Italian C++ Conference 2023: Wrap-up post
Last June 10th we finally got back in person for a fantastic Italian C++ Conference 2023! The greatest event about C++ in Italy, reaching its 7th edition, this year took place in Rome (at Università “Roma Tre”) and hosted 207 attendees.
Here is the classical wrap-up post.
- the event was totally free to attend
- total number of registrants: 276
- total number of attendees: 207
- drop rate (percentage of registered people not showing up) ~25%
The conference was organized by Marco Arena and Franco Milicchio. The rest of the staff: Stefano Saraulli, Vincenzo Pelosio, Riccardo Brugo, Alberto Barbati, Alessandro Vergani. The day of the conference, some other people volunteered: Federico Ficarelli, Federico Pasqua, Ruben Vergani, Giacomo Angelucci, Davide Stefani. Thank you all!
The conference had 7 sponsors which covered the event costs. Many thanks to:
- AIV - Accademia Italiana Videogiochi
- ZURU Tech
- think-cell Software
- Elettronica Group
Thanks to all the speakers and to all the attendees!
Some pictures of the event are here on our Facebook page.
Here are some stats on attendees, as usual.
- male: 88%
- female: 10%
- other: 2%
- average: 35
- min: 16
- max: 57
What’s you experience with C++?:
- I don’t know C++: 7%
- Novice/Student: 28%
- Fluent: 44%
- Expert: 21%
How much do you use C++ at work?:
- I don’t use C++ at work: 22%
- Rarely: 15%
- At least half of the time: 17%
- Daily/Most of the time: 46%
Which C++ standard do you use the most?:
- I don’t use C++: 16%
- C++98/C++03: 4%
- C++11: 16%
- C++14: 16%
- C++17: 34%
- C++20: 14%
Did you know that Italy has an official ISO C++ delegation?:
- Yes: 30%
- No (learning this now): 70%
Are you looking for job opportunities?:
- Yes: 36%
- No: 64%
Structure and contents of the event
The Italian C++ Conference 2023 was a one-day event about C++ development with 10x50-min and 2x30-min talks arranged in two parallel tracks throughout the whole day (from 9 AM to 6 PM).
On the day before, we organized the traditional “speakers and staff dinner”, hosted at Flavio al Velavevodetto, a famous restaurant (“osteria”) in line with the roman tradition:
This year was a bit special since we celebrated Italian C++ Community’s 10-year anniversary! Thus, Marco Arena’s welcome message was a bit longer than usual, he played a special video and spent some words about his 10-year community experience:
In addition, think-cell offered a cake during the lunch break. It was a lovely moment!
The conference had multiple occasions and space for networking, as usual: 2×35-min breaks (one in the morning and one in the afternoon, both with free food, coffee, and drinks), and a 75-min lunch break.
- C++23 features
- Unreal Engine in C++
- Game Development
- Code optimization
- Compilation times optimization
- C++ in safetey-critical environments
During the closing message, we had lots of fun with the “Italian C++ Quiz Prizegiving” where we gave away tons of gadgets (t-shirts, mugs, notepads, etc) to all the people who played.
This year we had a few issues that are worth mentioning.
First, the audio and video equipment in the rooms were really bad (in room N10 in particular), causing poor projection and audio quality. We had to switch most of the lights off in the rooms to improve (just a bit) the visibility. Also, the microphone was often flickering. The recordings were better, at least regarding the video quality, whereas on the audio we improved it a bit by using some post-processing tools. It’s not perfect for all the videos but acceptable. We needed more tests in advance.
Another problem was the air conditioning system. A problem we had in 2019 as well (you remember?). We deserve more luck here! Basically, we had to solicit the university multiple times to have the system working properly. Everything was planned already but, apparently, someone didn’t know about the conference! The system started working properly at about 11 AM.
Finally, the space for the catering was too small and this caused a long line for grabbing food, especially at lunch. Here, we have underestimated the number of people attending.
Our apologies to all the people affected. We are committed to doing better next time.
Every time we have something to learn!
About 30% of attendees gave feedback (a bit less than usual) and we are glad the results were pretty good (considering the issues, we are even more grateful). In addition, all the talks were appreciated, getting high rates.
Also, we got some ideas and insights for next time:
- people liked the “quiz” and enjoyed the raffle at the end so we will likely keep on making this kind of entertainment;
- someone suggested to display a “talk level” that indicates the level of expertise required for the talk or how much advanced that talk is (e.g. at CommunityDays they have had something like that for decades);
- someone pointed out that having water coolers around the venue would be useful and would prevent plastic waste (alternatively, we can place fridges with water in bricks);
- the catering was too carb-centric (pasta, bread, etc). Giving more protein options and fruits would be appreciated;
- the session duration still splits the people in two halves: those who think 50-min is perfect (that’s why we switched from 60 to 50 a few years ago) and those who do not. Here we have measured a bit more people complaining with 50-min so maybe we should consider 60-min again!
Anyway, we are aware that to scale up and to improve the overall quality of the conference, the university (any, not just in Rome) is a risky partner. Their - let’s say - “business model” is far from our values because it seems that external entities (like us) are just considered a nuisance rather than an asset (you know, we spread knowledge, we connect people, we give visibility…for free). Thus, the best host would be a hotel or a conference centre, where we would get a more professional service and more guarantees.
However, as you know, we don’t have the budget to cover such a location! And we are not even a legally recognized entity, without which it’s very hard (if not impossible) to make this sort of things in Italy. “What about one or more companies as partners?”, you might ask. Well, it can work but we could have two issues: the gratuitousness of the event and the limits the company can dictate. Instead, we are pleased to keep this conference free for everyone and without agreeing to compromises just for commercial reasons. This a community event, after all!
Also, we need some more people on the staff. Organizing the conference this year was draining.
Marco will be hosting a hybrid meetup in Modena every two months. This will make it easier for him to organize also Coding Gym and ML Modena. Having three of them every month has become impracticable. So, the plan is to host either a C++ Meetup or a Coding Gym session every month, and a ML Modena Meetup every X weeks (since ML Modena is organized also by other people, its frequency can be closer to monthly or such).
At the first C++ meetup of the new season (September or October), Marco will give a talk about C++23.