Written by Bryson C.Y
Edited by Fajar Davis
Google I/O Extended KL (IOxKL) is an annual developer conference which is hosted by Google Developers Group Kuala Lumpur (GDGKL). This event is spread and echoed from the original I/O talk from Mountain View, California which took place earlier this year in May, to other programmers and Google Developers here in Malaysia. Google I/O showcases the latest technical with in-depth sessions focused on building Web, Mobile and other enterprise applications, a majority of which use Google’s free open sources that are available on the web.
This year, IOxKL was held at Sunway University on the 15 July 2018. Over 450 attendees and volunteers came to support and make this event possible. There were many partners that were involved in this event such as MoneyLion, Nettium, Nintex, Agmo, iFlix and Time. Other supporters such as Google, Sunway University, GDG KL and Sunway Tech Club played a significant part of this event that made it possible.
This event started early in the morning at 8am on a unique Sunday morning. The sun had already brightened up the sky and things were starting to get busy for the staff and volunteers. Before the registration counter opened, the hallway and corridors were packed full of attendees, volunteers, sponsors and other personnels in the area. There were booths at the front of both halls while breakfast was ready to be served at the gallery. As volunteers started guiding attendees to register and collect their tags and goodie bags, the crowd started to build up with people looking curiously at the sponsored booths, as well as looking at the event schedules and having their phone at hand for identifying their registration number. The atmosphere started to get noisy and busy as people were having their own conversations with friends. On the other hand, the hallway that I used to know was transformed into a real event atmosphere as if it were a hotel function room.
Once attendees had registered, they were allowed to proceed to the gallery for some quick breakfast or grab their free gifts and goody bags at a nearby lecture theatre. Around half an hour later, there were queues at every booth where people were interested in winning the lucky draw that had been installed. The lucky draw consisted of collecting 3 stickers from any booth and filling up a feedback form online to submit it later in the evening. The atmosphere was quite busy as there were many people walking around getting food, visiting booths and interacting with new friends as well as other community members. Indeed, time passed quickly for the attendees as they queued and collected the stickers before proceeding to the hall for the opening ceremony and the keynote for Google I/O. As they entered the hall, the colourful and contrasting seats blended with the walls and ceiling, together with the low light that made the hall look like a cinema. The first few rows of seats were reserved for VIPs and speakers of the event.
The opening of this show was phenomenal and exciting as we got to see what was installed for this year’s IOxKL event. The emcee started the opening with a few words and displayed some rules and guidelines of the event. Followed by an introduction to IOxKL website and app to show participants where to look for the schedules, speakers, questions, WiFi Password and other FAQ. After that, they invited Dr Elizabeth Lee to the stage to give a few words and opening statement. In her speech, Dr Elizabeth mentioned how technology is growing tremendously, how learning should be beyond textbooks and classrooms and instead, should be learned through talks, workshop and many other activities.
Soon after Dr Elizabeth ended her speech, the keynote speaker Bok Thye Yeow came to the stage to showcase and share the latest news and products of Google as of this year. Bok Thye Yeow is a Developer Relations and Ecosystem Program Manager of South East Asia at Google. He has more than a decade of experience developing full stack software solutions across various industries. His speech was clear and the talk was amusing at the same time. There were many new developments this year and it was surprising to see many familiar and new ones.
As soon as he ended his speech, we were asked to go to our preferred talks that were arranged and all the attendees split up to different halls of their choice. All halls had different speakers and topics that were introduced.
There were many talks about Android, Web and Coding (HTML, Python, Flutter, Firebase) for today. One of the talks was about “Building Fast, Scalable, Modern App with PWA Starter Kit”. This talk was presented by Vin Lim who is a Google Developer Expert in Web Technologies. He is also the co-founder and CEO of Green Room, a leading mobile and web application development company with a portfolio of major international and local brands. Attendees had to switch to another hall nearby if they wanted to listen to this talk. The atmosphere in this hall was brighter compared to the previous hall. Vin explained about the Progressive Web App (PWA) which is also a starter kit to help user experience that makes the website more smooth on both mobile and desktop. He also taught a little about web components (such as ‘h1’ which means ‘heading 1’ in HTML) and how to apply it with PWA. Besides that, PWA can be used in themes & styles used in website.
However time was running out as he elaborated further and we were given 10 minutes for a short Q&A session with the speaker either through the app / website or speaking directly to him. By using the app / website, attendees who were introverted could ask anonymously and the speaker would be able to provide answers to the question.
As the next slot moved on the schedule, Anthea Low who is a Data Scientist in Media Prima Digital, came to talk about “Google Analytics and Data Studio”. She focused on data visualization and analytics using a multitude of softwares, bridging the information and technological gap between the techies and business users.
During her talk, Anthea introduced us to the software that her company is using which was Google Analytics. It is used for Real-Time KPI (Performance Indicator) to find out whether website links that are posted on social media platforms, advertisements and campaign are working and to monitor trends and track where majority of the viewers click from and which part of her company strategies are working and effective. Web Analytics is a service used to track and report website traffic and is used by Anthea on a day to day basis. With this powerful and handy tool, she is able to print and show reports to her supervisor and plan other strategies that can be implemented in the future. Many attendees found it interesting as it can be used on any platform such as e-commerce, blogs, online articles, forums and many other online services.
The third session was hosted by Albert Padin who is a developer from the Philippines. He is a Google Developer Expert in Google Cloud Platform & Sprint Master. Besides that he is the co-founder and CTO of Symph, a design, development and startup studio. Unlike any other talks, his talk was very unique and interactive where he played energetic and motivating music to get his audience to stay awake and make it entertaining. He showed the audience about the very basic HTML and how it can be further developed and become more advance by adding other features on to the website. He would show us the steps and gave us handy tips to use to help us if anyone get stuck in the middle of coding. Along the way, he purposely added issues and described a solution to counterattack the problem. He also showed us how to link this to Google Cloud and what are the files stored in Google Cloud.
The next agenda was of the day was lunch to recharge our energy and take a rest from all the talks earlier in the morning. It felt like a relief to have a good hot meal after being in the air-conditioned hall for 3 hours. Immediately after lunch, attendees visited the booth for a quick game and challenge as well as trying to win merchandise and freebies. Not long later, attendees and speakers entered the halls and the next schedule talk begun.
Henry Lim was the speaker of “Modern Web: State of the Union”. Henry is turning 22 years old this year and is one of the youngest people to be a certified as a Google Developer Expert in Web Technologies. He is also a community organizer of GDGKL and was part of the planning team in this year’s IOxKL event. Henry is a big fan of Google’s cutting-edge technologies and he likes to educate everyone around him. In his talk, he shared news about the PWA and the advantage of using a PWA Application (For example, majority of today’s browser allow PWA as well as application such as Twitter, Spotify and etc). Henry also talked about Google Lighthouse and the services that it offers to everyone to use. Basically, the latest Google Lighthouse 3.0 enables anyone to run a simulation throttle of the website. It runs an audit under your normal network and CPU settings and then estimates how long the page would take to load under mobile conditions. It also provides advice to specify on any touch-ups or tweaking needed on website to improve functionality and flow of website. It provides the Performance, PWA, Accessibility, Best Practices and SEO scores to show report. He also showed website links that are useful to us developers in Web Authoring and other helpful links.
The last talk for the day was by Warat Wongmannekit who is a developer and product owner of Thoth Zocial. He talked about “How to start your first assistant with Dialogflow”. He showed us his past few experimental projects with Actions on Google and introduced us thoroughly to Google Assistant and its functions. He elaborated and showed us the difference between the static assistant and dynamic assistant. There were many interesting things that can be done with a simple response and statement. Incredible!
Before everyone was gathered into the hall, a short break was given and there were a few attendees who shared their feedback and opinions. A male programmer from Johor named ‘Chia’ told us that he was interested in the few Web Talks earlier and found it interesting and funny. He added “The place was alright as it has enough seats and good air conditioning.” Another attendee from Petaling Jaya named ‘Ching’ told us that he was surprised that GDGKL and Sunway University actually collaborated to make this event possible. He was interested in Angular and found all his expectations of the event were met.
Our current Sunway Tech Club Vice President, Eric Ngu gave us a brief insight to the behind the scenes story of how GDGKL and STC had joined and collaborated. He mentioned that it wasn’t an easy event to host especially with over 400 attendees who were expected to be there and hundreds of tech enthusiast on the waiting list as tickets were fully sold out. Eric elaborated that Sunway University were responsible for the event as it was the venue where it was held and Eric needed many resources such as an advisor for the event, steps and procedure to be planned and shared among GDGKL staff and volunteers on the day. Besides that, Eric and other coordinators of this event had planned this for nearly 45 days and finally pulled it through. However on the day of the event, he said that everything was flowing smoothly although there were minor delays, they were able to re-adjust and settle the delay without any chaos.
Soon all the attendees had to gather back at the hall for closing ceremony and lucky draw prize giving for the winners. There were many prizes such as Google Home and Google Home Mini, IOT Kit and a year subscription of JetBrain. Speakers such as Henry Lim, Jecelyn Yeen, Lim Shang Yi and VP of STC Eric Ngu gave out the prizes to the very few lucky winners. Finally, a group photo was taken to be remembered forever. The lights on the walls and ceiling brightened up and we all smiled at the camera on the stage as our photos were taken.
And that concludes Google I/O Extended Kuala Lumpur 2018. Hope to see you next year!