I arrived at CodeMash Wednesday eve, after a short drive from Michigan (about 2 hours!). Kalahari is a pretty nice place for a conference. Sure, its got tons to offer families/kids, but as an attendee, the location is a nice change as compared to hotels and more formal convention centers. I’m here for a couple of reasons, firstly to support the local DEV community, can’t tell you how happy I am to see this take place in the MidWest. Equally important, as the CIO I’m scouting for talent. We’ve struggled to find good devs in Michigan, people really passionate about technology, able and willing to push the envelope forward. Lastly, I’m hear to learn! I do my best to keep abreast of emerging technologies, but in my daily life I rarely have the time to dive as deep as i’d like, so I hope to take this opportunity to learn from some of the guys that are making this happen (right here in our backyeard) – specifically with regard to AGILE!
First things first, my initial impressions for CodeMash are awesome. I under-estimated the volume of midWest developers actually involved in the latest iteration of “web 2.0” technologies (i.e. ruby, groovy, RIA, etc.) They are expecting just over 300 developers this year, up 40% from last year! Also cool is the mix of backgrounds here, all the major camps are represented, msft (.net) , sun (java) , ibm, adobe, plus rails, python, php, and lots more. Its certainly a change from a few years ago where you aligned yourself with one or the other (and typically spoked negatively toward those not as cool as you). To me, its very refreshing. An early theme I’ve already observed is advocating for platform standardization, yet choosing your favorite flavor (language) based on the task/user requirements. Am guessing Neal Ford will dive deeper into that tomorrow at the keynote. pretty cool stuff.
Actually funny to me, is in the Conference Guide they acknowledge – “Why should the East and West coast have all the fun” – my thoughts exactly! I’ve attended several “mashup” conferences over the past couple years, and yes, they’ve always been on the coasts, boston and/or the SF bay area. A couple quick observations, firstly the format is slightly different, but more on that later. Initially, (as expected I suppose) the coasts are represented by more “open source” folks, lots of php, mysql, ruby… almost no .net or java reps. Also, (as expected) more participation by Google, Yahoo, AOL – here it’s slightly different, equally exciting, but a wider array of technologies (and big corproate sponsors). Which is just fine for me, the coasts are always going to push he latest and greatest – lets face it, thats where most the innovation occurs, but not to be outdone, the midwest, with CodeMash, has provided a fantastic venue in our backyard to get exposure to edge technologies.
well, out of time – off to the pre-conference session. more soon. I’ll do my best to summarize the sessions I attend for the folks back home and post some pictures over at Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/photos/22676788@N03/2182664921/in/set-72157603681472550/) when i get a chance.