DevCamp, an unconference for the software development community, was held in Bangalore last Saturday. Its primary goal was to give developers and architects a platform where they could move beyond basics and discuss fairly complex technical challenges and corresponding strategies to overcome them. About 200 people showed up for the camp.
I signed up to speak at DevCamp with scepticism, as I was not thrilled by the last two BarCamps, which saw the usual crowd having general discussions. But the developer focus at this one paid off and it seemed that only people really interested in the subject turned up.
The best discussion of the day was about “The future of desktop and Web”. Imagine being able to run Yahoo webmail on your desktop and being able to read email offline — one of the topics discussed. This theme was aptly highlighted by two talks, one on Adobe Air and the other on Mozilla Prism. Both spoke about similar but competing technologies, which help run Web applications on the desktop and thus bridge the chasm. This was followed by sessions on Android (open source mobile platform released by Google Inc.), product development stages and Semantic Web.
Martin Fowler, well-known software architecture expert and chief scientist at ThoughtWorks Inc., was around and shared his experiences with the campers. I was thrilled when he attended my talk on “Developing interesting user interfaces using Clutter” (an open-source software to build rich animation applications). Overall, DevCamp was a “right step backwards”. The ratio of active participants to the passive attendees was high and that is thecornerstone of a good unconference.
Shreyas Srinivasan is co-founder of Radioverve, a Bangalore-based Internet radio station, which plays music by independent Indian artists. He currently works for Geodesic Information Systems Ltd.