Warm Croc Conference – Debriefing

So for the last two days, I had the pleasure of being an attendee at Warm Crocodile Developers Conference. It has indeed been two amazing days. There were a lot new impressions and new friends. In my last post I outlined my expectations to the conference. In this blog post I’ll provide an overview of my take-aways and general impression of the conference.

I believe that I had set myself some pretty high expectations to the conference, with a program like the one this year. It did indeed fulfill my expectations. We were 9 in total going to the conference from d60. We had a really great time, both during, and in evenings. It was great to socialize with your co-workers under different circumstances. Besides having to hang out your co-workers, I also spend many hours talking to a number of the speakers from the conference. It is such a great attitude in our industry, that no matter who or where you are, gurus from around the world take time to talk with you. On the first night I was hanging out with Maarten Balliauw, Jimmy Bogard, Justin Rusbatch, Greg Young, and Filip Wojcieszyn.

So, on day 1, I had the pleasure of hearing Mark Seemann give his thoughts on how to stay in flow, meaning that you forget about time and place. He proposed a number of approaches to avoid interruptions and stay in flow. You could wear headphones, most developers already does this, but you’ll not be able to communicate with others.. Use a distributed version control system, like Git, which makes you less dependent on the work of co-workers. Use a smaller screen for development. His argument was that instead of having a ‘wall’ of screens, only using the laptop screen would make you less prone to interruptions. He also pointed out that having a smaller screen, would make write better code, due to the limit width of the screen. Working from home is also a great way to avoid getting interrupted by random questions from co-workers. Reflecting on his experiences with this, I felt that I need to try some of his recommendations. I do wear headphones, use Git and work from home once a week, but I’m guilty of using 3 large LCDs in office. I’m going to try to just use my laptop for development.

Another highlight from day 1 was ScriptCS. Filip Wojcieszyn did an awesome session. Starting out pretty simple, and ending with some mind-blowing demos on the capabilities of ScriptCS. The overall idea of releasing C# from Visual Studio, only using plain script files to get things done. Using your C# skills to write scripts like the ones you can with PowerShell, is pretty intriguing. ScriptCS is definitely something I’ll begin to play with soon.

On the second day, for me the key take-aways was Scott Hanselman, Paul Stack, and Rob Ashton. Hanselman gave a great talk on how to use your C# skills on multiple platforms, like iOS and Andoid. By using Xamarin tools we re-use more than 90% the code. Paul introduced me to a open-source tool called Vagrant. Vagrant is tool a for orchestrating and building development environments. It makes it possible for developers to deploy the exact same environment as in production. Experiment with it and throw it away afterwards. You can also spin an environment up, run your tests and shut it down again.

Rob Ashton gave the last session for me. It was a very personal session on his endeavors the last 15 months. He quit his job from one day to the other, and wrote a blog post saying that he wanted to work for free if he was given roof over his head. So he sold almost all of his belongings and travelled the world. This has given him trip around the world working in different environments with different languages, always learning something new. In the session he outlined a number take-aways from his endeavors which can be related to software. It was a different kind of session, and very personal. Its not the kind of session you get the chance to hear that often.

I think that the conference committee had put together a very compact and inspirational program this year. There were slots were I had to choose between several options and other slots where nothing could really excite me.

A lot of things has to fit together when arranging such a large conference. And there were some small adjustments during the conference which can be improved. Registration was a chaotic experience, there were a long line to get in, and when we finally got in, there were not badges for all, so the majority of the attendees had to write their own badge. Some of us didn’t get the armband or sticker, which should give us access to the conference dinner and party. During lunch on the first day, there were not enough table space for all. This was improved on the second day, where more tables were bought in.

All-in-all a great conference. I got away with a lot of personal and professional experiences. I managed to get around my network and even expand it. Both the conference dinner and party was held in Nørrebro Bryghus. It was a great venue for arrangements like this. Although, it was kind of disappointing to see the low turn-out at the conference party. It seemed like most attendees had left town already. Big thanks to Daniel Frost for setting up the conference, I had a blast.

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