Temporal in India: My Experience in Bengaluru

Tom Wheeler

Tom Wheeler

Principal Curriculum Developer

Although Temporal has previously held meetups in Bengaluru, Mumbai, and Hyderabad, the Great International Developer Summit two weeks ago marks the first time we had a presence at a conference in India. Since I gave a presentation and met hundreds of developers at the Temporal booth there, I wanted to share my impressions on my trip.

tom-india-blog-image1 Photo: The Great International Developer Summit banner, just outside the entrance to the JN Tata auditorium

This was my first time in India, a country I’ve dreamed of visiting since childhood. Despite landing at 3:00 AM, Terminal 2 at Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru immediately caught my attention with its extensive woodwork, open spaces, and beautiful gardens. It’s easy to see why it won multiple awards and has been named as one of the best airports in the world.

tom-india-blog-image2 Photo: Terminal 2 - Kempegowda International Airport (credit: Wikimedia Commons user Ananthmohanram18)

Meeting a Longtime Friend

The highlight of my trip happened soon after I arrived on Sunday. Through my work in another open source community years ago, I was introduced to Varun, then a CS student at a university in Northern India. We’ve stayed in touch through the years—he’s since moved to Hyderabad and has a successful career as a senior engineer. Before my trip, I wrote to let him know that although I was finally visiting India, I’d be in a different city with little free time and wouldn’t be able to meet him during this trip. Varun immediately wrote back to say that he’d come to Bengaluru to meet me. Open source truly does bring people together and it was so wonderful to finally meet my friend in person after all these years. Varun was an excellent host and truly exemplified the importance of hospitality in Indian culture.

Conference Organizers Demonstrate Local Pride

Upon checking into the conference on the first day, I received my badge as well as speakers’ gifts from the conference organizers. These included an interesting book about the city, a very nice clothbound notebook, and a delicious artisanal chocolate bar made with jaggery in the Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka, about 300 kilometers west of the conference. It was clear that the conference organizers have a lot of local pride, and after spending a week there, I can certainly understand why.

tom-india-blog-image3 Photo: The book and other gifts given to speakers by the conference organizers

A Tough Act to Follow

My presentation was on Tuesday, the first day of the conference. After settling in at the Temporal booth, I went to find the room where I’d deliver the talk. I’m glad that I did, because it was in a separate building across the parking lot. When I arrived, I saw that my presentation was right after one from Dr. Venkat Subramaniam—a tough act to follow! I remembered that in 2007, we were both speakers at the Gateway Java Symposium in St. Louis, Missouri, USA. This time, we were doing it again on the other side of the world. Fun fact: My manager at Temporal, Brian Hogan, was also the editor for at least two of Dr. Subramaniam’s books. It’s a small world.

tom-india-log-image4 Photo: The sign outside the room where I delivered my presentation

Standing Room Only

I worried whether others would be able to find the room, but despite the distant location, it quickly filled up. According to the conference organizer, nearly 300 people attended my talk. Not only were the lecture hall’s 275 seats filled, there were also people standing on the sides, aisles, and in the back of the room. The warm welcome for my first talk in India made me feel right at home

tom-india-blog-image5 Photo: Standing room only for my presentation: “Temporal: A Better Way to Build Modern Applications”

Conversations at the Temporal Booth

GIDS is a large conference, so for each person who saw my presentation, there were probably 10 more who did not. Fortunately, I was able to introduce hundreds of these developers to Temporal through conversations and demonstrations at our booth. Attendees at GIDS were very technical and able to grasp key Temporal concepts right away.

tom-india-blog-image6 Photo: Tom talks to a group of developers at the Temporal booth

One question that came up repeatedly is one that seldom comes up at other conferences: How much latency does Temporal add? As with most technical questions, the answer is “It depends.”

Latency varies based on the design of the application and the infrastructure where it runs, among other factors, so it’s difficult to generalize. Regardless of whether you use Temporal, ensuring that your business transactions complete requires that you persist application state. Applications built on Temporal do this automatically, while developers writing non-Temporal applications must write their own code for this. Because of caching and other built-in optimizations, the latency and performance of an application built on Temporal is usually the same or better than the equivalent non-Temporal application. In the rare case that latency the custom solution has lower latency, the transformational gains in reliability, scalability, and developer productivity that Temporal provides will likely far outweigh that difference.

Wrapping Up

I’m back home and nearly over the jet lag, but I already miss starting off my day with a masala dosa, idli, sambar, and a cup of Indian filter coffee (which reminded me of the chicory-based café au lait I have whenever I’m in New Orleans).

tom-india-blog-image7 Photo: The masala dosa I had for breakfast at the world famous Mavalli Tiffin Room.

The conference, the food, and the sights were all excellent, but the friendly people I met made my time in Bengaluru so memorable for me. It was my first trip to India, but it certainly won’t be my last.