It has been 6 months since I joined Gofore and I can easily say I enjoy working here a lot. I am really thankful and happy to be part of my company.
I decided to move to Finland from India with my family after considering the facts like Finland having one of the best education systems in the world, and great work-life balance.
And all of this started when Gofore, an IT company in Finland decided to give me an opportunity even though my technical skills don’t align with their needs at the moment. Gofore recognized my interest and ability to learn new things.
With the courage to face the unknown, I travelled to Finland on March 8th 2018 and Finland greeted me with great white snow all around which was the first experience of snow for me. Even though I have travelled to the US and Japan before, I have never seen snow like this, which was overwhelming for me and I enjoyed it a lot.
The next day, I decided to visit the office just to figure my route since I didn’t want to get lost on my joining day which was a couple of days later. Without much hassle, I was able to find my office and then half mindedly decided to go inside and say Hi.
To my surprise, I saw many smiling faces which were eager to welcome me to the company and asked me to join them in a cooking event which they were going to have within a couple of minutes. I gladly joined them with no idea of what was going to happen.
It was the best night of my life, where I cooked with my future colleagues and had great conversations with many of them. And then it was like a normal thing to have many ‘best nights’ and days with great colleagues with whom I enjoyed working and having fun at after work parties.
Gofore amazed me in many ways, the great culture, awesome skilled people, happy smiling faces, the helping mentality of my colleagues, events, parties, yoga, football, company breakfast, summer party, foosball, Finnish lessons by colleagues, wine tasting, people persons, and a whole lot more benefits you could have as an employee and you are treated as an equal no matter which part of the world you are from.
And never before I had an experience where I was asked whether I would like to have a salary appraisal discussion even before completing 6 months. Its one of the two values of Gofore. Gofore is the best workplace for the employee.
I have had a really great experience druing my time at Gofore so far and I decided to create a small video about the company and how the work-life culture is here since I want to share this really good culture and wellbeing with everyone. This brings happiness to me and many others.
I came to Gofore with an experience of 6 years of IT and from 3 different multinational companies. But I would gladly tell to anyone I meet, that my career journey and my life started here at Gofore.

Shamnad Shaji

I am a web developer with a programming experience of 6+ years and have worked more on backend development using java. Recently started looking at various UI technologies and would like to work more on Front end development. Reactys would be good start for me and would like to learn some python too. Morever I'm open to study any new technologies and I am a quick learner and I like some Japanese too. I love learning new languages ​​including tech and speaking languages.

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We all know how important it is to take breaks during the workday. It makes us more productive and increases our focus and what-not…
So why is it then, that even though we know it is better to take short breaks every now and then (preferably every 30 mins or so), we still prefer working for long periods of time and only take the break when our brain finally stops co-operating or our neck hurt so much it’s impossible to sit on the bench any more?
There are probably lots of personal reasons behind this, but let me try to tackle at least some of the most common ones.

You feel too busy to take breaks

This is probably the most common reason for not taking breaks frequently enough. You have a task at hand that you are supposed to get done before noon, and you realise you’re going to have to hurry to accomplish it in time. So taking a break would feel like slacking or a waste of time.
I also admit dismissing my breaks because of this. It is so easy to reason with yourself and skip the break. But let me assure you, even though you feel that way, the opposite is true. Even taking a short 5-minute break enhances your brain activity and gives a boost to your blood circulation, which makes you way more productive for the time you’re working after the break.
Besides that, your brain actually doesn’t stop working while you’re taking the break. Even if you don’t consciously think about your problem at hand, your unconscious mind is working on it full time.
You probably have experienced those moments, when you absolutely have to take a break (eg. to go to the toilet) and while taking the break, you finally figure out the solution for the problem you’ve been trying to solve for the past 2 hours.

You don’t want to lose focus and concentration

What could be more frustrating than being interrupted while working on a focus-demanding task? Especially when the task requires you to hold a lot of small pieces of information together in your head.
Interruptions coming from outside in this kind of situations are bad indeed. After being interrupted this way it might take you up to 30 minutes to get back on track.
You might fear the same holds true for taking voluntary breaks. But you shouldn’t. Actually, there is a distinctive difference between involuntary interruption and a voluntary break.
The biggest difference is the timing. As the research suggests, the brain can keep focused attention only in intervals from 20 to 45 minutes, after which the concentration starts to drastically diminish. So you want to take a break only after the attention span threshold, not during it as would be the case with outside interruptions.
Another distinction is continuity. When voluntarily taking a break, you have time to make a mental (or even written) note on where you’re at. This way it’s easy for you to come back to the thought and continue from there later. When you get interrupted, you probably can’t do that.
But now, the scientific studies have shown that taking breaks from a task can dramatically improve one’s ability to focus on the said task in the long run. In one study led by professor Dr. Alejandro Lleras from the University of Illinois, it was found that short diversions from the task at hand vastly improves focus. Here’s what Dr. Lleras said about the results:

“From a practical standpoint, our research suggests that, when faced with long tasks (such as studying before a final exam or doing your taxes), it is best to impose brief breaks on yourself. Brief mental breaks will actually help you stay focused on your task!”

You’re in a good flow and don’t want to break it (pun intended)

Everyone knows how good it feels to be “in the flow”. Time flies and you are so immersed in your work that you can’t even hear or see what else is happening around you.
It might be really hard to snap out of the flow to take a break, as you don’t even notice the time passing. Probably you don’t even want to since being in the flow feels so good.
But even though flow feels good, it doesn’t counteract the fact that your productivity diminishes over time. Despite being in the flow, your brain still needs a break every now and then to remain focused on the task at hand.

You feel guilty for not sitting constantly at your desk

In many cultures, taking a break is seen as being lazy and avoiding work. Even though you know it would be better to take a break, you still might have this nagging feeling of guilt when you do.
This one might be tricky to fight back by simply reasoning the benefits of taking breaks since it’s about how you think people see you as a person. If this is the case, probably it might be best to broach the subject with colleagues and see what they think.
If you can collectively agree taking breaks is for the best, then at least you would know your colleagues are not thinking you are lazy or avoiding work when taking breaks.

What can you do about it?

Now that you probably have gained a bit of motivation to start taking more breaks during your day, you might want some ideas on how to do it.
Here’s a couple of office hacks for you to increase the number of breaks you are taking at work. Try them out and see if one of them works for you. But don’t take this too seriously. In the end, the outcome should be that you enjoy your work more and have some fun in the process.

Office hack #1

Make it a habit to drink a lot of water during the day, and you’ll have a natural forcing factor to go and take a break every now and then.
How to achieve it? Here’s one way…

  1. Drink at least 2 or 3 full glasses of water (on top of the coffee you might drink) in the morning before leaving for work.
  2. If you did the first step correctly, you should feel the urge to take a break within the first hour at work.
  3. Whenever you visit the toilet during the day, make it a habit to drink one glass of water on your way back to your workstation.

Office hack #2

Make distractions your best friend.
You know the moment when you feel tempted to check your email, Facebook or look at your phone to see if you’ve got a message or two? That’s the moment when your brain starts to loosen up and it becomes hard to concentrate. As I mentioned earlier, it is perfectly normal for this to happen after being focused for a 20 to 45 minute period.
When that happens, let that be an indicator for you to take a break from the work you’re doing and see what happens. I bet you’ll be way more focused on your task after a short break.
So, whenever you get distracted, it’s probably the best time to take a break.

Pomodoro

As a bonus reminder, if none of the previous hacks works for you, there’s always the good old and proven Pomodoro technique.
There are lots of good resources available on the internet about the Pomodoro Technique, so I’m not going to explain it in detail here, but the idea, in a nutshell, is that you work in 25-minute uninterrupted cycles and keep 5-minute breaks in between. After 4 cycles you’ll keep a longer break (20 to 30 minutes).
So that’s it for now. I hope you can incorporate something from this advice into your daily routines.
Here at Gofore taking breaks, having a good time and playing with your workmates during the day is a big part of the company culture. Everyone is encouraged to take breaks every now and then.

Lauri Laine

Lauri is a full-stack developer who tries to balance his time and energy between work, family and his hobbies. Most of his professional career, he has built software for the Web. Along with all the programming, he has done some DevOps, launched Internet marketing campaigns and worked as a Scrum Master and Coached Kanban.

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Summer beach
I just returned from my extended summer holidays – eight and half weeks of combined parental leave and vacation. What made it special is that I took the work-life -balance to heart and did nothing work related during that time.
This means:

  • no skimming through emails
  • no reading the intranet “just in case”
  • no keeping in touch with projects
  • and no discussing work-related stuff with peers

Why?

I decided to push my younger one’s daycare a few weeks into the future, and stay the whole summer at home taking care of my kids. I’m a bit of a workaholic and easily distracted, so I didn’t want my work to suck up the time that I was supposed to use on my offspring.
The task of “not working” would not have been easy for me had I not prepared for it.

A graceful exit

I started taking a note of the stuff that was dependant on me a few weeks before the holidays. I then arranged for someone else to handle anything that would need to be sorted during my absence (mostly managerial stuff like billing). I also finished the tasks I was working on and checked that the project teams I worked in knew who to contact if they needed help. Generally, I just told people that if something was burning and there was no one qualified to put the fire out to contact me by phone (no one did).

Limiting access

On the last day before leaving for my holidays I used a password generator to create a new password for Active Directory and Slack with completely random letters/numbers and I pressed enter. I could not access my laptop, my mail, slack, intranet, nothing, and that was good as I had no intention to during the next 8 or so weeks. The passwords could be reset in the office premises when required (lesson learned here: on a Mac this is not as easy a process as I thought).

Socializing

I did not aim to isolate myself from my co-workers; I did it to remove unnecessary distractions so I could spend quality time with my kids. I did attend our summer party (Gibiza!) and even spent half an evening at our Gofore Helsinki penthouse when I was having a boys night out in the area. At those events, everyone was courteous enough to not discuss work-related issues with a vacationer, and not so surprisingly, there was still a lot to talk about.

Requirements

Personally, I think that the act of actually having a holiday on your holiday is the best thing since sliced bread. But it’s not for everyone. Even if you would like to keep your distance from work, it might not be possible. The reason I was able to enjoy my holidays in peace was not because I threatened people that I would be a total dick if disturbed, but because of the strength of our organisation. Goforeans, in general, are really eager to help and as competencies overlap there is always someone else to turn to. This meant that I could relax knowing that no project or customer would have been left in distress as there would be someone who would step in and help.
breaking free

Tero Vepsäläinen

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Gonference

Gonference 2018 logo

On Ascension day earlier this year, we held the first internal conference event at Gofore in Tampere, Finland. Traditionally in Finland Ascension Day has been a public holiday but this year it was a ‘normal working day’ at Gofore. We decided that this former public holiday would be perfect for an event where colleagues could share their expertise in a safe and relaxing environment. The event was called ‘Gonference’ and we had two teams: the organising and the technical team. The organising team’s main responsibility was to plan what kind of conference to hold. The technical team’s main responsibility was to plan what audio and video equipment would be used at the event.
In January, Jarno Virtanen and some others were gathering people together to organise our first internal conference at Gofore. We wanted to gather our colleagues together in the same place to share experiences and ideas because sharing knowledge over project boundaries is very important in a company like Gofore.

The recruitment post in Slack

Brainstorming

During spring we had a few organising team meet-ups and we called on our colleagues for speakers for the event – finally, we made the decision that the Gonference would be 4 hours long and contain three different tracks: DevDevOps and Design&Leadership. The technical team brainstormed setups for each track and chose Bright Finland Oy as the supplier for some of the audio and video equipment. We also decided that all technical equipment would be installed one day before Gonference so we would have time to get stuff set up and any sort out any problems.
So decisions about the nature of the event, the place and the equipment required were made. Before the Gonference, the track hosts matched speakers with their presentations and other organisers were producing posters and carrying out other general tasks while the technical team gathered more people as helping hands. The technical team also held learning sessions with volunteers who wanted to learn how the live streaming works.

Second detailed training session about streaming audio and video

The Gonference day

On the Gonference day, we had a very positive atmosphere and everyone was aiming for the same goal – having a great learning event. In the morning organisers were checking that the tracks had all equipment and seats were in place. The event started at 12:50 with an overview of the day’s ambitious schedule. We also arranged two longer breaks during the day where we had some refreshments for all attendees.
In the Dev-track the speeches contained talks about Jakarta EE, microservice architecture, Rust, etc. The DevOps-track topics were about serverless infrastructure, Netflix OSS microservices stack, secure design, designing high-performance applications, etc. And the Design&Leadership-track contained topics like Design Sprints, technology with culture, designing against the norms, etc. Overall we had 18 presentations in our 4-hour conference.
On the next day, we started to collect feedback from the audience and we got positive comments and many ideas about how we could do it differently next year. The organisers also held a retrospective where we collected feedback from an organisers point of view.
the show

The first speech in Dev-track at Gonference

Last thoughts

The Gonference was a great learning session for all of us. From an organisers’ point of view, it was a huge success as the first big event in Gofore. This was a first time for many of us. For some speakers, it was the first time on the stage and they performed superbly! For some of the organisers, it was also the first time that they had organised this kind of event, but everyone was full of enthusiasm! The organising and technical teams were awesome and the event went off with high quality and professionalism. All of the teams showed huge enthusiasm and willpower to make this a successful event. We especially want to thank Bright Finland Oy for renting us audio and video equipment and they also gave great support to us!
We wanted to keep this conference as a private event as we were all were learning new things. The most important reason was that we wanted to offer a safe learning environment where everyone can participate without any judgement. However, we are now looking at possibly sharing some of the Gonference talks on our Youtube channel so check it out.
This was our first internal conference at Gofore and we managed to raise the bar high for the next event. At Gofore anyone can organise an internal or a public event if they want to and following the success of Gonference we anticipate many more events in the future.

Gonference Organisers

Jarkko Koistinaho

Jarkko works as a technical project manager at Gofore and he is a quality and testing oriented professional in the software industry. Depending on the situation, he could be a software engineer or a Scrum Master in addition to being a software tester. Jarkko can also do some DevOps-tasks. Model-based testing and performance testing are his special skills.

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Kalmar is a Global company providing cargo handling solutions and services to ports, terminals, distribution centres and heavy industry. Cargo handling and the container handling process is getting more and more automated. Looking at container terminal yards such as Hamburg or Rotterdam, it is clear that the automation of certain processes has already started.
The Gofore team consisting of Jonna Iljin, Joel Bergström and Christopher Klose participated in the Kalmar CoCreate workshop at the Terminal Operations Conference Europe in June 2018. During this conference within just 2 days, a new service idea was created. In this blog post, I will talk about what happened during this trip, what we did on the conference itself and what steps we have taken to reach our goal. This will give you a brief outlook on how you can enrich the creation of new services and how to look beyond the “obvious”.
The so-called Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV’s) are just one example of automated machinery which is already getting tasks via navigation computers. AGV’s coordinate routes to ensure that vehicles don´t collide with each other on the yard. These AGV´s are driving within a predetermined zone which is fenced and restricted for humans to enter. This means that as long as a human doesn´t enter the designated zone, the container handling process will continue smoothly. However, as soon as a human enters the fenced area all machinery has to stop to ensure safety. This raises the safety level for maintenance workers if they have to work on a vehicle that has broken down, but nevertheless, accidents do happen and then the whole process has to stop.

KALMAR CoCreate

The Gofore team were given the task to find solutions using the title, “how to create secure working environments for people in the fully automated terminal yard”. Kalmar wanted to generate ideas and find solutions.
We were able to discuss and learn about the differences between manually operated and automated container terminals from container terminal managers, from our Kamar mentors, and from other stakeholders in the container supply chain. We also learnt about deep-sea terminals and how they differ to short-sea terminals in terms of their processes, security and safety measures.

Arrival in Rotterdam and Team Dinner at Restaurant Thoms

This was the first time for me in the Netherlands and it was clear right from the beginning that Rotterdam is different to other cities I have visited. The city centre of Rotterdam has an unusual architecture which draws attention to it and you start wondering if people actually live in these buildings. Also unexpected to me were the cyclists. I mean, the Netherlands and the Dutch are known for cycling a lot, but having separate cycle roads alongside ‘normal roads’ is something which you don´t see too often in other countries. But even more fascinating to me was that no cyclist was wearing a helmet, which made me think “is it safer to wear a helmet or to build separate cycle roads?”
In the evening we had our first official meeting at Thoms, a restaurant close to the city centre of Rotterdam. There we first met the organizers from Kalmar, the other two teams participating in the Co-Creation, and our mentors from Kalmar who supported us during these days. Our mentors also helped with many insights and helped us find people who could give us more information from different perspectives. Mingling with all these people and getting an idea of what Co-Creation means to Kalmar, it was clear that we were all excited about the end results which would be presented on Wednesday to the TOC audience.
After getting to know each other during the aperitif, we continued with a long and copious dinner. Salad, carpaccio and muscles came as starters and it already felt as if this would be the main dish, but we continued with wonderful tasting steak and gilthead. It tasted amazing. While eating we were able to share many stories and have discussions about stereotypes from different countries and if they are true or not. It already felt as if had been acquainted for more than just an evening and it got pretty late. But all evenings have to end at some point, so we got a Dutch dessert called ‘warme brood pudding’ and had some rest before the real work started.

Beginning the journey

At 9 o´clock we had the first meeting of the day at the Co-Creation booth to go through upcoming events and the time we would have for ideating and preparing our pitch.
We even got amazing hoodies for the event! After that, we were able to prepare our material and get ready to dig into a new area which we haven´t known before.
Gofore Crew

But how did we start in this unknown area? 

We knew we didn´t have much time so it was important to understand the whole container handling process quickly. Therefore we interviewed our mentors, terminal managers and other visitors to TOC Europe in the morning. We soaked up all the information and wrote as much as possible down on post-it notes.
Interviewing mentors and terminal managers on process flow
 
I need to say this – it was a mess! So many insights, so many new terms and so many risks. After several hours of questioning and trying to understand what was happening, we needed a break. By now it was time for lunch, and breaks are always good if you have something to eat.
After lunch, it was time to structure all our information. We summarised our insights and with these insights written down, we were able to find bottlenecks and map these to the container handling process.
In the afternoon we had to start ideating what kind of approaches would be reasonable? What might be the right way? Which constraints would we face?
To not drift too far away with our ideas and visions, we constantly explained our ideas to our mentors and to terminal managers. This helped us to narrow down the options and look into the near future rather than a period 50 years from now.
After rushing through the day, the finishing time came quicker than expected and with it the feeling that a break to settle down all our thoughts was necessary.
We spent a relaxing evening in Rotterdam collecting our thoughts and running through our ideas, we knew that the next day would be tough!

Decision Day

Continuing where we ended the day before, final tweaks were made to our presentation in the morning and final interviews and discussions were completed to ensure our idea was correct. We prepared our pitch and started to align our speeches to form one cohesive proposal, and I have to say, Deadpool would have been proud of the growing hand in our speech.
Jonna speaking
Even though we only had a couple of minutes per team for our pitch, it was a nice experience and seeing so many people interested in our outcome gave us even more certainty that this was a great success. Many visitors and Kalmar members attended the final pitch and appeared to be deeply interested in our ideas.
To conclude the Co-Creation session, we were invited by Kalmar to their TOC after-party which was a blast. A great location, fantastic food and music and many more people who we were able to discuss our ideas and relax with.
Joel and Christopher, afterparty with drink
There is only one thing left to say, a big thank you to all the Kalmar people who made this possible. It was an amazing experience, even though exhausting. Seeing so many people interested in thinking outside the box made it clear that there is still a lot of work to do. We are excited at the prospect of taking our ideas forward and helping shape the future with Kalmar – stay tuned for more blog posts!
Additionally, we have to say thanks to the great photography team who made not only beautiful pictures but also made a great video as well. Have a look here: TOC video
Kalmar Co-Create

Christopher Klose

Driven by innovation and curiosity, Christopher strives to simplify daily work and reduce stress for users through smart solutions. Based on insights from user research and data analysis, he creates user-centred products and services that best suit the end user needs. His experience with human behaviour and the physiology of the human body supports his endeavour to create valuable and enjoyable solutions for users.

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The React Finland 2018 conference was held a couple of weeks ago and I had the opportunity to attend and listen what’s hot in the React world. The conference started with workshops which were followed by two days of talks of React, React Native, React VR and all things that go with developing web applications with them. The two conference days were packed with great talks and new information. Here’s a recap of the talks I found especially interesting and some of my notes which I posted to Twitter. If you need more views on the conference, one of the organisers did a post on the blog coverage.

React Finland 2018

React Finland combined the Finnish React community with an international flavour from Jani Eväkallio to Ken Wheeler and other leading talent from the community. The event was the first of its kind in Finland and consisted of a workshop day and two days of talks around the topic. It was nice that the event was a single track so you didn’t need to choose between interesting talks.
At work, I’ve been developing with React for a couple of years and have tried my hand with React Native so the topics were familiar. The conference provided some crafty new knowledge to learn from and maybe even put into production. Overall the conference was a great experience and everything went smoothly. Nice work from the React Finland conference team! And of course thanks to Gofore https://gofore.com/ who sponsored the conference and got me a ticket.

The New Best Practices — Jani Eväkallio

The first day’s keynote was by Jani Eväkallio who talked about “The New Best Practices”. As the talk description said, “When React was first introduced, it was ridiculed for going against established web development best practices as we knew them. Five years later, React is the gold standard for how we create user interfaces. Along the way, we’ve discovered a new set of tools, design patterns and programming techniques.”
The new best practices were:

  • Build big things from small things
  • Write code for humans first: flow, Typescript, storybook
  • Stay close to the language:
    • helps i.a. linters
  • Always prefer simplicity
  • Don’t break things:
    • Facebook makes React API changes easy to upgrade, depreciation well in advance, migration, documentation. it’s a flow, not versions. Use codemod.
  • Keep an open mind

You may ask “what new best practices”? Yep, that’s the thing. We don’t need new best practices as concepts like Model-View-Controller and separation of concerns are still valid. We should use best practices which have been proven as they also work nicely with the React philosophy. Eväkallio also talked about why React will be around for a long time. It’s because components and interoperable components are an innovation primitive.

Immer: Immutability made easy — Michel Weststrate

Immutable data structures are a good thing and Michel Weststrate showed Immer, which is a tiny package that allows you to work with immutable data structures with unprecedented ease. Managing the state of the React app is a huge deal with Redux and any help is welcome. “Immer doesn’t require learning new data structures or updated APIs, but instead creates a temporary shadow tree which can be modified using the standard JavaScript APIs. The shadow tree will be used to generate your next immutable state tree.”
The talk showed how to write reducers in a much more readable way, with half the code and without requiring additional large libraries. The talk slides are available online.

Styled Components, SSR, and Theming — Kasia Jastrzębska

Web applications need to be styled and Kasia Jastrzębska talked about CSS-in-JS with styled-components by going through the new API, performance improvements, server-side rendering with Next.js. She also showed the theming manager available with v2 of styled-components. The slides are available online.
The main takeaway from this talk was that CSS in React app can be written as you always have or by using CSS-in-JS solutions .There are several benefits of using styled-components but I’m still thinking how styles get scattered all over components.

Universal React Apps Using Next.js — Sia Karamalegos

53% of mobile site visits are abandoned if pages take longer than 3 seconds to load. – DoubleClick by Google, 2016

Every user’s hardware is different and processing speed can hinder user experience on client-side rendered React applications and so Sia Karamalegos talked about how server-side rendering and code-splitting can drastically improve user experience. By minimising the work that the client has to do. Performance and shipping your code matters. The talk showed how to easily build universal React apps using the Next.js framework and walked through the concepts and code examples. Talk slides are available online.
There are lots of old (mobile) devices which benefit from Server Side Rendering. Next.js is a minimalistic framework for universal, server-rendered (or statically pre-rendered) React applications which enables faster page loads. Pages are server-rendered by default for the initial load, you can enable prefetching future routes and there’s automatic code splitting. It’s also customisable so you can use your own Babel and Webpack configurations and customise the server API with e.g. Express. And if you don’t want to use a server Next.js can also build static web apps that you can then host on Github pages or AWS S3.

Make linting great again! — Andrey Okonetchnikov

One thing in software development which always gets developers arguing over stupid things is code formatting and linting. Andrey Okonetchnikov talked about how “with a wrong workflow linting can really be a pain and will slow you and your team down but with a proper setup it can save you hours of manual work reformatting the code and reducing the code-review overhead.”
The talk was a quick introduction how ?? lint-staged a node.js library can improve developer experience. A small tool coupled with tools that analyse and improve the code like ESLint, Stylelint, Prettier and Jest can make a big difference.

How React changed everything — Ken Wheeler

The second day started with a keynote by Ken Wheeler. He examined how React changed the front end landscape as we know it and started with nice time travel to the 90s with i.a. Flash, JavaScript and AngularJS. Most importantly the talk took a look at the core idea of React, and why it transcends language or rendering target and posit on what that means going forward. And last we heard about what React async: suspense and time slicing.

“Best part of React is the community”

Reactive State Machines and Statecharts — David Khourshid

David Khourshid’s talk about state machines and statecharts was interesting. Functional + reactive approach to state machines can make it much easier to understand, visualize, implement and automatically create tests for complex user interfaces and flows. Model the code and automatically generate exhaustive tests for every possible permutation of the code. Things mentioned: React automata, xstate. Slides are available online.

“Model once, implement anywhere” – David Khourshid

The talk was surprisingly interesting especially for use cases as anything to make testing better is good. This might be something to look into.

ReactVR — Shay Keinan

After theory-heavy presentations we got into more visual stuff: React VR. Shay Keinan presented the core concepts behind VR, showed different demonstrations, and how to get started with React VR and how to add new features from the Three.js library. React VR: Three.js + React Native = 360 and VR content. On the VR device side it was mentioned that Oculus Go, HTC Vive Focus are the big step to Virtual Reality.

“Virtual Reality’s possibilities are endless. Compares to lucid dreaming.” – Shay Keinan

WebVR enables web developers to create frictionless, immersive experiences and we got to see Solar demo and Three VR demo which were lit ?.

World Class experience with React Native — Michał Chudziak

I’ve experimented with React Native so Michał Chudziak’s talk about how to set up a friendly React Native development environment with the best DX, spot bugs in early stage and deliver continuous builds to QA. Again Redux was dropped in favour of apollo-link-state.

Work close to your team – Napoleon Hill

What makes a good Developer eXperience?

  • stability
  • function
  • clarity
  • easiness

GraphQL was mentioned to be the holy grail of frontend development and perfect with React Native. Tools for better developer experience: Haul, CircleCI, Fastlane, ESLint, Flow, Jest, Danger, Detox. Other tips were i.a to use native IDEs (XCode, Android Studio) as it helps debugging. XCode Instruments helps debug performance (check iTunes for video) and there’s also Android Profiler.

React Native Ignite — Gant Laborde

80% of mobile app development is the same old song which can be but short Ignite CLI. Using Ignite, you can jump in to React Native development with a popular combination of technologies OR brew your own. Gant Laborde talked about the new Bowser version which makes things even better with Storybook, Typescript, Solidarity, mobx-state-tree and lint-staged. Slides can be found online.

After party

Summary

Two days full of talks about React, React Native, React VR and all the things that go with developing web applications with them was a great experience. The days were packed with great talks and new information and everything went smoothly. The conference was well organised, food was good and the participants got soft hoodies to go with the Allas Sea Pool ticket. The talks were all great but especially “World Class experience with React Native” and “React Native Ignite” gave me new inspiration to write some apps. Also “ReactVR” seemed interesting although I think Augmented Reality will be bigger thing than Virtual Reality. It was nice to hear from “The New Best Practices” talk that there really are no new best practices as the old ones still work. Just use them!
Something to try and even to take into production will be Immer, styled components and Next.js. One thing which is easy to implement is to start using lint-staged although we are linting all the things already.
One of the conference organizers and speaker, Juho Vepsäläinen, wrote Lessons Learned from the conference and many of the points he mentioned are to the point. The food was nice but “there wasn’t anything substantial for the afternoon break”. There wasn’t anything to eat after lunch but luckily I had my own snacks. Vepsäläinen also mentions that “there was sometimes too much time between the presentations” but I think the longer breaks between some presentations were nice for having a quick stroll outside and have some fresh air. The venue was quite warm but the air wasn’t so good in the afternoon. The Afterparty at Sea Life Helsinki was an interesting choice and it worked nicely although there weren’t so many people there. The aquarium was a fishy experience and also provided some other content other than refreshments. Too bad I didn’t have time to go and check the Allas Sea Pool for which we got a free ticket. Maybe next time.
Thanks to the conference crew for such a great event and of course to my fellow Goforeans who also attended and had a great time!

This article was compiled from the published on Rule of Tech of the event on day 1 and day 2 articles. Rule of Tech is author’s personal blog about technology and software development.

Marko Wallin

Marko works as a full stack software engineer and creates better world through digitalization. He writes technology and software development related blog and developes open source applications e.g. for mobile phones. He also likes mountain biking.

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Imagine it’s 4 in the morning and you’ve already been working for about 28 hours, short naps here and there. Your teammate approaches you and asks, “Shouldn’t we all get some proper sleep?”. You consider, after all you feel deadly tired, but when you look at the clock that sudden injection of adrenaline makes you awake again, there are only 8 hours left to deliver the project!
That’s how I felt on the second night of this Hackathon. If you’ve never been to a Hackathon, it’s an event at which you only have two days to create a whole new product/service/business from scratch and you’re expected to have at least a working prototype at the end.
Said to be the largest Hackathon in Europe, Junction had the confidence to invade Asia and set up an event in the heart of the land of the rising sun, Tokyo, Japan! And I was there, at Junction Tokyo!

How did that happen?

That’s the kind of great and unique experience that can happen when you work at Leadin! When I saw the possibility of going to Tokyo and being part of this massive tech Hackathon, I imagined how cool it would also be for Leadin to have someone in Japan for a couple of days, participating in something big, making interesting contacts, and bringing back some fresh knowledge to the team. Guess what? The guys at the top also loved the idea and sponsored me! Yay!
This edition of Junction had three tracks: Sustainable Development, by iamtheCODEDMM, and SaharaSparks; Logistics and Storage, by Terrada; and Robotics, by SoftBank. Also IBM had a special challenge that could be combined with any of the tracks, with IBM’s Cloud Platform, Bluemix.
In a multidisciplinary team, along with two Japanese and three Thai, I embarked on a combination of the Robotics track and the Bluemix challenge, and we worked with Pepper, the super friendly SoftBank’s humanoid robot.

picture credit: Junction Tokyo

Changing the way people work

With the original challenge of “how can we change the way people work?” we have created an office buddy. Pepper would be responsible for arranging people’s schedules, propose different times for appointments, and be a friendly buddy to create a more relaxed and fun environment in the workplace.
At the end of the two days, the main working functionality we created with Pepper was the ability to book meetings with a voice command, say for example “Pepper, I’d like to have a meeting with Jake and Jane, on May 5 from 10 to 11”.
Under the hood, the voice would be recorded by Pepper and sent to IBM Watson’s Speech to Text API, to be turned into a text, processed in a series of scripts run in the Bluemix cloud with Node-RED, and turned into an HTTP request to the backend, which would finally send a message via Socket.io to the user interface to update the schedule in real time. Phew! I really couldn’t imagine we would achieve all of this in such a short time.

Coffee, energy drinks and pizza

Some more technicalities in case you are interested (sorry, I’m an Engineer, I can’t help), SoftBank’s Choregraphe was used to create nice interactions and answers from Pepper (like quoting Star Trek while the whole processing was happening), both the backend in Python and the frontend in ReactJS were hosted under different domains at Bluemix, and the frontend had an automated process to build and deploy as soon as a new commit was detected in GitHub. A kind of Frankenstein of technologies, but with such a short time everyone ended up using something that is more familiar, and then we figured out a way to integrate everything in the end.

picture credit: Junction Tokyo

In short, plenty of coffee, energy drinks, pizza, back pain, sleeping on a beanbag, going for a walk under the Sun or in the middle of the night to get some fresh air and stretch, a surprise yoga session in the morning (I don’t remember which morning anymore), learning a couple of words in Japanese, meeting and working with great people, programming a robot, and a lot more! I just don’t have enough words to describe how amazing this opportunity was.
Thanks to Leadin I had a blast in Japan! ?
This post was written by Fabiano who attended the Junction hackathon in Tokyo in April 2017 Picture credits: Junction Tokyo http://tokyo.hackjunction.com/

Gofore <3 Leadin

Gofore and Leadin announced their plans to merge in 5/2017

Fabiano Brito

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The new wave of design and development companies are basically all about culture. Their whole identity, what they are and want to be, is based on shared values, norms and the way of viewing the world. Not only do these companies involve people in all of their decision-making, they also create and renew their vision through social interaction. The culture is construed and renewed in social encounters through language, Denken ist Sprechen. This also applies to micro cultures such as work communities.

But how do companies manage, when pressure comes to change the language?

Out of ‘local’ and into ‘international’

Leadin was still an infant company when we agreed our strategy to become an internationally significant UX agency. We were only about 10 people in the small town of Tampere, Finland, but many of us had our professional background in global companies. We saw that the business for high-end UX services in Finland was going to be limited, and we were not the only ones out there. So we would be better off looking at the bigger markets outside our national borders. The collaboration with our international clients had given us very positive indications that we have something unique to offer. We were hungry to get ourselves out of exclusively ‘local’ and into ‘international’.

First, we started a more active collaboration with the non-Finnish branches of the international client companies we already had. Then we got our first “real” foreign client through the traditional way (you know someone who introduces you to someone else who realises that you are offering something valuable, and off you go), then we got the second, then the third. It started to make sense to set up our first office outside of Finland, close to the client. Once our UK office was established we soon started to find ways to utilise our multisite presence as an asset that adds value to our clients in all locations. For example, as we now have offices in Finland, the UK and Germany, we can repeat a user study in three countries and three languages without hiring an external research agency to support us. All of a sudden we realised that we actually, REALLY had become an international company.

A common company language

Today Leadin operates in four countries. Our staff represent about ten nationalities from Brazil to China and from Denmark to the USA. We speak almost ten different languages, but English is the one that’s common to all.

At a certain point, companies have to ask themselves which one is more important: The culture built on communication in the local language or the opportunities provided by international clients and more diverse markets. Being inclusive to international employees, clients and partners requires you to be able to communicate with them fluently in a language they feel familiar with. You don’t set up a site abroad without an explicit or implicit take on how to deal with the language. But how would foreign employees and language affect the company culture? Turning all speech and writing into a non-native language challenges the very fundaments of the company and community.

Respect people and listen

So what would be the impact? Could we survive? That question can sound intimidating, but the answer is revealing: If everyone’s on board, changing the language actually does not weaken the culture, it strengthens it. You’re going to be well off simply by being faithful to the values you already have. Respect people, listen to them, give them the power to find their own way.

For Leadin this happened somewhat naturally. Getting the first non-Finnish employee on board was, and was not a big change. It was a big change because we had to wipe away the rust from our English small talk skills. It was not a big change because we had already practised our English skills with some of our clients and in other contexts. Everyone in Finland speaks ‘ok’ English, even those who think they don’t. What has become evident, however, is that the pros of adopting English as our company language have exceeded the cons by a million times!

It’s all positive!

Here are just some of the advantages: We are more alluring than other companies for non-native employees in our country, who may be for example university graduates with huge potential, but no access to the local job market because of the language handicap. We can offer international careers to our team. If someone doesn’t want to relocate, we can offer them natural situations to practice their language skills in their current location. This builds self-confidence for social situations. We can all learn from different cultures, and expand our understanding of the world around us. And business-wise: We are more capable of understanding clients and partners from different cultures, and we understand how to do business with them.

I am often asked the question about how foreign employees and language has affected our company culture. My answer: It’s all positive! Cultural diversity opens viewpoints and opportunities you wouldn’t even have thought about, without taking anything away from what you already had. The change is easier than you would think, but it won’t happen without a bit of effort from all involved.

This post was written by Topi who helps inspire #LeadinCrew to make people’s lives better through everything we do regardless of their culture or native language.

Gofore <3 Leadin

Gofore and Leadin announced their plans to merge in 5/2017

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My day as a Goforean

Ever since the first generation of GoPros came out, I’ve really liked the new and innovative angles you can use to film with them. I like the feeling of being in the film myself, especially in the fast-paced action stuff, like Downhill Mountainbiking. Really cool.
I’ve had an idea lurking at the back of my head for some time now, about filming “a day at the office”, to offer a peek on what a day in my life could look like. When I spotted a discussion about vlogging of “My day as a Goforean” in Slack, I immediately volunteered.
I carried a GoPro with me for one day, on one of our Office Thursdays (Toimistotorstai) and tried to capture some of the things that are usually included during such a day. And while others were hacking away with the newest and coolest techs at our annual Hackathon, I hacked together an edit of the material. A few annoyances and bugs in the end-product, but I guess you can call it a MVP.
I tried to keep the film short, as we know that the typical attention span of a person of the internet age is about 2 minutes. Not quite as fast-paced as Rachel Athertons world-cup winning run, but very close. Put your headphones or speakers on and press play:

Lauri Kuittinen

Lauri is a System Specialist at Gofore, working mostly with DevOps- and automation-related tasks. Word on the street is, that he has been involved with actual Software Development as well. In his free time, he can usually be found at a climbing gym or outside trying to get on top of a boulder.

Linkedin profile

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“Exhale as you step your feet apart and turn your foot 90 degrees and reach up for the sky,” this is something you might hear at the Leadin UK office.

We all know exercising is good for us, but often it’s side-lined by excuses of being too busy. In fact, it’s statically proven that people who exercise regularly have more energy. Doing team exercises is one of the initiatives from our team in the UK to enhance the office environment. Nowadays one might find us doing yoga poses, or simple stretches or even doing a plank to the song Roxanne.

Exercising in an office environment is well-known in countries such as Japan. The concept derives from Samurai warriors, whose two skills were of utmost importance; swordsmanship and calligraphy. These skills were to be mastered over a long time and one would not work well without the other. If one stopped training, one would rapidly lose one’s skill.

Now we may not be perfecting our swordsmanship, but exercising is known to train the brain to be more flexible and boosts creativity. Even though it may only take around 5 minutes of exercise at the office, it strengthens the team building and motivates productivity. Our exercising is also contagious – one day last week a senior member of one of our International clients decided to join in – I bet he never thought he would be doing a plank before his meeting! It’s noticeable that the office has become even more of an open environment that promotes communication. Another benefit is that we learn about new exercises as well, as we take turns to lead the exercises.

It’s often the simple things such as this that can make the biggest impact in a workplace. Team building can come in many forms, but when you think of it, it really just takes some creativity and a team willing to participate.

We continually look for more things to improve the work culture. Occasionally we even hold themed luncheons where we bring in food to share after our exercises of course. 😉

You can check out some of our exercises photos on our social channels: facebook and twitter.

Gofore <3 Leadin

Gofore and Leadin announced their plans to merge in 5/2017

Karman Wong

Having worked in multiple countries, Karman who is originally from Denmark, is now a principal designer (and exerciser) based in our Swansea office.

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