The O’Reilly Software Architecture Conference 2019 (SACon) just wrapped up in New York City, and I was privileged enough to attend as a speaker with my friend and colleague, Tim, and partner and colleague, Mars. Together, we presented a session called Entity-Component-Systems and you: they’re not just for games anymore, and Tim and I did a book signing for our recent title Learning Swift (3rd edition), as well as a Meet the Experts session.I was initially quite sceptical of the SACon, because the idea of an event based on ‘software architecture’ conjured up images of very dry sessions on traditional, serious enterprise architecture, presented by uninspired, uninspiring people. As it turns out software architects, and those who attend software architecture conferences, are incredibly passionate, interesting people, who are the very opposite of the straight-laced faceless people I imagined.
SACon was a melting-pot of interesting ideas, framed around the discussion of software architecture as a profession. O’Reilly’s conferences are always polished, well, run and all that good stuff (disclaimer: as might be obvious, O’Reilly is my publisher), but the attendees and speakers are what makes any conference shine. This conference definitely shone.
All the sessions that I attended were excellent, but the highlights of the conference for me were definitely the following talks:
- Katerina Iliakopoulou’s talk on architecture of the New York Times recommender systems
- Vasanth Asokan’s talk on the architecture used to test in production at Netflix
- My friend r0ml’s talk, Technical Debt: a masterclass
- Seth Dobbs’ talk on leadership principles for architects
- The keynotes from Trisha Gee, Mark Richards (interviewed by Neal Ford), Stuart Halloway, and Glenn Vanderburg (go and check out the list of recommended wide-reading he posted after his. keynote, too!)
The ‘hallway track’ was also exceptional, and we had some fantastic conversations with attendees on topics ranging from the rise of the Rust programming language to the use of ECS in non-video games to the merits of the Swift programming language to designing video game engines, and beyond.
Tim and I really enjoyed our book signing, and found ourselves face-to-face with one of the biggest queues we’ve ever had for a book signing, and had some excellent conversations with developers, architects, and team leads who were excited to learn Swift from our book, or share it with their teams back home.
Our ECS talk went well! We had a packed room (which was also one of the most palatial conference halls we’ve ever spoken in!) and got 5-star reviews with great feedback.
If you’re interested, you’ll find the slides from our talk on ECS are available via the conference website. You can also find a video embedded below, or on YouTube, or O’Reilly’s Learning Platform. (if you have an O’Reilly Learning Platform subscription, we strongly recommend watching it there!)
There’s some follow-up resource we want to share with attendees of our talk. We hope you find them useful!
- Catherine West’s RustConf closing keynote on Rust for Game development
- Entity Systems are the future of MMOG development by Adam Martin
- ECS and DoD slides by Aras Pranckevičius (Unity)
- Data Oriented Design and C++ CPPCon talk by Mike Acton
- Machine Architecture: Things Your Programming Language Never Told You talk by Herb Sutter
- What Every Programmer Should Know About Memory paper by Urlich Drepper
- The amazing talk on Blizzard’s implementation of ECS in their popular game, Overwatch, from GDC 2017
I’m excited to return to a future SACon! The good news is there’s lots of them to choose from! San Jose is coming, as is Berlin!