So I’m back from what was described by a fellow attendee as “programmer heaven” and I’ve have to say I’d agree with him. Given the hosts and the attendees, it represented a chance to hang out with a number of folks that I previously only knew thru their blogs, a chance to meet new people with similar ideas and values as well as a great reason to spend a weekend in Austin. Little did I realize it would be all those things and so much more. At times it was a bit surreal; talking Silverlight and the DLR with Scott Hanselman, Scrum and process in the enterprise with Raymond Lewallen, or continuous integration and “build systems” with Jay Flowers I can say I had no problem stepping into a conversation with any of the attendees and found everyone receptive to a conversation. It was a great pleasure meeting so many people and I hope that the friendships that were formed this weekend continue to grow with time.
There has been a lot talk about the nature of the Alt.Net movement and I feel the need to weigh in on my position here. The “alternative” part of the name, to me, represents the alternatives to the main stream options presented by the vendors, i.e. open source. But it goes beyond that. It really isn’t so much about the tools themselves as the ideas and concepts behind those tools. Dependency injection, inversion of control, object relational mapping and acceptance testing have all led to excellent open source tools. The awareness of these concepts, let alone the tools, is something that is truly lacking in the .Net community as a whole. This conference was an open call to knowledgeable parties asking how we get this message out in a way that is accessible and visible to those who can benefit most from it. Yeah, there was some echo chamber in the discussion but overall what came out of the talks was valuable ideas. Ideas that I hope we as a community embrace and make a reality. I for one will be re-focusing my presentation topics in a direction that I believe will help share these ideas and bring the awareness up as a whole.
P.S. Jaime – if you happen to read this and come back thru Dallas, I owe you a dinner so give me a ring. 🙂