SoCal Code Camp

This past weekend was the Orange County edition of SoCal Code Camp. This is the first Code Camp, and in fact, the first programming related function I have been to. I had no idea what to expect and came close to letting my nerves get the better of me several times. Thankfully, I mastered my anxiety and attended, because I had an amazing time. I met a lot of really awesome people and listened to a dozen or so incredible talks. The atmosphere was friendly and inviting and it was actually pretty easy to just start up conversations with fellow programmers.

Hattan Shobokshi is one of the organizers and probably the second most prolific speaker at the camp. I attended several of his talks, and every one of them gave me more pieces of knowledge to fit into my puzzle. On day 1, I listened to his JavaScript Simplified talk, where he explained closures, prototypes and promises in a very approachable manner. On day 2, he gave the talk I was most anticipating, Angular JS with ASP.NET MVC and WebAPI. My friend Chris and I are working on a project with those exact technologies, so I was excited to see how it all worked together. The session immediately following Hattan’s talk was cancelled and so we were lucky enough to convince him to stay and make it a two part session. It was very informative and helpful, and as soon as I have a chance to decompress and go over my notes, I am going to start applying the lessons I learned directly to my code.

Troy Miles was the first presenter I saw at the Code Camp and he set a high bar for everyone to follow. This guy is the real deal and his enthusiastic style drew me right into his talks, even when I was way over my head. He was also the most prolific speaker at the Camp (I think). I was at 4 of his 5 presentations ranging from intermediate JavaScript tips to Angular to testing with Jasmine and finally a long session on the Ionic framework (a mobile apps framework that sits on top of Angular & Cordova/Phone Gap). Troy was also kind enough to hang out after his sessions and answer questions and just chat about all kinds of programming topics.

The Ionic sessions were co-presented by Justin James, who made the drive from Arizona. He talked about the details of Ionic and his experience as a professional programmer. He also spoke a little bit about working on open projects (like the one Troy was presenting to show off Ionic) remotely with GitHub and the collaborative nature of modern indie programming.

Jason Weimann gave an awesome introduction to Unity. He covered both the 2D and 3D aspects of design and had a moment or two to showcase some VR. He highlighted how easy it can be to design with Unity and more importantly, how dead simple it is to package your games to different platforms. I enjoyed his easy command of the domain and friednly attitude to answering questions.

I wish I had more time to see Rob Richardson’s talks. I only managed to see his JavaScript and Node patterns and idioms talk. I’d love to hear his presentations on MVC, WebAPI, ASP.NET, web requests and, really, anything. I also only got to watch one of Daniel Lewis’s presentations, but I did get to interact with him several times outside of the talks. Like everyone else, he was genuinely friendly and willing to answer all kinds of questions.

More important than the presentations was the time I spent getting to know new people and talking about a wide range of programming topics. Josiah and I were at several sessions together and struck up a conversation about being new to the programming world. For the rest of the Camp, we would hang out between sessions and talk about the different things we were learning or what technologies we were using “at home.” Josiah has been much better about getting out into the world of programmers and already knew a lot of the people at the Camp. He has inspired me to find a way to start going to meetups and other gatherings.

I also met Jeff Neet, an indie game developer. Jeff has competed in several Ludum Dare events, and it was fun to talk about game ideas and the different tools on the market for game creation. Jeff, as soon as your domain name resolves, I’m going to check out your games!

All-in-all, it was an uplifting and encouraging event. it felt good to see so many people at so many different levels participating equally. I am almost constantly afraid that my ignorance is glaringly obvious, but, even if it was, no one seemed to care in the slightest. I had a few moments of almost zen-like peace where I would anticipate answers, even in the more advanced topics like Angular’s controllers and directives. It is empowering to see how wonderful the community is, and I look forward to being at many more of these events. I’m even toying with the idea of getting a presentation ready for the San Diego SoCal Code Camp in mid-late summer…

Thanks SoCalCodeCamp!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s