Will "the Mighty" Strohl

South Florida Code Camp 2010 Recap

My son, Kohen, wearing his Day of DotNetNuke® shirt at the speaker party Another year has gone by since I last visited the Miami area.  It was of course for the South Florida Code Camp.  There were many things that continue to remain the same with this event: the venue, the coordinators, and of course the fact that this was an incredible event!  The South Florida Code Camp is one of the code camps in the state of Florida that you should never miss.  There are outstanding speakers, outstanding topics, and a ton of people to network with!

The Speaker Party

Being a speaker, my experience would begin with the speaker party the night before the event.  This is something I normally cannot attend since I travel so far to attend.  It’s kind of hard to validate the travel time during work.  However, I was able to make it to the speaker party this year!  It was a blast too!  Then again, what else would you expect?  With some of the best speakers in the state all coming to one place, such an event couldn't be expected to be anything but great!

A view of some of the speakers at the speaker party

(Thank you to Kim for taking the pictures at the speaker party.)

The Code Camp

The code camp itself was great.  It was a bit confusing at the registration desk, but didn’t get in the way too much.  I was disappointed to only see donuts for breakfast though.  I am not a fan of donuts.  Despite those very small issues, the morning went off without a hitch. 

There was nearly an entire track of DotNetNuke® love at the code camp, so I found myself staying in the same room most of the day.  Woo hoo!

Jim Begley presenting DotNetNuke 101 The first session of the DNN day was DotNetNuke 101, presented by Jim Begley of Glide Computing.  I went searching for water during the beginning of his presentation, so I missed the first 5-10 minutes.  So, I am not sure if he went through installation or not, but he did a great job of walking the attendees through the various features of DNN.  He spoke of administration, pages, modules, and skins.  I am certain that those in attendances were impressed.

Gary Kulwin presenting The Elegance of XMod Next was a speaker that was new to me, Gary Kulwin.  I am not sure if it was his first presentation or not.  He was presenting a session titled, The Elegance of XMod.  Basically, he demonstrated how to use the popular XMod module by DNNDev.com.  I was excited to see this session out of all of them since I have a copy of this module myself.  I just haven’t took any time to try it out myself yet.  Gary’s presentation was very beneficial to giving me more reasons to get started with it.  By the end of the presentation, we were watching him work with a nearly functional example of a mini-app created by XMod.  I say nearly functional only because we didn’t get completely through all of the examples, and I think he had to leave a couple of things out that weren’t ready for the demo.  Great work, Gary!

Me, presenting How to AJAX-ify Your DNN Modules Finally, it was my turn.  My session was How to AJAX-ify Your DotNetNuke Modules.  My goal was to show a handful of ways to add AJAX functionality to your DNN modules, and to also demonstrate the difference between those ways using the same module functionality in different views.  I am sure I got those points across, but I am deeply disappointed with my performance with the code demonstration.  I really was off my game and wasn’t able to get into my intended groove.  I had a specific path planned out in terms of how I was going to demonstrate each of the AJAX methods, but it didn’t work out the way I wanted it to.  I ended up jumping around and skipping a couple of things, only to come back to them.  I am sure at least a couple of the people might have been confused by this.  Basically, I compared no AJAX to DNN’s Partial Rendering, and then walked us through using jQuery and Telerik AJAX methods.  If you want to see the slide deck or the source code, check my earlier blog post.

Lunch Time

There was nothing interesting to report about the lunch itself.  It was standard pizza, but I got there late, so it was cold.

At the end of the lunch, I spent a great deal of time talking to Andy Warren about community and community events though.  It was probably the most valuable and rewarding part of the day.  Even though Andy lives in my neck of the woods, I would have traveled to Miami just for that conversation.  Thanks, Andy!

That highlights the most important thing about these events…  The social networking that can be done at code camps is something that can only be duplicated by user group meetings.  However, not to scale.  I have seen a ton of positive conversations, plans, partnerships, jobs, and much more come out of the networking at events like these.  Heck, that’s how the Day of DotNetNuke® was born!

The Rest of the Sessions

Jim Begley was on-deck again to speak about DotNetNuke®, and this time it Selling DotNetNuke to the Small and Medium-Sized Business.  Since my conversation with Andy had last much longer than I anticipated, I one again missed the beginning of Jim’s presentation.  However, the rest of what I saw was on par with what I would call a great presentation.  He had plenty of attendee participation, where it was clear that they all were very interested in using DNN to make money.  Nice!  That is usually a clear indicator of the success in a presentation, and this time it really was.

South Florida Speaker Idol Regionals I only stayed for one more session before leaving to pickup the family before the after party, and it really wasn’t really a session.  It was the South Florida Microsoft Speaker Idol Regional competition.  The winner of this contest would compete against the other regions at Orlando Code Camp next month.

There were 5 presenters competing for this honor, and a $200 gift card.  Each contestant would need to give a 10 minute or less presentation about anything Microsoft.  There were some outstanding presentations, including SEO, ASP.Net 0-60, and more.  Though I really favored a presentation from someone that didn’t place in the top 3, the winner was Jeff Truman.  Congrats!

(That being said, I was later recruited to be a judge at the State finals, so I am now accepting bribes!  Hehehe…)

The After Party

The family and I arrived early to the after party venue, JP Mulligans.  The after party is one of the most important parts of the code camp events, that is, unless you know everything and know everyone already.  If you never want to gain another contact or learn anything new, then by all means, skip the after party.  You probably can do everything on your own, without any help whatsoever.  :P

The venue was pretty good for an after party.  It’s basically a bar and grill, and specializes in beer and wings.  The coolest part of this place though was that one entire side was actually the side of a hockey rink too!  We were able to watch 2 different hockey games while we were there.  It was awesome!  My son especially liked it.  His face was glued to the glass most of the night.

The food at events like these is never meant to last, so it went pretty quickly.  Only a couple of people missed it.  There was plenty of great conversations had that night.  Did you miss it?  Tsk, tsk…  Along with the rest of the event, you can see some of the SFLCC pictures on my Facebook album.  Don’t miss it next time!

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