Over the weekend I attended a new conference up in Auckland organised by two stellar dudes Ben Gracewood and Ian Randall. It was exceptionally well organised, the speakers were awesome, the swag bag had some cool gear and the after party rocked long into the night.

The day kicked off with an awesome keynote by Phil Haack about work/life balance and doing what you love, followed by Michael Koziarski talking about what its like to maintain an extremely large open source project. This was followed by a panel discussion with four of the speakers which covered diversity in the software industry and how to deal with hating your work.

The first talk I attended was by Damian Edwards and he proceed to very quickly bash out both web and desktop apps that communicated using SignalR. I had read alot previously about SignalR but never had the chance to get my hands dirty with it. It was excellent to see someone demonstrate something that they have built and who is extremely passionate about it.

Next up was Sam Saffron talking about web performance. His main topic of the talk was on client performance and how this can make the most difference when performance tuning your site, in terms of how the site feels to end users. Alot of good points in this talk, he provided an excellent list of resources here

After an excellent lunch we kicked back into it with a talk from Aaron Morton about Cassandra. This talk covered alot of information in a very short space of time. I managed to glean some information on the inner workings of Cassandra though, looks very intriguing.

Then Karl von Randow took the stage and covered lessons learned from mobile development. I quite liked this talk, not technical but was very interesting to hear what actually is important to your end users in the scope of a successful mobile application.

The second to last talk was from Ivan Towlson with the a talk on “How not to write a for loop”. Ivan covered some basic imperitave programming examples and how using functional programming can allow you to be more expressive and get across the intent of your code more easily. Ivan is an excellent speaker and is always good to see.

Last up was Mike Brown with the final talk of the day. It was entitled “We’re alone, we’re screwed and you have to live your life over and over and over again. Like, for eternity.” It was pretty intersting and would not have been out of place at a TED event. An excellent way to finish the conference.

After the day had wrapped up we headed off to a local bar for some celebratory drinks, and then the most dedicated of code maniacs headed off into town for more partying. Cheers to Ben Gracewood and Ian Randall for an awesome conference and awesome swag