DevLink 2012 (Chattanooga, TN)

The DevLink organizers did another fantastic job of pulling off another awesome event. Well done! Wow, the tribe in Tennessee is alive and well, tons of passion around the community.  I ran into a lot of community-based guidance from other user group leaders and coders about many topics and ideas to take home and put in motion.

I came up looking for a few things this year, more guidance on Win8 Contracts, and Win8 in general. I got a few different views from different speakers each focusing on different contract aspects.  Something else was to see if any new patterns emerged in how folks used or consumed xDD, OSS, and some of the non-OSS.  Lots to choose from here, and again the speakers delivered.

Vendors were pitching some of the same stuff, and a few new wares I’d not heard of yet like PubNub (think cloud-based RabbitMQ).  I missed their product talk but I’m sure I’ll see more of this in the future – Twilio was two seats down from PubNub, both tables were busy with folks digging in to these messaging technologies in between sessions.

Open Jams – I missed all of them!  I have to work on this. One talk that was given was about leadership presented by Alan Stevenson (Nerd Hive Industries).  “Pretty pretentious talk” was how Alan described it.  It drew out many stories, comments, and reactions from the audience and it was standing room only, and very well received.  One of the underlying premises that he later called out during the talk was there’s always a way around conflict.  He’s right.  He’s admitted he’d done it the hard/wrong way in the past and shared how he manages his employers, peers, and support folks starting the same day he arrives at the gig.  Setting expectations is important, managing them more important, valuing everyone is most important.  It was comforting to hear pieces of this same message two weeks ago at Agile 2012.

I could go on and on and build a giant post, but I’ll stop with an invitation to you to come (back) to this event next year.  You won’t leave empty-handed or empty-headed.  Great stuff – thanks #devlink

devLink2011::Chatt Town Edition

Success in a BottleI made it back to DevLink this year, my last visit was in 2009 while it was being hosted at Lipscomb in Nashville, this year it was hosted by Chattanooga.  And just like Coca-Cola bottled their first Cokes a long time ago, the devLink organizers have found a way to bottle a successful event, again.

Imagine Tech-Ed and your favorite code camp had a baby, that’s DevLink.  The track offerings were just about anything you could imagine with all of the current tech splashing around in an ocean of technology.

The event kicked off with a Keynote from Ayende Rahien – “NoSQL – A change of perspective for the developer of today”.  Everyone walked about with the benefits and drawback of relational and NoSQL approaches.  This was a great way to kick off the conference, just an awesome talk.

The breadth of track and topic offerings were great to say the least.  There were sessions that discussed technologies we were already doing or using, but someone this time was doing it differently – we learn from things like this.  When their peanut butter and your chocolate collide – BAM; you walk out with a Reese’s cup.

The mixers they offered for attendees were great as well.  There were only three of us from FL that I know and we all made a lot of new connections.  The coders, hosts, and volunteers from the heartland are pretty welcoming and helpful.

The event sponsors really stepped us well.  The Chattanooga Convention Center was the venue for this event and its a really nice venue, with really poor wi-fi unfortunately.  I can only imagine there were was a vast shortage of twitter activity b/c of it, but I don’t think it stopped the momentum of the event in the least.  No event can be perfect, but the I would say this one gets in the high 90% range of perfect.

Ah, then there was the baseball game, this pretty much put the event over the top for me.  The game that night was awesome, don’t take my word for it, here’s the full article: http://bit.ly/oCOIoB, and here’s a few snapshots from around the stadium…

A view from the back of the ball park

I’ll definitely go back to DevLink next year if at all possible, and I drive through Chattanooga a couple of times a year so I’ll definitely make a stop here, I wasn’t able to make it to the Aquarium or the IMAX, and the local chatter I heard riding the (free electric) shuttle to and from the event they’re pretty cool to see.

Great city, great event, great venue, and a really great developer community! Congratulations devLink on another *really* successful conference!  See y’all next year!

/ofc