TechBash 2016 After-Action Report


I just left the first ever TechBash software development conference at the Kalahari water park resort in the Pocono mountains. It was a community-run event with about 150 attendees and the sessions mostly focused on Microsoft tech.

open source talk

Logistics

The resort and conference center was great (as expected). The waterpark is huge and once they finish the second phase of construction, it will be the largest in North America.

water park

Sessions

You can check out the session content on GitHub. Here are notes on some of the sessions I attended.

Keynote: A few of my favorite things

Pete Brown from MSFT demonstrated a bunch of the latest IoT stuff all the the theme of 80's nostalgia. He capped it off with a homage to Stranger Things by blinking some lights like they did on the show.

internet of stranger things

Developing for Mixed Reality with HoloLens

Overview of the HoloLens product and developer experience. I got to try one out very briefly and it was very impressive. The holographic field of view is small so you need to move your head around a lot. At $3,000 I think it will be much more successful in industrial and marketing (i.e. showroom) applications then as a consumer device.

hololens

Instrumenting apps with the ELK stack

The ELK (or Elastic) stack is ElasticSearch, LogStash, and Kibana. Together they help solve the problem of collecting log files from many servers and turning that raw data into actionable information. The flow was log4net -> LogStash (collects and processed logs) -> ElasticSearch (JSON document search engine) -> Kibana (dashboard and ad-hoc query app). All these tools work very well together.

Other sessions (that went well)

Conclusion

Overall TechBash was an afforable and fun community developer event. The organizers (who did a great job) announced that TechBash 2017 will go down October 4-6. I expect more people to attend next year as word gets out.

My feedback for the organizers was that they should ask speakers to indicate the depth / requisite experience for their talks. I found myself in way too many introductory talks than I expected.

The laid-back, friendly vibe of the conference wast the best part. Will I be there next year? I hope so.

Group Shot

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