Monday, November 25, 2013

Philly Code Camp

This last Saturday, as it turned out, was a cold day in most of Pennsylvania. Not chilly, but the cold wind sure did make an impact. :)

Well, myself and my good friend Nandakesh decided to drive down to Penn State Abbington campus to attend Philly Dot Net User Group's Code Camp. We stated around 6 AM, stopped at a Starbucks on the way for a warm fresh coffee, and reached the campus at around 8:15 AM.

Penn State Abbington Campus

The crowd was coming in. The campus did surprise me. The college building did remind me of a medieval English castle I watched in movies. It was the first time for me in the campus. Nandakesh had been there couple of times though.

The enormity of the Philly Code Camps have always intrigued me. So many speakers. So many attendees. So many sessions. And most importantly, to support this huge event, so many sponsors. I am humbled. Our code camp (Central Penn .NET User Group) is not even one-sixth of this size. But I have this positive vibe that we will get there once. :)

53 sessions.
53 speakers.
More than 600 attendees.


My friends and family always ask me why I spend this much time in these activities outside work. And that too on a cold and cozy Saturday morning. When the comforters and blankets do not let us get off the bed that early. :)

The only reason why people like me run and attend these kind of sessions is to get to know the technology buzzing currently. We all should admit that we are not that privileged to work on the latest and greatest of the tools in our day jobs. The importance of such events is here. They do fill the gaps, to let us impart that knowledge.

My first session was of my good friend, Atley Hunter. He always was helpful in mentoring me in my initial Windows Phone development days. His energy and enthusiasm is very contagious. That is why I attended the session even if I had listen him talk the same topic in one of our monthly meetings. He sure did give out great tips and tricks on marketing the apps in the marketplace. And make some good money. On to it, Atley! :)

Nick Landry's session on "Mobile Development: Native vs Hybrid" was indeed an eye opener. He was very objective in comparing various native platforms including iPhone, Android and Windows Phone. The numbers and the angle he took to explain them were very informative. The take-away was to go Native whenever possible. That is most performant of all the techniques out there.

I always wanted to meet Khalid. Khalid Abuhakmeh runs AquaBird Consulting, and hails from Camp Hill PA (very near to my place). His talk on RavenDB was awesome. In recent years, NoSQL databases have been getting quite an attention from the database community. RavenDB is one of the top contenders along with MongoDB. It is open source, and Khalid does contribute to it a lot. It is in my TO LEARN list. :)

Twitter Bootstrap is a blessing for non-UI-designer developers like me. The Bootstrap 3.0 has been designed keeping in mind mobile devices. Whats that word? Responsive. It was Boulos Dib, who talked about Bootstrap. He was quite a passionate gentleman, who gave us a lot of information regarding developing websites with Bootstrap. Yesterday I just sat and got a simple website running using Bootsrap within less than 3 hours. That simple.

The day ended with a gathering at the auditorium. Thank yous and raffles. No, we did not get any :) But hey, tons of information is far more valuable than the raffles.

End of day gathering

Kudos to Philly .NET User Group and the sponsors for getting this through. Will again visit during the spring of 2014.