Last weekend was the first ever Dallas TechFest – and it was FANTASTIC! Now I know we do a lot of these *Camps or *Fests around here, but this event (at least for the Dallas area) was something new. Based on some great stories in the Heartland district’s very successful CodeMash event, we decided that a cross-technology multi-disciplinary conference would go over well in DFW. I knew that it would be fun, and good for all of us, to start working more with our non-.NET friends in the Java, Ruby, PHP, Python and Adobe communities here, and my sentiment seemed to be shared with all of my local area User Group leaders.
I approached Tim Rayburn (C# guru, Connected Systems MVP, leader of the Dallas Connected Systems User Group and local Community Hero) several months ago with the idea of running something like this, and he was very interested in taking the reigns to make it happen. We reached out immediately to Erik Weibust from the Java and Spring user groups, Adam Keys from the Dallas Ruby Brigade, and Tim Stiles and Jason Ragsdale from the Dallas PHP and Dallas Pythoneers User Groups. Together they formed the core nucleus of the team that arranged the location, speakers, food, snacks, tracks, sponsors and all other miscellaneous stuff that is required to run a first-rate community-led conference.
We held the event last weekend on May 3rd and by all accounts it was a great success! 250 of our local area developers shared their time with us on a gorgeous Saturday in May to learn about a multitude of different software development approaches, technologies and toolkits. In keeping with our multi-technology approach, the TechFest was divided into 5 tracks: .NET, Java, Ruby, Flex and “Emerging Technologies”. Highlights from the tracks included “What can non-Ruby developers learn from Ruby”, “Fun with Programming”, “Having fun creating Flex-driven applications”, “Robotics Studio” and “REST: The basics and no so basics...”. At the end of the day, .NET Rocks! host Carl Franklin took us down a hilarious journey back in time through his software development background. He’s such a character – it was great to finally meet him in person.
Speaking of Carl and .NET Rocks, Richard Campbell reached out to me a few weeks ago and asked me if I’d be interested in participating in a live .NET Rocks! show at Dallas TechFest on the subject of Community Building. “Of Course!” was my obvious answer, and we had a great time recording it. On the panel were yours truly, Toi Wright (ASP.NET MVP and President of the Dallas ASP.NET User Group) and Caleb Jenkins (ASP.NET MVP, trainer, consultant and community hero). The conversation was really interesting and I tried really hard not to come off sounding like an idiot. You can judge for yourself when the episode airs, on May 22 at http://www.dotnetrocks.com.
I wanted to give a huge THANK YOU to Tim R, Erik W, Adam K, Jason K, Jason R, Tim S, Carl & Richard, Toi W, Caleb J, Kristee D, Phil W and everyone else who worked so hard to make this such a great event. It took a lot of time, planning, effort, sweat and brainpower to pull this off and I really, really appreciate everyone’s hard work. Congratulations too to the people that won some of the fabulous prizes! The highlights of the event were an XBOX 360 Elite, a copy of Halo 3 Legendary Edition, and a brand new Mac Mini with a copy of Windows Vista Ultimate. The event was fantastic and I’m really looking forward to next year!