My coverage of BarCampDC turned into an incredibly long post so I've split it into two with the first today and the second part tomorrow. Once the wiki has more of the presentation notes, I'll link directly to each of them. Stay tuned.

Update: Added pictures of presenters.

Update 2:  Some of the presentations are available on the BarCampDC Wiki. and the second portion of the coverage is available here:  BarCampDC 2007 – Part 2.

Before I made it onsite, I stopped by a nearby coffee shop and ran into some of the waiting list. Yes, since there were only 110 slots available onsite, there were literally dozens of people who wouldn't be allowed in. A handful of them were waiting here with their cell numbers on file with the registration desk. I could already tell it would be an interesting day.

The initial presentation scheduling was chaotic at best but somehow it worked. Wow. Presenters signed up for slots/rooms and then we scrambled to sign up for what interested us. There were a handful of sessions on productivity, general design principles, mobile web, ruby, python, and even on the Black Art of Perl (my working title, not theirs).

As a sponsor of BarCampDC, I had the opportunity to pitch CaseySoftware, what we do, and where we're going. I gave some information on our newest product and preview of the functionality. I also received a verbal endorsement from Brian Williams – CEO of Viget Labs – another BarCampDC sponsor – due to some work we're currently doing with them. I received some followup questions about the availability and demos. It was also satisfying seeing CaseySoftware on the shirt (pictured at right). It was a first.

The first session was "Voicemail2Twitter" from Roger ?. He demonstrated a simple voice mail to twitter converter which provides the message in mp3 format. After a brief – 10 minute – discussion and demo, it turned into a larger discussion of what's going on in the voice field along with different applications of this functionality. There was a great deal of discussion and concern about the legality of recording calls, etc.

The second session was "Alternative Web Application Structures" from Brock Wilcox. That was it… no further explanation, so it piqued my interest. We went around the room introducing ourselves and then kicked off the session. Brock spent a few minutes giving an overview of continuations, some of the interesting aspects, and dove into a simple demo showing different aspects of Seaside and his own continuation-based framework in Perl.

While continuations do seem interesting, my big concern was security. One of the strengths of MVC is that you have one central place where all the data scrubbing/validation is performed… with continuations you're literally jumping back into the function where you left off, bypassing whatever core validation you may have. He pointed out that the core validation can still work if you use static functions and call them as necessary.

The third session started with a pitch from one of the sponsors for the new International Day of Awesomeness. the first one is 10 March 2008… Chuck Norris' birthday.

The core of the session was from Russell Heimlich (on the left) on "Firebug". If you're not familar with it, it's an amazing Firefox extension… that I have failed to use to its fullest extent. [Russell] gave a demo of various aspects including live editing, tweaking various aspects, getting more information from the elements, etc. The "ohs" and "ahs" were frequent as he showed off some of the base functionality. With no customization or tweaking, you have full html, css, Javascript debugging in addition to breakpoints, some performance metrics, and a live console for more advanced interaction. Then he went in and poked around with YShow, Yahoo's new website performance analysis plugin for Firebug. If you're not using Firebug, stop what you're doing and go get it. If I get nothing else from today, this session was worth it… Douglas Clifton seemed to be a bit ahead of me on that one, I'll have to catch up.

The fourth session started with a ptich from one of the sponsors… Microsoft. Honestly, it was a tough crowd, easily half the laptops in attendance are Macs and the balance was split between Linux (Ubuntu was common), Windows XP, and Windows Vista. It's not often you see XP and Linux with similar marketshare. Regardless, he fielded some questions about Silverlight, some of the ideas coming out using it, and its projected release date. Interesting stuff, but not sure how relevant it was to this crowd.

The actual session was from Scott Mendenhall from Navigation Arts on "Open Source CMSes". He stepped through the key factors about choosing a CMS along with an overview of licensing, technology, and dove into a case study. It included a snapshot of the various common LAMP and Java CMSs and some basic strengths and weaknesses. It was light on details but provided enough information for further research. While there were a few Drupal'ers there, it seemed that Joe LeBlanc was the main Joomla guy and he even wore the swag.

At this point, we broke for lunch. Tune in for Part 2 tomorrow including the details on my joint presentation…

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