CodeStock 2016

Last weekend I attended the 2016 CodeStock conference in Knoxville, TN. This was my first time attending the event after a few years of considering going. With close to 1,000 attendees and sessions spread out over two days the conference was large enough to have a diverse set of speakers, but yet still feel small enough that the speakers are very approachable.

The keynote was by Cory House, and was about the technology adoption curve. He divided people, and technologies, up into three categories: early adopter, mainstream, and strategic laggard. Obviously most of the people into the room fit into the mainstream category (Java, .NET, etc). There weren’t many people using the latest bleeding edge stuff (at least not for production) or using ancient technologies. He pointed out advantages of being in different places. I thought it was interesting that he pointed out that specializing in an older technology like COBOL had a finish line. A point where you could say that you are done learning it and know the whole thing since it isn’t changing anymore. As opposed to the mainstream where you are running on a proprietary treadmill trying to keep up.

I went to a talk called “Take Back Project Sanity: The Kanban Journey” by David Neal. Which was really good for a talk on project management. He pointed out a lot of benefits of the Kanban approach for visualizing your workflow. The big takeaway from it I had was that you don’t have to change your process to get started. You simply have your Kanban boards reflect what you already are doing. I also heard him talk in a different session about building desktop applications with Electron. Which if you are not familiar with it, is the framework developed by GitHub for their text editor Atom. So, it is essentially JavaScript (Node.js) and HTML/CSS. I’ve not used it, but it looks pretty nice for building cross platform apps.

Overall I enjoyed the experience at CodeStock and look forward to attending, and maybe even presenting, in 2017.