I was fortunate today to take part in the first Alt.Net "unconference" to be held in Israel and let me tell you – it was an awesome experience!
The concept of Alt.Net is that a group of .net enthusiasts get together and organize a conference by themselves for themselves to discuss .net, its past, present and future. Simply put, the audience organizes and gives the talks. Here's a more profound explanation: http://davybrion.com/blog/2008/08/altnet-what-does-it-mean/
The first Alt.Net Israel meeting was held at the Ramat Gan offices of the Sela Group who were kind enough to host us on short notice. The conference was initiated by three very special people: Ken Egozi, Oren Eini and Roy Osherove. A big thanks goes to you guys for the initiative and the flawless execution! Thanks also goes to three companies that sponsored the event: SQLink, TypeMock and again, Sela Group.
We (actually they, as I was late and only arrived in time for some cold pizza) started Thursday evening with an introduction and a meeting to plan the talk sessions to be held the following day.
The schedule was made up of 5 columns (one for each room we had available to us) and 5 75-minute time slots. Each slot held a topic that enough people wanted to discuss. Here's my reconstruction of the schedule:
|Agile and Customer Relations||Tooling||IoC Primer||N-tier Architectures||Refactoring Patterns|
|Web Unit Tests||ORM||?||Distributed Caches||AJAX, JSON & MonoRail|
|High Performance Web||TDD & UI||WinForms Best Practices||Dynamic Languages & DSLs||Installers|
|TDD & Databases||Domain Driven Design||Mocking Framerworks||Fluent Interfaces||Multithreading & CCR|
|Working with Legacy Code||SOA in the Real World||Auto Build and Continuous Integration||Source Control Strategies||Behavior Driven Design|
As you can see, it's a shopping list of almost everything that is hot and interesting in "the real world .net" today, at least in Israel. Note that the links I supply are to wikipedia articles and do not necessarily reflect the actual discussions today accurately.
It's interesting to note the lack of specific talks about WPF, Silverlight, WF and WCF. I'm surprised to see that these, despite being promoted by Microsoft, were not on people's minds. Oh well, the "Alt" in Alt.Net does stand for "alternative" after all.
The experience itself was genuinely uplifting to me. Getting together with people who are as enthusiastic as I am towards software development is such a rush. I've learned so much that I didn't know before, so the biggest thanks goes to you, my fellow participants.
If you're working with .Net in Israel and you like it, do yourself a favor and sign up to the Alt.Net Israel Google Group so you can be a part of the upcoming activities.There's also an Alt.Net Israel Facebook Group
The next unconference should be held in about 6 months but there are going to be plenty of other events even before that. See you there!