Hotels.com at dotSwift 2019

Lewis Luther-Braun | Hotels.com, London

Photo provided by dotConferences

In the last week of January, two engineers from the Hotels.com iOS team went out to Paris, to partake in the 5th annual dotSwift conference. For those who don’t know what a dot conference is, let me bring you up to speed. dot-Conferences are the equivalent of TED talks but more focused on topics from the tech industry; there are 7 different flavours of dotConferences: dotSecurity, dotScale, dotAI, dotGo, dotCSS ,dotJS and our very own dotSwift conference.

It was a great day to meet with other engineers from across the industry, as well as meeting other engineers that work within the Expedia Group — namely, members of the iOS team from Traveldoo in Paris.

The day was broken into 3 sets of talks with breaks between them.
The talks ranged from the sublime, how ‘pure swift’ apps aren’t really a thing as they all rely on the Objective-C runtime and ways of embracing Objective-C (instead of trying to get rid of any mention of it as fast as possible), to the ridiculous, such as a proposal on why you should use unicode characters in your code for method and variable names.

I feel like I should give this one a bit of explanation: 
The talk was far from suggesting that you do something like this;

⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⛵️⎈ ⬅

to tell your boat object that it should steer left. That notation could probably get away as a contemporary art piece but it’s definitely not useful as a standard for a naming convention. Instead it focused on scientific modelling and using the same notation that equations have, such as using Σ(sigma) for sum and λ(lambda) for wavelength as function and variable names respectively. This makes sense if you’re working with physicists who don’t want to look at long function names (no matter how descriptive they are) and also gives them an opportunity to debug the algorithm as opposed to your code.

Photo provided by dotConferences

It was brilliant to hear ideas from some very talented individuals — we even got to hear talks from people working on open source projects at Apple, such as SwiftNIO (an asynchronous event-driven network framework)— which gave real insight into what problems they were encountering and how they went about solving it.

As well as the main talks there were a number of lightning talks given by members of the Swift community. These were super quick talks that were straight to the point, often providing points of thought or presenting useful approaches to problems or tips.

Photos of the talks are available at https://dotswift.io.
Videos are available to watch: https://www.dotconferences.com/conference/dotswift

I’d highly recommend giving them a watch — maybe you’ll find a solution to an issue that you are currently encountering or learn something new.

Career Check-In with Josie Shah

Come join us as we adventure around the Hotels.com global offices and meet our team to discover more about their day-to-day roles, exciting projects, great teams and, of course, their passion for travel.

Josie Shah | Director of User Generated Content | Hotels.com | London

  • What area of Hotels.com do you work in?

I work in the Content team, specifically user generated content. We work on a number of projects that integrate the experiences, feedback and photos from real customers that have stayed at our hotels, back into the booking journey to help new customers find the right hotel for their needs.

  • What do you enjoy most about working at Hotels.com?

I really enjoy working with such an international group of people I love the different conversations and perspectives this brings to the work place.

  • Tell us about a project you are most proud of and why?

I ran a market wide RFP to launch our affiliate program across Europe, in search of best in class technology and service, ensuring we had the right people and tools on the ground to be locally relevant in all markets and meet our growing business needs. We ran the project on time, exceeded our performance goals and saved $1m+ in costs in the process.

  • Tell us about a manager who has supported your development? And how?

My previous manager was very supportive of my interest in exploring new career opportunities whilst retaining a part time schedule. He highlighted all my transferable skills and where they could be applicable in parts of the business I might not have considered myself qualified for. He has also championed the benefits and value of part time employees amongst senior decision makers.

  • How do you balance work and life?

After returning from maternity leave (twice) I have worked part time, both 3 and 4 days per week at different times. Right now I work a 7 day fortnight which feels like the right balance for me. Hotels.com has been very encouraging and accommodating of my need to be as present as I can be for my young family, whilst also exploring new and fulfilling career opportunities.

  • What is your most memorable travel experience?

Many years ago whilst backpacking around South East Asia, I caught a boat to a tiny island off the north east coast of Malaysia called the Perhentian Islands. There were just a handful of small huts, fish were freshly caught and BBQ’d and there was about an hour of electricity a day from one central generator for the whole island. We saw komodo dragons, snorkelled with tuna and turtles… it was the most beautiful unspoilt place. I imagine it’s a bit different now!

Find out about how Josie found a part-time working schedule that worked for her family and career. #WeWhoTravel