The last weeks our developer team has been planning, preparing and organizing. The reason: Our third annual developer conference on 24th and 25th of November, the eMerge 2020. 

But this year we faced a special challenge. Due to the restrictions imposed by Corona, it was of course not possible to hold the event physically in the halls of GDF, but this has not stopped our team from hosting a fantastic digital event! Two days full of exciting development topics kicked off. All digital also means more possibilities, more speakers and an incredible number of 350 participants from Allianz entities all around the world. 

Future Allianz Technology CEO Daniel Besendorfer officially opened the event with a welcome keynote. What do you associate the most with working from home was the question in the round. 

The answer: See yourself…

Okay… Let’s be serious again 😉 Remote Collaboration – changing the way we collaborate. With a topic that currently affects almost all of us we directly went into the overall keynotes and the different streams split in backend, frontend and DevOps. 

Click here to read more about remote collaboration at the GDF

What now follows is a short summary from the three streams, so take a brief tour through what has happened at this years’ eMerge!


Backend Experience 

Day One 

Kotlin kicked the door in. The first talk was about introducing the modern programing language and how functional programing can be done in Kotlin. Despite the entirely virtual talk there was real hands on action. We could see a remote pair programming session between two colleagues using IntelliJ.

The next session was about how we can code safer, handling exceptions and exceptional behaviors with simple language elements. Mario Fernandez and Andrei Bechet from ToughtWorks showed many Kotlin examples how this can be done.

Security is crucial and Spring Security 5 is an essential framework providing security configurations. Later on Ralf Walk, a GDF team member talked about how this configuration can be done with ease.  

Finishing the first day from Bolting Quality On, which means to focus on developing high quality products and doing software testing at the end of the process, to Building Quality In, which means to focus on building teams with a reliability delivering high quality products and doing testings in every phase, Steve Upton from ThoughtWorks shared his learnings with us. 

Day Two 

On the second day we had Gavin Bierman from Oracle talking about Java language enhancements. The most popular programming language in the world is now 25 years old and we got to know how Java gets prepared for the next 25 years. Staying relevant to the problems people want to solve and continue to meet ever-rising developer expectations are just two of the measures he told us. 

Later on Paul from Allianz UK shared their story how to apply DevSecOps practices inside Allianz using great tool and following best practices. We’ve also got insights about the Allianz Kafka Global Event Broker and how teams can start using it.

Last but by no means least, we had a great discussion with our GDF software engineering expert György Hrabovszki and Lukas Pollmann from GitHub on what makes a good Code Review Culture what are the important parts of it and how GitHub can support it with its great features.  

Frontend Experience

Day One 

Frontend Experience started with a talk on scaling frontends with an initial focus on concepts accompanied by a second talk with more details and colorful demos. Then it has been extended into the native mobile space and our development experts checked how Angular apps can be adopted to mobile devices. 

Maybe you remember back to September, when we first open sourced a white label version of our NDBX UI component library? This was the core topic of the next presentation.

If you do not remember, get a refresh here. 

After this, a quick and insightful detour was taken to understand how Deutsche Bank is solving similar issues. The session was ended with a great talk on how Allianz Direct was transforming their Frontend when moving towards the platform launch in Italy. 

Day Two

Since you should never underestimate the importance of testing the second day has started with two great talks from Allianz France on different aspects of testing. After ABSi took us through their reloaded portal architecture, it was time for some APIs. First it was about learning the current status of apigee in Allianz and then we got an insightful comparison between REST and GraphQL. To finish the frontend stream – what else should always be considered in any app ? Right: Security. So the final talk was about on how we can utilize Code Warrior to educate developers on security for more secure apps.   

DevOps Experience 

Day One 

Kubernetes – the most popular and hyped framework (also in Allianz) was quite in focus. Starting with colleagues from TNG, who presented how to build containers on Kubernetes pods, followed by our guest from AWS Michael Hausenblas, showing how to start develop on Kubernetes like a pro! Torsten Walter from Syncier gave a glimpse on how they use GitOps to automate policies enforcement on Kubernetes deployments. 

Later Thilo Uttendorfer from Allianz Technology ADP and Carlos Munoz Robles from Allianz Technology Global e2e Monitoring, showed the latest tools for CI/CD and monitoring – everything an Allianz developer needs in his/her toolbox.

Kickstart a development project in less than 10 minutes! Sounds incredible? Yes, but it is possible - Edouard Courvalin and Jean Burellier from Euler Hermes presented how it works by using automation framework to create, deploy and run code.

Day Two 

Simona Cotin from Microsoft kicked off the second day by guiding us through the journey of Serverless. Later on, Demir Delic and Maximilian Raba-Streicher from OneMarketing have presented how to run Serverless in Enterprise setting. The journey continued with Roelant Vos taking us through data collection and analysis in Allianz Direct.

Followed by one of the most popular talks by our colleagues from Github showing how latest updates from Github, e.g. Github Actions, can simplify integration and automation of your code.

With a successful journey at Allianz Direct, from Openshift (CRP) to EKS (CRP 2.0) Jean-Francois Landreau and Erik Stuble finished the DevOps streams at this year’s eMerge.  

What participants think about the conference 

Even if the majority would have preferred to meet face to face, we received a lot of positive feedback.

Last but not least… 

A special thanks goes to Jochen Supper, Head of Development, Shay Katzir, Team Lead Backend Development and Gyoergy Hrabovszki, Software Engineer at GDF who managed as the leading team to bring such a great event to life. Also a special thanks to Matthias Böhle, Head of GDF who is always supporting us giving our best!

And of course a huge thanks to all speakers and participants who filled the event with excitement and who did not let themselves be deterred from participating in two days of thrilling talks and discussions in a digital way.  


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