No, Chariot Day is not a group of Ben Hur enthusiasts reenacting Roman-era racing. Chariot Day is a one day technical conference put on by the techies at my company, Chariot Solutions, on a Saturday. To borrow a phrase, Chariot Day is of the people, by the people, for the people. It is loose, it is informative and it is fun. It’s a chance to catch up with all of the other Chariot Solutions consultants who are spread out at clients throughout the greater Philadelphia area.
Some of the things that make Chariot Day a big success are:
Content – The sessions range from highly polished, conference-ready presentations to less polished, more impromptu “stunt coding”, but the one thing that is common is the high quality of the content. The reason the content is so good is that it is very evident that the developers are passionate about the technologies they are talking about. I get excited about things at Chariot Day because the presenters are so excited. This year’s topics were:
- Building Real-Time Web Applications
- Real world Hadoop
- Programming Environments Designed for Children
- jQuery Mobile + Backbone.js
- Griffon – Making Java Desktop Development Groovy
- Sencha Touch
- Tech Radar
- ByteBuffers and Off Heap Memory
- One month with Arduino
- NoSQL: Cool vs. Real
- Andriod 101 (lab)
- Partitioning & Scaling Batch Processing to the Cloud
- CPU Caches
- Introducing KIF
I came out of Chariot Day wanting to build a system that had a Griffon front end with a Hadoop data store using a Redis cache that was written in Scala and tested using KIF all running on an Ardiuno processor. Of course that stack isn’t actually possible, but that’s how diverse the presentations were.
Participation — We had 38 attendees and 15 presentations. We ran 3 concurrent tracks of presentations all day. That represents about 90% of the consultants attending and a little less than half presenting. It is exciting that that many people came and were willing to present. It is really valuable to get up in front of your peers and tell them about technologies you think are important.
Fun Factor — There was breakfast, lunch, and snacks served and the food was quite good. We have a special “limited edition” Chariot Day t-shirt designed and printed each year. This year’s shirt was really cool. There is a book buy where you can order any technical book you want and pick it up on Chariot Day. There is always some kind of interesting mad scientist project demonstrated; this year’s Arduino talk featured a fully automatic Nerf gun that could be controlled via a web browser. We have a crazy Quizzo game at the end of the day with questions about topics discussed during the day. In short, it is a lot of fun.
It is easy to brag about Chariot Day because that is really bragging about my colleagues who truly are top notch. Their creativity and passion for continual learning is what makes Chariot Day a success.