attention of the audience. The presentations resulted in much more than just showing off some technical details on slides.

What especially surprised me was how the presenters used body language. Daniel H. Steinberg (@dimsumthinking) for example, used large and charismatic gestures that seemed to make his voice heard even in the seats farthest from the podium. J.P. Simard (@simjp) and Adam Bell (@b3ll) had large booming voices with on-stage presences that could match that of Mark Zuckerberg. Finally, Chris Eidhof (@chriseidhof) showed us a 30-minute live coding session while calmly speaking in a clear and easy-to-understand voice. Each of the presenters added personality to their presentations, making them a joy to listen to.

The importance of interaction at dinner parties

The 2 blog posts written by Katsumi Kishikawa (@k_katsumi) (the host of the try! Swift conference), uploaded before the conference, had a much deeper meaning in retrospect.
How to enjoy try! Swift 2016 200% more – 24/7 twenty-four seven
Dinner party English speaking protocol – 24/7 twenty-four seven

I say that because while you can check the slides used in the presentation or archived articles whenever you want, you only have one chance to mingle and interact with other people. Speaking with industry people from overseas isn’t something that happens every day; especially with people (speakers and participants alike) that are this talented. I felt that the main point of enjoying the event was how much you could see this as an opportunity to interact with others.

In that regard, the speech given by Yuta Koshizawa (@koher) on the last day of the conference encouraging everyone to interact and enjoy the global exchange spoke volumes. (Natasha Murashev (@natashatherobot), the host of the event, commented that it was “the most beautiful speech”.) The sight of some Japanese engineers happily exclaiming that it was their first time speaking with overseas presenters left a lasting impression on me.

(I acted as an English and Japanese interpreter during the event, and helping people interact with each other beyond the linguistic and cultural barriers made me realize the joy of interpretation.)

Well prepared with a solid lineup

Thanks to the efforts made by event hosts Natasha and Kishikawa and all the staff, we were able to have an amazing audience, superb presenters, and an excellent venue (CyberAgent Inc. offices). Everything went perfectly. Six months in the making, we planned the event using email and Slack to regularly communicate with the presenters (teaching them about Japanese culture and tourist attractions on the side). Planning and invitations for the dinner party, and facilitating the event itself also went very well. So amazed by how she did everything so efficiently, I had to ask Natasha if she had done this kind of work before. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that this was in fact her first time working as a facilitator. I’d like to thank all the hosts and staff again. We couldn’t have done it without you all.

For an even better “try! Swift 2017”

I can’t help but look forward to “try! Swift 2017” now that Swift for Linux server-side will be available by the end of the year. I wouldn’t have been this excited if apple/swift had not become open-source.

The benefits of open-source go beyond the boundaries of the “Swift community.” Open-source projects are one of the greatest tools you can use to promote yourself. The reason I was able to make a presentation at try! Swift was because I was approached after one of my personal open-source projects caught someone’s interest.

I expect many more Swift developers would want to participate in next year’s “try! Swift.” How much you improve yourself until next year’s event will be crucial, as there will be more people than ever before wanting to be part of the event. I hope you all succeed in making a name for yourself with open-source projects and giving back to the community.

This year’s results have already been posted on try! Swift Why not try creating an open-source project of your own that could rival these? With that, I hope next year’s “try! Swift” is an even better one than this year’s!

Thank you all for listening to my presentation!