Last weekend I attended the excellent Code Camp Oz 2006 at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales.
What is a Code Camp? Well it's not deep training in .NET, and it's not a learning course for VB or C#. It is a no-cost, tightly-packed, two-day-long discussion of broad content for developers, split into about 50% upcoming technologies and 50% current topics. Topics covered in Code Camp Oz 2006 ranged from WPF (Windows Presentation Framework, formerly known as "Avalon") and WF (Windows Workflow Foundation), to the Compact Framework, SQL Server and Team System. The presenters were local experts from the Australian developer community. Importantly, the sessions were highly practical, generally avoiding market-speak and focussing on code. This, in my book, is A Good Thing.
According to the statistics, this year's Code Camp was a little smaller than last year's. I believe that this could be caused in part by the fact that last year, Code Camp focussed on the two major yet-to-be-released technologies of SQL Server 2005 and Visual Studio 2005 - and everyone wanted to get a look at these and possibly many people didn't have the time or gear to set up beta's or previews for themselves. This year, there seemed to be a general feeling that the upcoming (previously Vista-timeframe) technologies of "Avalon", "Indigo" and WinFS would be released only when they were ready, and full integration with Visual Studio wouldn't come until the next version of VS (2010?).
I enjoyed meeting up with Nirav again, who I first met last year, and talking the inevitable "shop". Nirav is consulting on a large Delphi project but had studied VB in a prior life so he and I had lots to chat about. In among the many people I talked to, I also met a bloke called Stuart who I mistook for someone else (not the first person I embarassed myself in front of). I enjoyed the social aspects of Code Camp this year too, like the two dinners where I got to meet lots of interesting people.
Stay tuned for my Code Camp Oz Review Part 2 where I talk about the presentations themselves.
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