In case you're wondering what went on at Mashup Camp last week, here are some highlights. Camp started with a bang: these are the rules, this is your number, you're in this event, let's begin. People could roam unconferences, attend sessions, SpeedGeek, and compete in the best mashup contest. Activities ranged from optional to mandatory. This event was structured for geeks, by geeks.
Take Speed Geeking. Based on the concept of speed dating, during the speed geeking sessions small groups of people rotated from demo to demo, sampling different technologies in rapid succession. On day one, solution providers had 3 minutes to present their technologies. On day three, mashup contestants had 5 minutes for their demos.
Guiding people through the furious pace was the unmistakable bullhorn of Mashup Camp co-founder David Berlind. With horn in hand, Berlind diligently herded people through speed geeking, capturing key conference moments on the Mashup Camp website throughout the day.
After the SpeedGeeking session, solution providers gave 30-minute "chalk talks" for attendees to gain deeper understanding of the technology introduced during the SpeedGeeking. In addition to the Yahoo! Developer Network, the other solution providers included AOL dev network, Elfenworks (non-profit social justice advocates), Google Geo, IBM, Mozenda (browser-based data mining), radwebtech (data portability advocates), Wetpaint (easily add wiki interaction to a website), and Zembly.
In addition to all the geeking out, there were some quality talks, both formal and informal. On day one, Berlind moderated a panel discussion on Why AJAX Standards Matter. The panel included Jon Ferraiolo, a principle member of the Open AJAX alliance; Christopher Keene, from WaveMaker software, which is producing an open-source AJAX IDE; Nikunj Mehta, from Oracle; and Raymond Yee, UC Berkeley professor who provided an overview on the state of AJAX. The less formal unconferences allowed people to spontaneously present technology topics that mattered to them. People posted their unconference topics on a large white grid on the wall. The conference ended with a keynote by Tim OReilly on The State of the Internet OS (available on slidehsare.net).
The structure of the conference seemed imposing at first, but it worked to ensure fairness in competitive events and efficient exposure to a multitude of new technologies. It also facilitated interaction between potentially introverted attendees. And, at the end of the day, there were several cool new mashups created as part of the Best Mashup Contest . To celebrate, snacks and model airplane kits were served. People had one last chance to mingle with their new friends and discuss the products and services presented. Or, just eat and hack on model airplanes :)
Erik Eldridge, Julie Choi
Yahoo! Developer Network