Q&A with Emery Coxe About Presenting at Google's Firebase Summit

Software Engineer, Emery Coxe, recently had the opportunity to speak at the Firebase Dev Summit in Amsterdam- his first major speaking opportunity since joining HomeAway! For those who don't know, the Firebase Dev Summit is Google’s annual event to show off their hottest new products. Attendees are the first to know about new releases and have the chance to meet other techies from big companies around the world. It's pretty much like the Coachella of summits in the tech world.


During the summit, the HomeAway Product Design and Mobile Apps teams were selected to test the Cloud Firestore, Google's flexible database platform. They built a mobile app, which allows our travelers to search and comment on peoples’ recommendations in real time, without a manual refresh. The summit was a huge success for HomeAway because it reduced the development time and costs of the app, meaning we made it available to our users faster.

Watch Emery’s full presentation on HomeAway’s use case study with Firestore:

Firebase just announced the beta release of Cloud Firestore -- a fully-managed NoSQL document database for mobile and web app development. It's designed to easily store and sync app data at global scale, and it's now available in beta.


Q: How was HomeAway selected to participate in this use case study for Google Firestore?

EC: If you’re not familiar with Firebase or Firestore, Firebase is a set of tools that accelerates mobile development and Firestore is a database that allows the person who’s coding the app to cut out the middleman. Someone on my team knew someone at Google and they asked if we wanted to test out Firestore.

We started planning the study in March and implemented it in April. Our original intent was to get tickets to Google I/O, which is the biggest most prestigious tech conference for Android developers, so we figured we’d build an app that fit HomeAway’s use case.


Q: How did the app turn out?

EC: It was actually one of the more robust apps out of the different use cases Google assigned. In June, Google invited us to San Francisco to present our app at a team event. I also spent a day with their engineers giving my feedback and opinion on their usage.


Q: You recently traveled to Amsterdam to present HomeAway’s use case study at Firebase Summit. Tell us about that.

EC: Well, I had been working on this project for so long so none of the product launches or announcements were a huge surprise to me, but they were a big deal for the attendees. I was super excited to present as this was my first time traveling for something of this caliber in the five years that I’ve been at HomeAway. I spent a lot of time preparing and practicing on the houseboat I rented in Amsterdam.


Q: Wait, a houseboat?! Why’d you stay on a houseboat as opposed to a hotel?

EC: I found this modern, unique houseboat located in East Amsterdam on HomeAway and stayed there during my trip. I love staying like a local when I travel. I even found a cool windmill brewery up the road that I went to a couple times.

Photo by Emery Coxe

Photo by Emery Coxe


Q: Did you have the chance to sightsee after the summit was over?

EC: Yes, my favorite thing about Amsterdam is that it’s a really unique, cultural city with tons of art and museums. I went to the Moco Museum and several parks. I walked probably a total of eight miles that day and then I got Indian food!


Q: Overall, what was the best part of this trip?

EC: It was a great opportunity to get involved in the conversation regarding new technology. Cloud Firestore is the future and HomeAway is a leader in our industry so it’s important to adopt early.


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