The leadup to WebDU: web conference with a differenceBy Kay Smoljak
The time for WebDU, Australia’s only web conference with a dedicated ColdFusion track, is just around the corner. The fun starts next week with workshops on the 11th of June followed by the conference itself on the 12th and 13th, at the Sydney Convention Centre. I’ll be there to cover all the action for SitePoint.
First up, the workshops. You can signup for a full day of Flash, Flex, or FarCry – but I hear the one NOT to miss is Mark Mandel’s session on the Transfer ORM framework. Mark will take participants through building a sample application with Transfer, including Eclipse setup, Transfer installation and configuration, basic usage and some of the more advanced stuff too – to “drastically cut down the amount of SQL and ColdFusion you need to write”. In actual fact I’m very sorry that I can’t manage to get there in time for this one – Mark keeps hassling me to try out Transfer and it’s something I definitely want to do.
On the evening of the 11th, Robin Hilliard is going to be running CODE WAR at the Connections Bar at Crowne Plaza Darling Harbour. Eight teams of 2-4 members will be competing in “head-to-head sudden death matches” to determine the winner of the “inaugural Australia New Zealand Code War Trophy” – a prospect that’s both terrifying and intriguing, especially as Robin promises there will be a supplementary prize for the best team costume and a wooden spoon for the “ugliest solution”.
The conference itself is on the Thursday and Friday. The program looks pretty packed, and with four streams (Flash/Flex, RIA/AIR/JS, ColdFusion and WE, which I assume is “Web Essentials” or something similar) it’s going to be difficult to pick a session at some times. Being a CF coder, that’s obviously what I’m most likely to go to, but with Lisa Herrod speaking on user testing at the same time as Adam Lehman on ColdSpring powered Fusebox applications and Patrick Kennedy speaking on information architecture opposite Kai Koenig on Internationalisation, there will be some really tough decisions to make. Not fair!
On Thursday night, there’s a special event on for conference attendees. In previous years, the WebDU team have put on a banquet, that you could buy tickets for as an “extra” when you bought your conference tickets. This year however, they’ve booked out the Kingpin Bowling Lounge in Darling Harbour and all conference delegates are welcome to bowl, play pool or shoot each other in laser skirmish until the wee hours. It sounds like a ton of fun and with food and drinks free from 7.30pm until 10.30pm it could get messy. I’m not a bowler and my first person shooter skills suck, but you’re welcome to challenge me to a game of pool.
The other aspect of WebDU that has everyone talking is the WebDU trading card game. Kai Koenig and the Nectarine team have developed something that can only be described as a cross between Magic the Gathering, Pokeman and… I don’t know, whatever the nerdiest, geekiest ColdFusion-related thing is that you can think of. Essentially the aim of the game is to beg, borrow or steal (or trade) cards with other players, then hand your cards in at the end of the conference, with prizes going to the high scorers. The cards that have been sneak-previewed look pretty funny – see cards for conference organiser Geoff Bowers, Kai and Adobe’s Tim Buntel.
The conference will again close this year with a speaker roundtable. This is something that WebDU always does that is a bit different – all the speakers assemble on stage, and Geoff Bowers runs around with a microphone, Jerry Springer style, and takes questions from the audience. Although it only goes for an hour it’s an interesting session and usually a good note to end on.
So it’s all on next week – tickets are still available if you’re thinking about going. If you are there and you see me, come and say hi – as the girl with purple hair I’m hard to miss. Or if you’re not going, leave a comment and tell me which sessions you’d most like to see reports on.