DevX 6th Tech Meetup

Last, Feb. 6, 2017, DevX kickstarted the year with Meetup #6: Agile, AWS, and other stuff, a developer meetup in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Held at the iFlix HQ in Mid Valley, the meetup featured four speakers and a number of registrants from all walks-of-tech-life in KL. The following were the topics:

  1. Do you hate agile? An agilist answers your questions
  2. Simple work flow on AWS and Lambda integration
  3. Artificial Artificial Intelligence

Before the actual talks started, those present: software developers, project managers and owners alike were treated to a round of pizza, McDonald’s chicken and nuggets and soft drinks – all software developer essentials. The venue itself was massive and very developer friendly I should say. It was surrounded by vending machines, pool tables, couches and a foosball!

With all the benches and chairs filled up (some people were already standing) and bellies full, the first speaker started with his talk.

Artificial Artificial Intelligence

Baraa Al-Bourghli talked about how the necessity to improve and streamline Duriana’s mobile shopping app triggered the need to introduce artificial intelligence (AI) into the system, assigning it the task of classifying the items uploaded by their customers into their correct categories. However, due to limited resources, they needed a more economical and less complex option to implement the said feature. Enter Amazon Mechanical Turk (AMT).

A brief discussion on the history of Mechanical Turk makes you understand why the topic is called as it is. For as little as $0.01, Amazon Mechanical Turk workers can then classify images submitted by Duriana (of course, accdg. to their specifications and categories). They provided the time allotment for solving the classification problem, rewards, as well as fake questions to weed out improper workers. Needless to say, the addition of the AMT helped a lot, posting considerable improvement on the speed in which their customers stay on the add item screen from minutes to seconds. While the solution mostly worked, they were also able to identify possible problems in the future, particularly on scaling, when the number of product catalogs they have in their app increases. In closing, Baraa offered a site that provides a similar service as their AMT implementation, Clarifai, but offering a much more robust AI using Deep Learning.

An agilist answers your questions.

Do you hate AGILE?

This is a question that gets tossed around quite often, accdg. to Tze Chin Tang of SEEK Asia. Preferring fielding Q&A to and from the audience rather than delivering a presentation, Tze Chin Tang engaged the participants, answering questions using his experiences as an “agilist”. Various questions were thrown around, mostly revolving around some of the ill-conceived notions about AGILE, how overcoming conflicts and open communication can improve AGILE practices and what it takes to introduce the AGILE concept to a traditional work place.

Provide value.

The speaker emphasized the need for providing value. In whatever situation, whether in meetings (esp. in meetings), implementation or documentation, take into consideration the value and the benefit that the tasks give to the people involved. It is a thought-provoking statement, one that I will definitely be starting to do more regularly.

Simple work flow on AWS


Mohammad Malekmakan and Mehran Janfeshan delivered a presentation about the Amazon SWF and how it has helped the processes in iFlix. They discussed concepts such as Actors and Deciders and demoed an example application that showed the service in action. Finally, they introduced Amazon Step Functions and how it extends the AWS SWF. I have to admit, it was hard for me to follow along consistently with the discussion because the concepts were new and Greek to me. However, it is great to know that these services are available for developers if and when the need arises.

What’s Next?

The next DevX, Meetup #7: Remote, AWS, and Startups, will be held on March 7, 2017 at the Jobstreet HQ Office, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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