In many of our recent talks with Summer of Coders, we've heard about the importance of having face-to-face time with your fellow developers. For those of you in our community who'd like to spend some time with folks in your region learning more about how you can work together or just plain geeking out, heading to an upcoming BarCamp won't disappoint.
James Williams, Summer of Coder working with The Codehaus this year, recently attended BARcamp Chicago and wrote in to let us know a bit more about the experience:
BARCamp Chicago is done until next year and but a memory. Taking place over 48 hours in late June, the event brought an estimated 250 participants to the Wicker Park area of Chicago.
There was a little something for everyone. There were sessions for entrepreneurs, those interested in web services and implementation, or specific languages and toolkits, to name just a few of the major topic areas. For the totally initiated, there was ìBrewing Beer at Homeî and a couple other informal demos, one including some sort of medieval trebuchet. The XO-1 OLPC unit also made a cameo appearance along with a discussion of how their cool factor engages possible gray-market issues.
In addition to the main talk and special project/code sprint areas, there was a mini-talk area that, on the second day, featured more intimate BoFs, replays of talks from day one, user group meetings and install-fests.
While swag abounded at the meetup, I was unlucky to find all the shirts were gone before I was able to get one. Saturday night into Sunday morning, a couple DJs spinned to entertain those who were still around coding, camping for the night or just chilling out. Tron and other geek classics on the projectors kept people hacking till 11:00 am when talks began again.
BARcamp Chicago 2007 was a great success, offering networking and learning opportunities for those in all stages of their careers, and an all-around good time featuring entirely too much potato pizza.
While not every BarCamp will feature potato pizza, your chances for spending some quality time learning from and with some like-minded individuals are excellent. If there isn't one upcoming in your area, you might even want to consider organizing one yourself.
Any Summer of Coders who have attended or organized a BarCamp, it would be quite cool if you would give any would-be campers the benefits of your experience in the post comments.