The first alt.net Canada conference is come and gone and as Doc went through the rules of engagement for Open Spaces on Friday evening, the one that stuck out for me this time was "Whatever happens is the only thing that could have".
As he listed it, I couldn't help thinking of State and Main, written by my favorite screenwriter, David Mamet. In it, the star of the movie they are shooting, played by Alec Baldwin, gets into a spectacular car crash (no wait, that's not the analogy I was thinking of). He walks away unscathed, looks around, and says quietly to himself, "So...that happened."
It's the way he says it so blithely that triggered the memory during alt.net. He says it as if it is the only thing that possibly could have happened. Which is the essence of principle three of Open Spaces. And it would be an awesome quote to start the retrospective had I been more on the ball.
I don't have a decent segue into the real point of this post but I love working movies into my posts, especially ones by David Mamet.
The event was, in my humbilly opinion, better than I hoped it would be. Which shouldn't have happened had I heeded Doc's advice to "be prepared to be surprised" but there it is nonetheless. A good turnout. Minimal logistic issues, thanks to a very good-natured group. Bil Simser has done a pretty phenomenal job so far videographing the event. Here is my brief take on some of the talks I attended:
Which presentation technology should you use?
Telecommuniting, or "Don't you hate pants?"
This was a topic after my own heart but I have more to say on it than I can cover here. Coming soon...
Command/Query Separation and Occasionally connected applications
I blipped back and forth 'twixt these two because they were similar...yet different. Seems to me that command/query separation would be a good way to build an occasionally-connected app. Tucked a bit of info away for the day when I eventually need to build one.
Volunteering our skills to more than just OSS
Convened by Donald Belcham and one of my favorite topics of the conference, primarily because it is the epitome of what I love about this event. You'll never see a similar topic discussed at your average code camp or likely even at a major conference. In it, we talked about projects people have done to benefit the community at large, not just other developers and we talked about how to volunteer for similar projects. I'm hoping details will be forthcoming on the Proceedings page but if they aren't in a few days, I'll elaborate.
Convention over configuration
Discussed existing uses of the principle in things like StructureMap and NHibernate, as well as recent implementations of it in MVC and Fluent NHibernate. Also talked about potential pitfalls, when its appropriate, and how convention compares with tooling. Again, I can elaborate if there is interest.
How do you choose the right framework?
There was just a little too much focus on "What is Microsoft doing wrong?" that I made some attempts to steer people away from but all in all, I got my questions answered. The answer to the title question I gathered was "hone your instincts and use them."
As I mentioned in the wrap-up, my major goal was to re-connect with old friends and start making new ones. I find the social aspect of alt.net to be the most beneficial as it fits well with the nature of Open Spaces. Despite my closing remarks, there almost certainly *will* be another event and discussions have already begun on possible locations and dates. And early indications are very positive.
Thanks all for a great weekend and especially to Doc for facilitating both the event and the conversation on the way back to the hotel Saturday night with Lyle and Osie (and I sure hope I spelled your name reasonably).
Kyle the Alternative