GopherCon 2014

I spoke at Gophercon last week in Denver, and it was one of the best conferences I’ve attended. I can’t remember learning so much and meeting so many great people in years. I have page after page of notes in my notebook, many of which I’ve yet to follow up on. The conference prompted a burst of learning and a flurry of creativity for me, as well as a huge list of things to study further.


In no particular order, here are some of the many highlights for me:

  • Meeting some of the Go team. Most of the people I’ve been interacting with or following online were there, although I didn’t get to meet all of them in person.
  • Meeting many of the super-smart people whose code, blogs, and emails have taught me so much over the last couple of years.
  • Learning a lot about Go’s internals and design. For example, although it seems obvious in hindsight, I had never really thought about the select statement as the heart of Go’s concurrency model – but it is. Everything else in Go seems to get the attention (channels, goroutines, etc), and is copied in various languages, but select is really the crowning jewels and is unique as far as I know.
  • The talks. I haven’t listened to talks so intently for many years. I was able to attend all but two. Fortunately those were recorded and will be online soon. The speakers were so good that I truthfully started to get an insecurity complex about my own presentation. I could just list all of the talks, and I don’t want to pick favorites, but if you must watch only a couple – watch Rob Pike, Andrew Gerrand, John Graham, Kelsey Hightower, Ben Johnson, Peter Bourgon, Alan Shreve, Richard Crowley, oh dear that’s more than a few. If you use or are curious about Go, you must watch the first two. The slides are good to read, but you are missing 80% of the talk if that’s all you make time for.

I was going to write a pretty long retrospective about Gophercon, but another amazing Gopher already did that (update: another one). I encourage you to read it, as it will give you a good sense of the conference and Go, and how they fit together.

I’ll leave you with some pithy quotes that summarize the depth of the content and quality of the hallway track at this conference:

  • “I will now boot this virtual machine from my slideshow.” - Kelsey Hightower. Note: this is not a joke; he PXE-booted the box using a server program that was running from his slideshow, which was written in Go and ran a Go PXE server. A few minutes later he booted another virtual machine from the first machine that booted from his slideshow.
  • “It’s turtles all the way down and Handler all the way up.” - Richard Crowley, on building HTTP API services by composition using the net/http libraries.
  • “Interfaces separate data from behavior. Classes conflate the two.” - Andrew Gerrand, on the difference between programming with composition versus inheritance.
  • “Go is profoundly different.” - Rob Pike, addressing the common misconception that Go is little more than an elegant version of C
  • “Go has generics. They are called interfaces.” - Rob Pike, not speaking in jest
  • “The only decison no one has second-guessed is writing this in Go.” - Josh Bleecher Snyder

Finally, if you would like to write Go professionally, VividCortex is hiring!

I'm Baron Schwartz, the founder and CEO of VividCortex. I am the author of High Performance MySQL and lots of open-source software for performance analysis, monitoring, and system administration. I contribute to various database communities such as Oracle, PostgreSQL, Redis and MongoDB. More about me.