If you listened to the last podcast episode (go ahead if you haven't; I'll wait), you'll know that I spoke at the edUi Conference in Charlottesville on the 24th of October. This is a designer/content manager conference, but they do occasionally have programming or networking talks, and I was lucky enough to get a speaking slot for my work at UVA's School of Medicine--specifically, the educational testing system that my team and I rebuilt.
I didn't attend the entire conference; I actually only went for my talk, and I attended on the last day to see Peter Vogel's talk since we had similar content. The talk itself went well, in my opinion. The conference organizers use SpeakerRate, and apparently my talk is sitting at 4.6 out of 5--although those numbers are completely arbitrary and depend on the motivation of the attendees to leave a rating.
I was hesitant to speak at edUi because of how much it was focused on the frontend. Most of the attendees are not programmers at all, but WordPress or Drupal managers. A large subsection of the audience actually came from libraries across many university, and a few of the library talks were pretty interesting, from what I heard. I actually think libraries are an underserved community at technology conferences.
We didn't have any technical difficulties, but I will say that the rooms had some odd setups. Anybody beyond the first three or four rows at my talk could only see half the projector screen containing the presentation, as the screen was extremely low. This is especially a problem when the audience is packed. We had great attendance.
How would I gauge the attendees though? About 25% of the people were programmers, who knew what we were talking about, and appreciated the advanced topic. About 50% of the audience weren't necessarily programmers, but were interested, and appreciated the exposure. Another 25%, however, were probably lost. One person left a negative comment about how it was over his head. That same person showed up in Peter Vogel's talk, and said he didn't know what source control was, so that tells you about all you need to know.
As I mentioned above, I only attended two talks, and barely participated in the rest of the conference. Unfortunately, this was mostly out of necessity, as I had a ton of work to do, and we had co-workers joining us that week from Chicago and Northern Virginia. I was also participating in leadership skills training, so productivity was at a low point that week because of all the commitments. The School of Medicine did, however, send 9 other people, all of whom, got at least a little something out of the conference.
Despite the setup issues, the venue was pretty good. You can't go wrong with downtown Charlottesville; it's a college town, but also an artsy town--lots of craft beer, lots of authenticity, and a ton of music. I don't get to spend much time downtown because I live an hour away over a mountain, and with toddlers, it's too hard to time things right between naps and food, but the few times I've been down there, it can be a lot of fun.
In any event, with the kids getting older, I plan to hit more and more of the conference circuit--speaking when I can. In the meantime, if you're interested in the TypeScript talk I gave, you can check out the slides in my OneDrive.