Monday, February 11, 2008

Notes from Devcamp Bangalore

I attended the first Devcamp conducted last weekend at the ThoughtWorks premises in Bangalore. What I liked most about the event was how it stayed more or less true to the goals - developers talking to developers. Unlike in previous barcamps a lot of speakers built their talks around code. Not surprisingly talks involving working code gave me the most returns on investment of time. I do wish some of the talks had gotten more time though. The 30 minute limit on time had a dampening effect on some of the talks. In some cases the speakers managed to get around this by extending their session into the lunch break. Some others booked two consecutive slots but I don't think this would be always encouraged. One way to avoid the problem in the future would be to change the time slots to 45 or 60 minutes.

I found time to attend six sessions. I was very impressed with Ravi's presentation on Monads. Not surprisingly there were a bunch of requests for an encore after his talk.

SRK's work on load testing using Erlang showed a lot of promise. He demonstrated how he was able to harness the unique strengths of Erlang to load test some of his applications.

In spite of my lack of knowledge I could tell that Vivek Singh was on to something with his new tool for testing Windows applications, 'White'. More power to him.

I spoke about my experiences developing a hobby related application using Django. Somehow the projector refused to work with my laptop running Ubuntu Feisty in spite of the best attentions of a system administrator. To be fair mine is an old laptop(4+ years) and I should have ensured beforehand that it worked well with a projector. Nevertheless I hope the organisers of the next devcamp will be a little more *nix friendly :)

Following my misadventures with *nix and projectors I did a quick tally of operating systems. I was surprised to see so many developers running Windows on their laptops. Even those who were working for startups deploying their products on *nix boxes seemed to be using Windows (Vista!). I guess all those photographs of tech events overseas that I have seen are to blame for my wrong expectations ;)

As one of my friends told me, one shouldn't speak for other people - "you should speak for yourself". At that time I didn't quite catch the meaning. I do now. Getting up on stage and showing code forces you outside your comfort zone. So if you commit to something that is just outside your current ability level you need to stretch to do a good job. So I hereby commit to talk about implementing algorithms related to Computer Vision in the next devcamp. See you then.

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