JomLaunch 2021 – First Day

JomLaunch, an annual event to gather all developers and tech entrepreneurs in Malaysia has started today. It’s not until the quiz session that I realized this is the 9th installment of JomLaunch which made its initial debut in 2015. Personally, this is my second time of joining the event.

This is the second JomLaunch which held online, starting from JomLaunch 2020 due to the pandemic and restricticted movement order imposed nationwide by the government.

It use Airmeet as the conference platform and this is my first time experiencing online conference. Overall, Airmeet offer quite a good experience. The conference is divided into 4 main sections – Reception, Lounge, Schedule and Booths, just like the physical conference. Upon logged in, we will be redirected to Reception where we can choose either to join the scheduled presentation, Lounge or Booths.

Lounge is where you can freely mingle with other participants. There are a number of “desks” and you can join any of the desk where you will have video conference with other participants who also choose to “sit” at the desk. The video and voice quality is pretty good and we manage to have smooth discussion. For this first day, I mainly join the discussion at Amiro Technology desk who demonstrated their E-Legal application, a SaaS catered for lawyers.

We can move from desk to desk, looking for discussion that interest us, or maybe just to meet old friends. As with the traditional physical conference, hallway session is always the most interesting one, so does this Lounge on Airmeet. And when scheduled presentation are to start, Airmeet will give notifications, advising participants to leave the lounge and join the presentation.

My only comment for the presentation is lack of interactivity during the QnA sessions. As all questions being done through the chat, there were quite often when the presenter needs to ask clarification from those asking the question but they’re not invited to explain it through voice. So it feels quite monotonous.

Presentations

JomLaunch main event is the presentation of tech projects, divided into few categories:-

  • Personal project
  • Open source project
  • Commercial project
  • Community project

This year also introduce new category for university student. For the first day we have the following projects:-

  • SecurePay
  • Workbeat
  • TutorXcess
  • Easy Drop

In the evening we have presentations for JomLaunch Asia slot featuring Albert Chen on PHP Swoole and Tan Yin See on his StoreApp application.

Swoole is a PHP extension that provides async programming frameworks for PHP with features such as coroutines, a range of multi-threaded I/O modules (HTTP server, Websockets, TaskWorkers, Process Pools) and support for popular PHP clients like PDO for MySQL, Redis and CURL.

While Swoole can provide a boost to your PHP application, beware that you have to write your app according to Swoole paradigm, which means trying to run traditional application such as WordPress is next to impossible. This is due to few core things that Swoole imposed such as using Swoole Request object to get incoming request and returning Swoole Response object. Common PHP superglobals variables such as $_GET and $_POST are empty when running under Swoole.

Fortunately, Swoole provides helper function enableCoroutine() that can fix built-in function such as file_get_contents() to use asyncronous IO. This kind of similar to approach used by Python’s gevent module through its monkey.patch_all() function. This can helps a lot in making existing application to be compatible with Swoole. On top of Swoole, there’s hyperf framework that aims to make writing Swoole application much easier.

Second presentation from Tan Yin See on his StoreApp application. It’s an ecommerce storefront catering the Foods and Beverage (F&B) industry. The story of StoreApp is quite interesting. It started as an outsourced project for one of their client. They took 50% downpayment to kickstart the project and upon reaching 80% completion, the client went MIA. After failing to reach the client few times, they decided to call it off.

The pandemic starting in Mac 2021 seems to turn their fate around. With restricted movement (known locally as PKP) imposed by the government nationwide, we saw a huge demand for foods delivery. It was at this moment they decided to revive the dead project, give it new looks and start demoing the app to their friend in F&B industry.

Their first client manage to grow into 3K registered users within 3 months with Gross merchandise value (GMV) reached RM30K/month. During this period, the product stabilized and they fixed a lot of bugs along the way. By May 2021, they managed to get 2 additional clients and by August 2021, 20+ more outlets joined their platform. Yin See described that period of growth as the chaotic 2 weeks as they discovered new use cases they never think of before with the variety of their clients.

On building own product vs outsourced project, Yin See described it as challenging but rewarding. Outsourcing project give good payment but they are short term only, and they need to keep looking new project. He also stressed up on the importance of providing great technical support when running SaaS business.

For product development, Yin See think they need to have variety of features to entice users, and let their own creativity in making use the app to their need. The product should not too generic but not too narrow as well in their use cases. We want to make sure our clients (merchants) have enough arsenal to capture their customers.

And for closing advice – he suggested to enjoy what you do, make sure get paid and get good business partners.

Oh, on the technical side, they use flutter as their development tools of choices, citing great support for cross platform dev and flutter web support as “going into right direction”.

After the presentation ended, I spent some more times at the Lounge and am fortunate enough to dropped by discussions from folks at Toyyib Pay and Baituljannah.com, a match making platform for muslim genuinely looking for their soul mates.

The event continue through the night with sharing from Izzairi Yamin on Noor app, a lifestyle app for muslim. It’s really an eye opening sharing session. It relates well on my believe on simple idea with solid execution.

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