Bright and early on a rainy Friday, 234 excited developers from all over Australia (and even 3 from New Zealand) descended on the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney to attend Day 1 of WebCamp. WebCamp is James Senior’s brain child and after some date tweaking (& persistent requesting), we were fortunately included in the worldwide travelling road show.  Our event was held simultaneously with one in Mountain View so after a humorous introduction from GP, the day kicked off with a Skype call as attendees at both got a chance to say hello! 

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WebCamp includes one in depth day of learning, then attendees are invited to attend the second day’s Hands on Learning component. Throughout day 1, Scott Hanselman & James Senior took the audience on an “Amusing as well as informative” journey around the web tools – covering Web Platform Installer, Model-View-Controller (MVC), Entity Framework, Dynamic Data, jQuery and IIS tools all the while sharing their own interesting anecdotes.

The questions from the audience were insightful & kept James & Scott on their toes – encouraging them to push the level of the content up to satisfy the attendees, all eager to learn more.

Questions were not just from those that knew MVC or even Microsoft tools already – some of the best questions came from our Ruby on Rails & PHP developer attendees & also gave Scott & James a chance to show their knowledge of the range of tools & platforms.

The twitter stream flowed throughout the day with Quotes & commentary (#webcamps). I lost count of the number of people saying how “Awesome”, “Excellent” and “entertaining” it was.

At the end of day 1, although brains were fried, the audience was unanimous: “Scott & James were awesome. Really, really awesome”. 

Day two had a few options for the participants – they could do the 80 page hands on Lab, work in their own company groups on an existing business system, or listen to the pitched idea’s that remaining participants would like to build, and anyone who wanted to be involved got to vote for which team they wanted to join for day 2.  We had just over 10 great ideas presented & then everyone got to vote which team they would participate in.

The day ended at the Powerhouse there, but Scott & James, a number of attendees and local community members reconvened at James Squire Brewery for the Nerd Dinner held there that evening. Things mustn’t have been too chaotic that evening as most attendees made is back bright faced & shiny tailed the next day. :)

clip_image004Attending day 2 were the hard core developers who could not wait to roll up their sleeves & get their hands dirty. The teams building apps scoped out table areas to work while DPE’s infrastructure Guru Jorke Odolphi ensured they had access to power. The individuals moved across into the 2nd theatre to complete their hands on labs. Scott was impressed that we had the biggest turn out to the hands on day of any of the other WebCamps so far. On hand to help out all attendees throughout the day were several of our local MVPs and DPE staff – Big Big thanks to Andrew, Jorke, Lewis Benge, Tatham Oddie, Steve Godbold for being great sources of assistance for all the attendees.

The teams & helpers worked madly right through to 4pm when the presentations were kicking off. It was very impressive to see the alignment to development methodologies used by each team with peer programming, scrums and sprints all making an appearance. Source control and testing plans were all being established early on in the piece.

At 4 pm the presentations kicked off: (as I was a tad busy, my DPE teammate Andrew Coates kindly documented these notes about each of the teams solutions presented – thanks Andrew!)

Demo 1: AIS – RaceDay Commander - WINNER

Long-running race comment and monitoring system

jQuery, oData, Telerik controls

Demo 2: MongoDB Management Studio

NORM, Cool Testing

Demo 3: Due Date – lightweight task-tracking for uni students – RUNNER-UP

OpenID, Gravatar, jQuery, Templating, ELMAH

Demo 4: GoTo - Address Book Lookup

iPhone address book lookups, Same controller for 2 different views, Mapping hook, Call from hyperlink

Demo 5: My Noisy Neighbour

Bing Maps, Reverse Geocoding, WCF AJAX Data Service

Demo 6: Rewriting MVC

New ControllerFactory

This time it was Scott & James turn to be impressed – both agreeing that Sydney’s Webcamp was the best yet! James said: “Teams showing off their apps at #webcamps Sydney! Awesome stuff with ASP.NET MVC 2, jQuery Templates, T4 templates and more....“

The winners received an xBox 360, Funky Satchel & all attendees to the 2nd day got a “Make Web not War” T-Shirt.

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The Powerhouse Museum in the background wasn’t the only thing with an eclectic collection.

I have to admit that even I was surprised in the range of attendees we had. Our attendees ranged from Students, MSPs, Partners, managed ISVs, Customers, Contractors, Start Ups & developers new to Microsoft technologies.  There was attendees from one man (or woman) shows, through to some attendees from of our biggest customers & Partners.

I would like to send a Big, Big thank you to James & Scott for their great work over the course of the event!

All in all, as one of our attendees put it: “2 days of laughter, code, & beer. Does it get much better? I doubt it.”

People are already asking me when’s the next one! :)

*all quotes from Attendees evaluation forms & twitter commentary.