Western Mass. Developers Meet at Snowtide

I just wanted to say ‘thank you’ to everyone who came to last night’s Western Mass. Developers’ meeting.  Further, many thanks to those who helped out in one way or the other  — especially Miles and Doug for running for the D’Angelos, Doug for bringing the ice and cooler, Joe and Lou and Greg and Brian and everyone else who helped to set up or tear down.  I think everyone pitched in, which made it all work out pretty smoothly, I think.

FYI, we collected $170 last night.  That covered all of our food expenses and then some — I think once I tally up everything, we’ll have a surplus of ~$40 (and we have a bunch of generic supplies that we can put to use in the future).  Thank you very much to everyone who pitched in in this way, too.  Hopefully we can keep that pot flowing.

Some highlights from the meeting, and random thoughts of mine, in no particular order:

  • Doug gave what sounded like a rousing talk about the PHP templating system that he conjured up.  It seemed like most of the group really enjoyed that.
  • I generally don’t touch PHP, so I hung back and talked about entrepreneurship and software business models with Lou, Maria, Michael, and….darnit, I can’t recall the name of the other gentleman that joined us.  Sorry, man, I can be bad with names at times.  Keep coming to the meetings, and I’ll straighten out, I promise.
  • In the second time slot, I instigated a discussion about the current state of rich client platforms, through the lens of some particular requirements that we have for current/future projects.  That turned out to be pretty entertaining and productive, with a big chunk of time dedicated to people being impressed by the surface features of Titanium/Appcelerator.  That may be a good topic for future blog posts if we end up really digging into it.
  • Just about everyone was down on Adobe Flex/AIR as being very unpleasant from an end-user perspective (widgets not behaving as one would expect, etc).  I unintentially sort ended up trashing on JavaFX — or more specifically, the current lack of an integration story between Swing and JavaFX, as well as the oddities of JavaFX script.  In the clear light of day, I feel like I should probably give it a closer look, simply because of our established JVM codebase.
  • There was widespread speculation that a “shadow group” got together at Panera, despite all of the chatter and announcements about the change in venue.  Maybe next time (if there’s a next time here @ Snowtide), someone could swing by Panera and gather up those who aren’t as plugged-in to the group’s chatter.
  • Gerard walked away with Managing Humans, graciously provided to us by Apress’ developer group book program.
  • Will and I ended up holding on to the Terracotta book (also from Apress), though we promise to pass it on to Miles when we’re done!

It seemed like everyone had a good time and that most were pretty happy with the results compared to the usual Panera experience, but I’m clearly biased.  One way or the other, shout out what you liked and didn’t like (either on the mailing list or in the comments below).

FWIW, I’m happy to have Snowtide continue hosting the group’s meetings if people enjoyed the result.  If there’s a next time, get the shared conference room, and see how that works out.

Again, thanks to everyone who came!

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