Party Place Under Giants

On May 14th and 15th, 2015 the Chicago Coder Conference was held at the UBS building in downtown Chicago.  PSC Group was a sponsor of the event and had a fair sized contingency in attendance.  This post will review the good, the bad and the ugly of the conference.

Let’s start with the bad and the ugly so that we can end on a high note.  The overall organization of the conference was really bad.  It started with the keynote.  They had a venture capitalist talk about how the funding process works.  Given that most of the people there were employed by a company that sent them there I thought it was a poor choice.  Add to that the fact they timed the sessions without any time built into the schedule to clear rooms and the next speaker to setup and didn’t well publicize the Wi-Fi availability (which was poor) and it didn’t make for a good experience.

The best part of the conference was the number of quality presenters from not just Chicago, but around the region.  Unfortunately Chris Woodruff got sick and was not able to give his presentation.  This lead to a number of scheduling shuffles (which the organizers didn’t announce) where speakers dug presentations out to make sure there weren’t any time slots where you had nothing to hear about.

The best presentations were from Greg Levenhagen on Visual Studio debugging tools and Eric Boyd on architecting scalable applications.  Greg showed a number of features of Visual Studio that most developers never knew existed and can save you huge amounts of time.  Even better, since both of his machines died he used my laptop for the demo giving me some reference to go back to.

Overall, the conference was positive, but the organizers have a lot of work to make it more productive.