CodeWorks 2009: RecapSubmitted by Keith Casey on Fri, 10/09/2009 - 11:31
Before I go any further, you have to understand the undertaking here...
By comparison, imagine your last major project launch. In the last few days, there are always those last few tweaks, those last few problems, those brief moments of panic... which turn into a sense of calm and relief afterwards.
Well, CodeWorks was a little different. Instead of that sense of calm and relief afterwards, we packed and headed to the next city to do it all again: Seven times in 14 days. Luckily, I only did the first three cities (San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Dallas) as staff and was in DC as an attendee.
The sessions were fantastic. Between the various cities, I managed to catch almost all of the Tutorials and quite a few of the regular sessions. The Code Review tutorial - by Sebastian Bergmann, Arne Blankerts, and Stefan Priebsch - differed from city to city as they choose different projects to look at and took samples from the audience. For DC, they went above and beyond and took a look at web2project as a favor. I expected it to be a painful yet educational experience... and it was. Many of the suggestions have already been implemented in one of the modules and are being expanded out to others.
Some of the User Groups were fantastic. DallasPHP stood out specifically. Not only were they great in the lead up, but they made a strong showing at the event, and were welcoming all the way along. Tim Stiles, Jason Ragsdale, Chris Cornutt (of phpdeveloper.org) and others are fantastic. If you're in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and write PHP - or are looking to hire PHP'ers - you should check them out.
Publicly, very little went wrong. Most of the difficulties were suffered by exhausted speakers and staff, and a hectic travel schedule. None of which was seen by the public beyond speakers a little more punchy and dark-eyed than usual.
There was a bit of criticism that the conference itself was small. Yes, it was. From an organizer's perspective, that can be bad... but from an attendee's perspective, I don't think it is. As long as the speakers are top-notch - and they were at CodeWorks - it means you get more time with them, right? In DC, I made a point of introducing a number of Zend Framework users to Matthew Weier O'Phinney the Project Lead Supreme Allied Commander of the Zend Framework. The ability to sit and talk with people individually, not bad.
I was going to complain about the wifi situation... I've often complained about it at ZendCon or php|tek, but this time Joel Spolsky talked about the difficult of conference wifi in reference to Dev Days and then Marco responded and expanded upon it.
But being the smart guy I am... I'm keeping my mouth shut. ;)
Would I do it again? Yes. But I'd pack lighter and sleep more beforehand.
Disclosure: In terms of full disclosure, CodeWorks was an event by MTA, one of the companies behind Blue Parabola and organized personally by Arbi Arzoumani and Elizabeth Naramore while I worked staff on the first half and my esteemed colleague Matthew Turland was on staff for the second half. Am I biased? Probably.