I spend most of last week at CodeMash 2009. CodeMash is a great 3 day developer event held every winter in Ohio at Kalahari Resort. It not a .NET focused conference and I went with an idea to take in some of the non .NET world and learn a bit about Ruby, Groovy, and whatever else hit me as interesting.
I arrived Tuesday evening in preparation for the PreCompiler on Wednesday. The PreCompiler was a extra day of full day or half day sessions which focused on a variety of things. I found these sessions to be among the best of the conference as there was so much time to get in to the topic and I was very torn as to which sessions to go to.
My first choice was the iPhone Development session, and I decided to hit the Ruby session in the morning as it was a full day session and I figured I'd be better off being there for the start then the last half. The Ruby session was different than I expected but very good none the less. We ended up downloading a series of tests and code and spent the morning fixing tests and learning Ruby. It was a self paced thing with the instructors just helping people as they got stuck. Since I had already played around with Ruby a little, I was able to quickly move through the exercises and got a good way through before lunch.
After lunch was the iPhone session. It was taught by Chris Adamson, who is co-authoring an iPhone book I've already been reading, iPhone SDK Development. While I had covered most of what Chris went though, it was really good to be able to pick up some shortcuts and to get a better handle on some of the concepts.
Thursday and Friday were filled with some great sessions. I heard a number of people saying there were just so many good opinions for each time slot they had no idea which one to go to. There were also some interesting open spaces conversations going on at the same time which made the choices tougher.
A few of the highlights here for me were Mary Poppendieck's session on Thrashing (and a lunch table chat as well) and Venkat Subramaniam's talks. Venkat is a great speaker and very enjoyable to listen to.
It is hard to go to a conference like CodeMash and not meet a bunch of great people. I had a number of interesting conversations with people from all over and really had a nice time. CodeMash was so large that a few of the people I had hoped to meet, I never did run into or find again. Having to leave early on Friday didn't help matters in this area I'm sure.
I had a fantastic time at CodeMash 2009 and hopefully, I'll be able to attend again next year. I also hope my family can come as well as the Kalahari was awesome and the kids would have had an excellent time. If it all works out, I'll try to make sure I can stay until Saturday and have a relaxing day with the kids at the water park.