Dylan Beattie & Experience center tour @ ASML

11 April 2023

There's No Such Thing As Plain Text

Software is complicated. Machine learning, microservice architectures, message queues… every few months there’s another revolutionary idea to consider, another framework to learn. And underneath so many of these amazing ideas and abstractions is text. When you work in software, you spend your life working with text. Some of those text files are source code, some are configuration files, some of them are documentation. Editors, revision control systems, programming languages - everything from C# and HTML to Git and VS Code is based on the idea that we’re working with “plain text” files. But… what if I told you there’s no such thing?

When we say something is a plain text file, we’re relying on a huge number of assumptions - about operating systems, editors, file formats, language, culture, history… and, most of the time, that’s OK. But when it goes wrong, good old plain text can lead to some of the weirdest bugs you’ve ever seen. Why is there Chinese in the SQL event logs? Why has the city of Aarhus disappeared? And why does Magnus Mårtensson always have trouble getting into the USA? Join Dylan Beattie for a fascinating look into the hidden world of text files - from the history of mechanical teletypes, to how emoji skin tones actually work. We’ll look at some memorable bugs, some golden rules for working with plain text, and we’ll find out what the phrase “PIKE MATCHBOX” has to do with driving in the Soviet Union.

Dylan Beattie

Dylan Beattie

Dylan Beattie is a consultant, software developer and international keynote speaker. He’s the director of Ursatile, an independent consultancy based in London that specialises in helping organisations bridge the knowledge gap between software development and business strategy. Dylan has been building data-driven web applications since the 1990s; he’s managed teams, taught workshops, and worked on everything from tiny standalone websites to complex distributed systems. He’s a Microsoft MVP, and he regularly speaks at conferences and user groups all over the world.

Dylan is the creator of the Rockstar programming language, and he’s performed his software-themed parodies of classic rock songs all over the world as Dylan Beattie and the Linebreakers. He’s online at dylanbeattie.net and on Twitter as @dylanbeattie.


The host of the night is ASML!


You can park your car at the visitor parking and register at the front desk in Building 7 (Auditorium).

Address: ASML building 7 Auditorium, De Run 6501, Veldhoven.

Experience center tour

During this event we have the opportunity to visit the ASML Experience center and get an inside view in the world of semiconductors.

The experience center tour takes about 30 minutes and can accomodate approximately 70 people in one go. Please make sure to be in time so as many people as possible can take the Experience center tour.

ASML Experience center


ASML requires us to bring a passport, ID or driver's license to register as a visitor. This means that ASML will have access to the name and e-mail address of all attendees of this session for registration purposes only.

Please only register if you are OK with providing this information to ASML, and do not forget identification on the day of the event. In this case we will unfortunately not be able to accomodate you.


This meeting reached the maximum amount of attendees.

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