It seems that in the IT, there are many, many conferences offered every year that people are invited to attend in order to glean something of use. Which are the good? Which are the bad? There are a few points that may make a differentiation.
Local venue - so I don’t have to travel – or a warm venue by the beach so I can boogie board.
Great technical content - send me away with actual skills and knowledge to help my everyday development dream. This will also imply interesting speakers.
Gobs of code - preferably hands on workshops/exercises, but even onscreen it’s much better than psychadelic slide decks.
No marketing material - this is the number one excitement killer for me when looking at potential conf session schedules: it reeks of marketing.
Inspiration - in depth of knowledge, in motivation to learn more, in effective use of tools, and in clarity of teaching
Nice people - preferably attend with friends and meet some new ones to expand the code-loving circle.
Delicious food - does nothing to advance my career, but sure makes me feel nice while attending.
And I’m sure more… Obviously, the ideal is pretty dang exciting.
I just recently attended the No Fluff, Just Stuff conf in Salt Lake City. It was two days of all of the ideal rolled into one. It was very enjoyable, and I’m never disappointed. Thanks to Jay and the crew that puts that on successfully every year.
Quotes for Fun
Here are a handful of my favorite quotes from the conference:
“Trying to settle on scope and date is nonsense.” -Venkat Subramaniam
“Writing code that spits out XML should be given to people in prison.” - Venkat Subramaniam
“XML is like human beings – cute when they’re small, annoying when they get bigger.” - Venkat Subramaniam
“The best way to slow down is to speed up.” - Venkat Subramaniam
“The code you don’t write has the fewest bugs.” - Venkat Subramaniam
“Good code is like a good joke; how many people think it’s funny after you explain it?” - Venkat Subramaniam
Hehe, Venkat always has very engaging sessions, partly, I think, because he can put things very succinctly in a way that is humorous and rememberable as well.