Voxxed Days Brussels: report on an inspiring community event for developers

The very first edition of Voxxed Days Brussels took place on Tuesday 23 May. Nearly three hundred developers came to The Egg in Brussels to immerse themselves for a full day in the latest trends and good practices in the field of software development. Thanks to the inspiring and sometimes surprising keynotes and talks, and the flawless organization, this community event for developers was a big hit.

It was still early when the first visitors trickled into The Egg's characterful entrance hall around 8 am. Fortunately, they were welcomed enthusiastically by some sympathetic employees of ACA Group. After the friendly welcome, a delicious breakfast was waiting. The nice mix of industrial historical heritage and contemporary flair of the congress center was the perfect conversation starter for the first networking chats. The fresh coffee the ideal foretaste for the enticing line-up of 39 international speakers. 

visitors at the egg sponsor hall

Personal plea for simple code, continuous learning and collaboration

9:00 am. Time to head down to the Auditorium for the first two keynotes of the day. After a short welcome by Stijn Van den Enden, CTO of ACA Group, Sander Hoogendoorn took the audience on a personal journey through his life as a developer and the road to writing good code.

Sander Hoogendoorn

“Do we really need this right now?”

He inspired and challenged the attending developers to look at software development on a deeper level. He emphasized the importance of simplicity, readability, and maintainability in coding. Through personal anecdotes and examples from his own career, Hoogendoorn illustrated how he has applied these principles and what impact this has had on his work.
One advice that we will definitely remember: regularly ask yourself during coding "Do we really need this now?". This way, Hoogendoorn encouraged the participants not only to strive for functionality, but also for elegant code, stripped of unnecessary complexity.

“You are never done learning”

Hoogendoorn also emphasized the importance of continuously improving programming skills. He spoke of the value of regular practice, exploring new technologies and following good practices (“There are no best practices”).
He recommended incorporating active testing as a continuous part of the development phase. He also emphasized the power of collaboration in micro teams for solving small, concrete issues. A technique that he applies daily with his team as CTO of

Sander Hoogendoorn's keynote was a motivating session that encouraged the audience to think more deeply about software development. His emphasis on simple code, active testing during the design phase, lifelong learning and collaboration undoubtedly left a lasting impression on the participants. We will also remember his last tip: “Take your mother out for dinner more often!”

Is Appsec really too hard?

9:50 am. The second speaker of the day was Philippe De Ryck. His keynote, titled "AppSec is too hard!?" was a stimulating and insightful presentation that examined the complexity of Application Security (AppSec). De Ryck, a renowned application security expert, challenged the public to take a critical look at the challenges and obstacles developers and organizations face in ensuring the security of their applications.

Philippe De Ryck at Voxxed Days Brussels

“Make it easier for developers”

He started by noting that AppSec is often seen as a difficult task, with countless technologies, frameworks and guidelines to master. It is impossible for developers to know and apply all this. He took a fresh approach to this problem and advocated simplifying AppSec through pragmatic solutions.
De Ryck underlined the importance of embedding security into the development cycle from the very beginning. He presented strategies for treating security as an integral part of the development process. He recommended giving developers tools that they can easily use to build in security during development, e.g. by making security solutions available in the library.

During the keynote, De Ryck shared some real-world examples and case studies to illustrate AppSec's challenges.

Appsec takeaways

Philippe De Ryck's keynote provided an insightful look at the challenges of Application Security. We remember three main lines from his practical approach:

  • Awareness and understanding of security and following code-writing guidelines is just a first step in ensuring the security of an application.
  • Security measures and functionalities should be embedded in the structure of the code itself. This way you can simplify complex security aspects and make the codebase more transparent.
  • Deploying the right tools is an effective way to implement and manage security practices at scale across an organization.

Vibrant learning and networking environment

The first two keynotes were the ideal prelude to a day full of inspiring talks and information sessions on various themes such as software architecture, green software engineering, cloud computing, security, testing, and more.
The presence of leading professionals not only gave participants the opportunity to gain valuable insights, but also to make new connections. The informal conversations between sessions, the joint lunch and the networking drink afterwards created a vibrant environment in which ideas could flourish and collaboration was stimulated.

crowd at voxxed days brussels 2023

Barista at Voxxed Days Brussels 2023 - ACA Group Booth

The first edition of Voxxed Days Brussels was a complete success in every respect. It offered participants the opportunity to gain new ideas and make valuable contacts. The positive atmosphere, the diversity of topics and the opportunity to learn from experts made this day an unforgettable experience. We are already looking forward to the next edition of Voxxed Days Brussels!