On Saturday, I attended and presented at the Utah Spring Code Camp, which was held at the Neumont University in Salt Lake City, UT. Overall, the Code Camp was a success. A couple of thoughts…
Too Much Microsoft
This was really disappointing to me. The ENTIRE Code Camp was Microsoft specific. Microsoft was one of the listed sponsors, the keynote was given by Microsoft, EVERY presentation was about a Microsoft technology, and most of the raffle items were Microsoft software, books, and 3rd party components which target Microsoft technologies. Grrr…. I had heard that there was a disinterest from other (non-Microsoft) user groups to participate, but I don’t believe it. Code Camps are a great opportunity to bring together ALL of the various user groups in the area and have tracks and sessions representing each group. I honestly don’t think that an effort was made to involve other technologies in this Code Camp, and that is very disappointing.
The keynote presentation was given by Ben Miller, who is an MVP Lead for Microsoft. We haven’t had a keynote in the past at Desert Code Camp (mainly because there isn’t a room that would hold all of the attendees), but it was an interesting idea. I felt that the keynote was a little long, and I was disappointed that the keynote was about Microsoft. I think a good keynote topic for a Code Camp might be something that highlights the local user groups that are involved, discusses the state of the technology jobs in the local area, and stays away from technology-specific discussions.
I attended several sessions throughout the day, and most of them were fairly good quality. Some of the technologies I saw there were .NET 3.5, LINQ, WPF, etc. A friend of mine, Nate, presented a good overview of some of the new features in .NET 3.5. There were 18 sessions, with 3 sessions always running concurrently.
I presented about Media Center Development with Windows Vista. I had a fairly small attendance, which I thought was awesome because I was able to really customize my presentation to what the attendees wanted to see. We built a simple application with MCML that had a button and some text that changed when the button was pressed. I showed how the click event of the button could be hooked up to managed C# code, so that the power of the .NET framework could be utilized in development. We also deployed the application to Media Center. Some of the individuals were interested in setting up Media Center systems, so I also answered quite a few questions about requirements and setup possibilities.
There were quite a few sponsors of the event, including Robert Half Technology, STG, Red-Gate Software, TEK Systems, Neumont University, and Microsoft. Several of the sponsors had booths set up in the lounge area where people could pick up brochures and sign up for the raffle. The sponsors paid for lunch, which was pizza from a local pizza chain, and provided raffle items. I do not think it is appropriate to have sponsors at a Code Camp. My personal feeling is that Code Camps should not have sponsors or, if they do have sponsors, the sponsors should be “silent sponsors”. The speakers were asked to add a sponsor slide to their presentations, which I thought was inappropriate. This implied that the sponsors were somehow responsible for the presentations, which is not true.
At the end of the Code Camp, there was a general session in which several items were raffled off to individuals who entered the raffle at the sponsor booths, and filled out Code Camp feedback forms. Some of the raffle items included books, t-shirts, software (ExpressionWeb), cordless mice, and even two IPod Nanos.
The keynote presentation:
Nate presenting about .NET 3.5: