Developer Day: Year in Review

Ben Scofield, Former Viget

Article Category: #News & Culture

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We've said for years that Viget loves developers, and 2009 illustrated that more than ever. Together with Relevance (a top-notch technology company near our Durham office), we launched a series of events aimed squarely at the developer community: Developer Day.

Developer Day attendees

We created Developer Day in order to fill a particular need. Regional (and larger) conferences are wonderful, but they have a couple of drawbacks: they're generally focused on a specific developer community, and they draw speakers and attendees from a large area. You can connect with a ton of interesting Rubyists at the Ruby Hoedown, for instance, but after the conference you all fly home. We wanted to create the sort of event where the connections you make on the day can be strengthened in the weeks and months afterward, where the attendees and speakers all live within an hour or two of each other. We also wanted to bridge the gap between various communities, since we're generally all dealing with similar sorts of problems.

With those things in mind, we came up with the idea of Developer Day - a low-cost, one-day, technology-agnostic, local series of events. We held the first in Durham on March 21st, with Andy Hunt keynoting and six speakers from Viget and Relevance. On May 30th, we then took the show to Viget's headquarters outside of DC, with our first non-Viget/Relevance local speakers and keynotes from Jay Virdy and Russ Olsen. After the success of our first two events, we decided to expand even further, so in August and October we went to Boston and Boulder, respectively, and put on a great show in each city. Each event had more great local speakers, and more fantastic keynotes (including Stu Halloway, John Resig, Chad Fowler, and Bruce Eckel)

There have been a number of fantastic talks over the past four events, on subjects including CSS3, JavaScript, Python, Ruby, .Net, Scala, functional programming, git, and more. We think there's more to do, however – more cross-community building to do, more great speakers to hear, and more hotspots of technical talent to visit, so our plans for 2010 are bigger and better than ever. Stay tuned for my next post to get a sneak peek!

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