DDD Europe is the world’s leading Domain-Driven Design conference, held every year at the end of January or early February in Theater ‘De Meervaart’ in Amsterdam, Netherlands. This year marked the 5th edition of the conference. The main conference is 2 days and was held in the first week of February. However, this is not the only thing the event has to offer. Last year they had a DDD Foundations pre-conference day. Apparently, this was such a success, that this year they did it again and added a second double-packed pre-conference day where you could learn all about Event Sourcing

I can really recommend these sub-conference tracks. If you are new to DDD or just want to check your knowledge about the fundamentals, you’d be spending your money well on attending the DDD Foundations day. If it’s anything like last year, then after that day you know what DDD is about, the basic principles. You’ll have enough leads to explore it more (take notes, lots of notes!). Because both pre-conference days where on the same day, you can’t experience them both. As I attended the DDD Foundation last year, I choose to attend the Event Sourcing pre-conference this year.

I’ve heard so much about that topic. From believers as well as disbelievers. Curious as I am, I wanted to know more and explore the topic. So, I was really looking forward to this day. Udi Dahan started the day with an insightful keynote. Some may know him from creating the NServiceBus product. He clearly explains what event sourcing is and what it isn’t. After the keynote, each presentation slot contained 2 sessions. It’s nice to have choices. If you’re curious about the topics and speakers of that day, you can still view it here. Talks were a mix of shared experiences and useful insights on topics like patterns, logging, consistency and projections. I’m glad I attended this day. I learned a lot.

The following day, the main conference started and the venue was packed! I will not go into the sessions. I think they are al great in their own right and are subjective to your own personal interest. Most (if not all) sessions will eventually be published on their YouTube Channel (but be patient, it might take a few months). You can watch them and judge for yourself. I’d like to write more about the conference itself. About what I think makes this conference unique and worth going to.

First I’d like to mention the diversity of the audience. At every international conference you meet people with difference cultural background, but what makes DDD Europe so unique in my experience is that the people come from all kinds of professional backgrounds. Developers, analyst, designers, architects and then some. At the conference the culture is was open and friendly. This was also supported by the introduction of The Pack-Man Rule during the opening by Mathias Verraes. In a conversation and want to model something out loud? No problem. At various places in the venue they placed white boards, to allow ad hoc collaboration, so there’s always a white board close by. The food and drinks during the breaks are very well arranged. It all made the event feel very sociable.

Just like last year Hands-on Labs were a big part of the conference and they are very valuable. They allowed you to get guided experiences with various DDD related practices. Modeling, knowledge crunching, architecture, programming, it was so diverse. These labs are not recorded, so I wanted to make sure I attended some of them. They are always very popular, and space was limited. Last year the organization used a lottery like approach for attendees. This year you could selected only one workshop and space was on a first come first serve basis. If you had a spot reserved, you were guaranteed that spot. During the breaks it was displayed which workshops still had spaces left (in contrary to last year when you could only see the attendee list at the room entrances). I found this to be an improvement compared to last year. Collaboration is key in most labs. It is a great way to meet people, share insights and perspectives and improve your soft skills.

During the breaks a central display showed which workshops still had space left (in contrary to last year when you could only see the attendee list at the room entrances). This was a big improvement compared to last year. Collaboration is key during most labs, what makes it a great opportunity to meet people, share insights and perspectives and improve your soft skills.

All in all, the experience was great. DDD Europe is an awesome chance to indulge yourself with everything DDD related and a great way to make new contacts and friends and gain valuable resources.

I also learned that I need a bigger bookshelf again soon…

DDD Europe 2021 will be happening during the week of February 1-5, again in Amsterdam. Blind Bird tickets for the main conference on February 4-5 are already available.

I hope to see you there!