South Florida Code Camp 2009 Recap

(I had a TON of information originally written in this blog post.  Before I could save it, the page magically refreshed and I lost all of it.  So I aplogize for my brevity this time around.)

First of all, thank you to the event coordinators, volunteers, and sponsors.  You are the reason that this event happened, and why it was so great.  Dave Noderer and his team did a fantastic job.  With such a huge event, we couldn't ask for anything more.  Especially when you factor in the admission fee!  ;)

Just to give you an idea of the scale that they were dealing with, they had 700 registered attendees, 1000 sodas, 24 pounds of coffee, 500 plates, 500 forks, 170 pizzas, and 10 large salad trays.

Suzuki XL7My lady and I began our journey to Miami about midday on Friday.  My company, RezHub, really hooked me up with a rental car.  I arrived in style in a luxury model of the Suzuki XL7.  It was nice!  It had power everything, heated seats, sun roof, 7 seats, and so much more.  I really have no complaints about this vehicle.

I was asked to head up a track, featuring DotNetNuke.  I of course couldn't say no.  Anyone who knows me, knows that I am passionate about DotNetNuke.  I will do anything that I can to get people more informed about DotNetNuke.  In fact, I did manage to find a convert shortly after the first session began.  I found a stragler in the hallway, and talked him into sitting in on the first session.  With the exception of a single session, we were proud to have him in the room for the rest of the day.

We were excited about this code camp.  With me being the exception, all of the presenters were co-authors for "Professional DotNetNuke 5".  All attendees received 40% discount coupons for the book.  Included in the discount was also "Professional DotNetNuke Module Programming", by Mitchel Sellers.  What an incredible deal!

Introduction to DotNetNuke - Brian Scarbeau

Brian always does a great job of introducing DotNetNuke to folks.  He went over installation, resources, and more.  People were vrey receptive to the information he gave.  We had a nearly full room.

Introduction to DotNetNuke - Brian Scarbeau

DotNetNuke Architecture & API - Darrell Hardy

Darrell always brings with him a wealth of knowledge about technology.  He showed us a great deal about what the innards of DotNetNuke can do for developers.  It was very cool to see him show us how to browse through the core code to find useful methods and classes, as well to be able to identify why something might be happening in our own code.

DotNetNuke Architecture & API - Darrell Hardy

DotNetNuke Module Programming - Stan Schultes

We all always line up for Stans sessions.  He is the consumate professional when it comes to presentations, and he knows his stuff!  He took a topic that could easily hold its own track, and compressed it into a single one hour session.  It's incredible.  We were all very quickly shown how to build a module in DotNetNuke.

DotNetNuke Module Programming - Stan Schultes

Pure CSS Skinning in DotNetNuke - Ryan Morgan

Ryan's session is one that I have really been looking forward to.  Being a skin developer myself, I am aware of the problems that Pure CSS designs present to dynamic websites.  Unfortunately, Ryan did not take us through those issues, but we did get to see a fantastic example of a Pure CSS skin for DotNetNuke.  It made me say to myself, "Wow! Why am I not already doing this?!"  He also geeked us all out with his Apple laptop that he uses for presentations and daily development.

Pure CSS DotNetNuke Skinning - Ryan Morgan

DotNetNuke 5 Widgets - Will Strohl

This session was crap!  I cannot believe that I had to sit through it!  ;)

Wait a tick! This is my session...  Seriously though.  I equate this session to comedy.  A comedian will create a joke, and test it out in front of an audience.  If it gets laughs, great.  Otherwise, he will either toss out the joke, or retool it for the next performance.  Since this was my first time speaking publically about widgets, I found that I have plenty of retooling to do.

I didn't effectively manage my time, but I think it was still a success.  I had plenty of positive comments from the attendees that made me happy, but I still was not pleased with my performance.  I promise to fix this before the Orlando Code Camp next month.

I was able to effectively walk everyone through the core widget code that executes the widgets to show everyone how widgets work.  Then, I walked them through a few examples of using DNN widgets in their own websites.  Finally, I had to rush since I was running out of time, but I walked them through building and installing a custom widget.  People seemed to be genuinely impressed with the widget framework.  I know I am!  :)

DotNetNuke 5 Widgets - Will Strohl

DotNetNuke Chalk Talk - Darrell Hardy, Will Strohl

The final session was supposed to be done by Tracy Wittenkeller, but he had to give up his session.  I took this opportunity to try something new in our DNN tracks that we hadn't done before.  

I presented the idea of doing a chalk talk to the other DNN speakers, with the idea that we'd all stick around for the last session to address questions from the attendees.  The response was mostly positive, and so I decided to move ahead with it.  I am sure glad that I did.

Unfortunately, only Darrell and myself were able to stay for this session.  We made the best with what we had.  I prepared a list of potential topics to bring up, just in case people stopped having questions.  I was happy to not have to pick from that list even once!  

It appears that what we ended up doing was answering questions from people about their own personal and professional DNN websites.  It was kind of a free hour of consulting for everyone there.  We even had attendees that were contributing input from their own experiences, adding even more value to the session.  In my opinion, this was the best session of the day.  I had a blast!

Summary

We all had a great time speaking about DotNetNuke.  It was a bit of work getting all of the speakers together and on the same page.  It was 100% worth it though.  I love getting people better informed on DotNetNuke, and helping people in general.  We plan to have a very similar track next month at the Orlando Code Camp, but we also plan on refreshing the content to keep it new to anyone coming up from Miami.  :)  We hope to see you there!

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