usable in any place a human can be used


codemash review

[caption id="attachment_577" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Colonel Whiskers and I have both missed you dearly"]I miss you[/caption]

You may have noticed that I have not posted anything since last Tuesday, gasp! Fear not, although various shadow organizations are still after me, I was not captured. I had the awesome opportunity to go to CodeMash, and spent most of last week in the beautiful Kalahari Resort in Sandusky, Ohio.

CodeMash, for those of you not in the know, is a pretty cool event. Instead of focusing on one technology (.Net or Ruby on Rails for instance), there are tons of sessions spanning the technology spectrum. Want to learn about ruby, there is something for you, F#, got it covered, Clojure, for goodness sake they even did a lisp. The great thing about this style of conference is that you can pick and choose whatever interests you, nibbling on concepts here and there to get a bit of everything, or really chowing down on one topic.

The other cool thing is that the company I work for HMB is forward thinking enough to not only sponsor CodeMash, but to send me there for free! Then the big topper came last month when they asked me to present on prosper.

Well now it is all over and I can give you a rundown of how things went.

The Good

  • Kalahari - The Resort is beautiful, the rooms are huge, the staff is excellent. It is a really cool place to spend some time in, they served us some great food, and the facilities were excellent in their range, rooms small enough for a handful of people to collaborate in, all the way up to grand dining halls to house the 800 or so attendees.

  • Keynotes - Mary Poppendieck gave a great talk on Lean Software Development, Hank Janssen talked about how Microsoft is moving into the Open Source world, and Andy Hunt, co-founder of Pragmatic Bookshelf and author of the Pragmatic Programmer, gave an amusing talk on the Mother of all Bugs, our brains.

  • Prosper Talk - After weeks of preparing and fretting over my presentation I think it went well, there were some technical difficulties, but nothing that could stop the incredible power of Prosper!

  • Session Leaders - The people leading the sessions don't get paid, they do it out of love of software development, and it shows.

The Bad

  • Superficiality - Sessions are only an hour long, this means that no matter how great the sessions are they can't really get into the guts of anything in any kind of depth.

  • Beginner Overlap - I went to a lot of Ruby sessions, as that is my current love, and even as a n00b it became tiring to hear the 5th explanation of duck-typing for the day.

  • Kalahari is way too big - I'm just kidding about this one, but it was honestly about a 2 mile hike from the convention floor to my room.

What's Hot

  • Ruby - Ruby is blowing up, not just rails anymore. Rails did a great job of introducing the world to the quirky little language that could. Now innovations are being made inside the Ruby community and people are starting to port that out to the rest of the software world. (See the next point)

  • TDD and BDD - Test Driven Development and even moreso Behavior Driven Development are becoming huge and are here to stay for the Agile practitioners among us. A big driving force for BDD is Cucumber.

  • Cloud and NoSQL - I'm lumping these two together because they are both technologies at scale. Virtual infrastructure is becoming a big business, be it Amazon's EC2, Microsoft's Azure, or Rail's Heroku. Applications running at huge scales are also turning to NoSQL storage solutions.

The Point

CodeMash is a chance to meet really cool people how are excited about technology. It's a chance to get exposed to a ton of cool technology. It is a chance to try a bunch of cool stuff and see what you like. Sessions are only an hour long so at worst you end up wasting 60 minutes, at best you get fired up on something wonderful. You get to meet a lot of cool people, here some great talks, and best of all you are at a gorgeous indoor water park that is 84 degrees when its freezing out in the harsh wasteland of Ohio.

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