FarmBot at ElixirConf 2018

FarmBot at ElixirConf 2018

One our team members, Connor Rigby, attended ElixirConf this year. Here is his recount of the experience:

In early September I attended the largest ElixirConf yet. Jose Valim's opening keynote shows just how the community has grown since 2014. This year, I noticed talks had much more focus on stability and long term goals of the language and community in contrast to the focus on adoption and language intros. Projects are becoming stable and mature, and developers are putting more and more Elixir in production.

FarmBot was an early adopter of Elixir, specifically via Nerves. Nerves is what powers FarmBotOS, the operating system that runs on FarmBot's Raspberry Pi. This year Nerves was released as version 1.0, and interest has been skyrocketing since May. ElixirConf had two Nerves specific training classes this year. As a Nerves core team member, I was around during the trainings for helping users out, but I was hardly needed because everything was just so stable and easy to use.


After the big 1.0 release, some of the other Nerves team members started on a somewhat secret project called NervesHub. Justin Schneck's day 2 opening keynote finally announced the project to the world (even opening it up to a private beta). NervesHub is an open source firmware deployment service. This is a huge project that will be one of the final steps for using Nerves in production easily. Previously, deploying a Nerves product required writing a custom over the air update service. NervesHub aims to simplify and fool proof these problems. I've began contributing to NervesHub regularly ensuring there will be support for FarmBot's unique use cases.

The other exciting part of ElixirConf this year was Boyd Multerer finally releasing his amazing Elixir OpenGL user interface design project. It was teased at ElixirConf 2017, and he'd been working on it non-stop. All his hard work showed in this great presentation and demo. He even briefly showed off Scenic running on a Raspberry Pi via Nerves. The project was released open source live on stage, and even had the first contribution by yours truly, before the talk was even over. Since it's been released, developers have been flocking to Scenic building tons of great things like a on screen keyboardjoystick support, and even the game of life. I can't wait to see what else the community comes up with even though FarmBot probably won't be using it, it's great to see the community so excited.

Closing ElixirConf this year, Jim Freeze announced the conference would move to Denver, CO. The new Venue is going to be in a hotel that isn't even finished being built yet, better showing the growth of the community. Jim also announced ElixirConfEU would be in Prague next year. I can't wait to attend next year and see what the community as come up with.

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