A week ago I took part in a Java conference held in Poznań (Poland) called GeeCON . I didn't spend much time considering if it is worth coming to Poznań for that conference because my Java guru told me that it is and on the other hand I saw Bruce Eckel among the keynote speakers.
And so I went, unprepared. As it often turns out in such situations, it wasn't Bruce that rocked my world (though his speeches were cool too and what OpenSpaces even cooler) but other speakers I had the opportunity to listen to and funnily enough, not necessarily those the most known.
I will definitely remember Kevlin Henney who gave a hilarious and yet deep and insightful speech about code coolness. Or should I say art of code ? Lesson learned: read code of the libraries you use. Even if it's as heavy as Hibernate...
An other name to be remembered: Sam Newman from ThoughtWorks. Essentially, he spoke about Software as a Service architectures and what are key benefits of adapting this approach instead of the traditional one.
Tomasz Kaczanowski ("good tests, bad tests") and Keith Braithwaite (on TDD) are other speakers that made great impression on me. Or maybe I just agree with their thesis and that's why I liked their talks?
As of Bruce Eckel, I didn't really enjoy his keynote speech on thursday. On the other hand I heard that his "Reinventing business" speech was marvelous. Well, I can imagine because it turns out that Bruce Eckel invests recently a lot of time into the reinventing business project and OpenSpaces at the same time. You can find this talk as conducted at Heroku (though I heard that Bruce did better in Poznań).
As to the organization and stuff -- no complains whatsoever. Everything went smoothly, on time and I felt well informed. If I were to sum up the conference in one sentence: best spent 150 euro for a conference ever! Seriously, I liked each talk I listened. Both in terms of quality of the speech and contents.
And then on Saturday Geecon OpenSpaces happend. I fell in love with the idea of self-organizing conference from the very beginning but seeing it in action was a better yet feeling (if you want more on OpenSpaces than you should see this short video). The best part for me was that we actually talked about stuff that we deal with every day and not on stuff that speakers came to talk about. Not to say that the opportunity to actually meet someone (by which I mean: exchange business cards and talk) was much greater than on regular conference.
The other best part: I supose that organizing this event was 30 times cheaper in terms of human resources then GeeCON itself. Which basically means that everyone can do it in almost no-time.
After the OpenSpaces I must seriously rethink if going to regular conferences is worth my money? But GeeCON rules so I will go there next year for sure. The other thing I'm sure about: I will not go to Kraków's JDD conference any more.