Category Archives: Conference Review

1DevDay Detroit

Coming from near Columbus, OH we drove I-75 north to get to Detroit to get to the 1DevDay conference. It’s a smooth, easy drive that, in the absence of our talkative toddler, allowed my wife and I to have the longest real discussion we’ve had in months. Talking through Bowling Green and Toledo, the conversation waned as we finally neared Detroit leaving us to watch as an increasing number of giant auto manufacturing plants rolled by. Falling to complete silence to listen to the GPS guide us to the Courtyard Marriot facing the GM building, we slipped through downtown Detroit easily. The only real action we detected was the line of gamblers and diners waiting to get parked in Greektown and the automated, mostly vacant People Mover rumbling past overhead. I asked my wife “see what I mean, it seems so empty doesn’t it?”

The truth is that I was wrong. Detroit has problems but it is not devoid of all life. 1DevDay organizer David McKinnon, a corps of dedicated volunteers, a healthy roster of sponsors and 650 local software developers meeting in Detroit on a Saturday combined to demonstrate to me that there is vibrancy in Detroit.

1DevDay is a multi-platform conference for software developers and so it came with all the technical trimmings. I poured over the schedule making hard decisions like skipping Magnus Stahre’s “Git Gone Wild: Recover from Common Git Mistakes” talk, Jessica Kerr’s “Functional Principles for OO Development” talk and even having to pass on seeing Dean Wampler talk about “Map Reduce”.  I get to attend many conferences in a typical year, so I skipped the gold-mine of technical know-how collected at 1DevDay and looked for something more.

What I found was a community. Throughout the day I kept running into examples of people who are working hard “to build a software developer community in the Detroit area that is regarded as the best in the world”, as is included in the mission of 1DevDay Detroit.

David McKinnon is bold to publicize this grand goal but he does have support. The conference brought in many others who have an urgent need to attract more and better software developers. In the afternoon, I listened to Prabodh Deshmukh and Vani Yalamanchili  boast about the massive IT transformation that is happening at GM. Through their upbeat yet detailed presentation they proved that GM is using industry standard development practices on the desktop, on the web and on mobile devices and invited developers to consider working with them. In the morning Paul Czarnik, CTO of Compuware, walked me and thirty other enthusiastic people through a vibrant panel discussion on growing and educating software developers that spilled into a double session. I witnessed Erika Carlson and Michelle Srbinovich, founders of the Detroit chapter of Girl Develop It, handle equal parts managing their sponsor booth, attending sessions and discussing their work, passionately, with many conference attendees. Even the keynote speakers—the internationally acclaimed Ted Neward and Chad Fowler—were synchronized with the community in Detroit, capping the conference in speeches that offered advice on what Detroit developers need to become more competitive.

So I found people deeply involved with building a community of software developers every where I looked at 1DevDay Detroit. I found this in spite of the hardcore technical sessions, vendors and job recruiters that usually keep all of my attention at conferences. The feel of community was too strong in Detroit to ignore. So if you haven’t attended 1DevDay Detroit before, consider going this year. It’s worth the trip for the technical content alone, yet pays out (unlike the casinos in Greektown) winnings once you encounter the community surrounding and supporting the conference.

NOTE: My apologies to David McKinnon and crew for not publishing this closer to the conference. See the post Hiatus for more on why there was a delay.



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CocoaConf: An iPhone/iPad/Mac Developer Treat

Presentations on timely programming techniques blended with up-to-date iOS and OS X discussion to bake up the second year of CocoaConf in Ohio. The “conference for iPhone, iPad and Mac developers” made one of its five 2012 tour stops in Dublin, Ohio at the Crowne Plaza hotel. Approximately 100* eager local developers, industry luminaries and regionally respected consultants and authors converged for a full day of tutorials and two days of sessions from August 9th – 11th. Two more stops are planned this year in Portland, OR from October 25-27 and in Raleigh, NC at an undetermined date.

The conference kicked off on Thursday with full day tutorials taught by veteran speakers Bill Dudney and Chris Adamson. First day attendees had their choice of a full day learning either the nuts and bolts of iOS development (Dudney) or the advanced topic of programming with the Core Audio API (Adamson). If you were at Adamson’s Core Audio tutorial or just want to explore the code from it, you can get a zip of the sample project on his blog [Time code];.

Tutorials were followed up on Friday and Saturday with mostly 60 minute and a few 90 minute sessions. Topics ranged across the OS X and iOS APIs in both introductory and advanced fashion. Doses of standard programming practices such as debugging, profiling and testing and a generous portion of the latest developments in XCode 4.4 and Objective-C were handed out equally throughout the two days of sessions. You can check out a complete listing of sessions here.

To get the most current information on future events and registration details, visit You can view more images from the 2012 Columbus stop on

CocoaConf Columbus 2013?

Absolutely. The conference’s organizer, Dave Klein, gave me a definitive answer to that and other questions after this post was first published. Dave said that CocoaConf will definitely be back in Columbus in 2013, although most likely in early Fall. Dave is actively soliciting new speakers on the tour and loves to book your favorites. So if you have an iPhone/iPad/Mac developer guru that you would like to see on the tour next year just tweet your suggestion to @cocoaconf. And if you don’t see your nearest metropolitan area on the tour for 2012, you can suggest it here.

If you have attended a CocoaConf event in the past, let us know what you thought of it in the comments below.


* This number was originally 200 and was corrected on 8/20/2012.

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