Conference wrap-up: Schematic Tech Summit 2008

As I write this, I'm in flight back to Atlanta from the first annual Schematic Technology Summit, which was held in San Jose, Costa Rica at the La Condesa hotel and resort. What an incredible event. Everyday, I get to work with all sorts of smart, passionate technical minds from many disciplines. The Schematic Technology Department is made up of about 90 people across our New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Austin, Minneapolis, London, and San Jose, Costa Rica offices. The past four days have seen all of those 90 people in the same place -- quite an accomplishment!

An equally impressive accomplishment is that we had over 70 presentations from 45 speakers across seven different disciplines. Internally, we're made up of PHP, Java, .Net, Silverlight, Flash, and HTML/Javascript developers. We also have a team of Solutions Architects across the globe, as well as Quality Assurance Analysts. Also represented was the Schematic Technology Management team, of which I'm a part of, in addition to being the Platform Chair of our Open Source Platforms Group (the PHP team).

We've been planning this event since about May of this year. We opened up a call for proposals to all technology Platform Groups, sifted through all of the submissions, chose from them, and worked out a schedule. All of these talks were spread out over six different rooms, ranging from small to large.

As OSPG Platform Chair, I was responsible for all or part of a total of seven different presentations. I presented:

  • Opening keynote (OSPG portion)
  • Zend Framework: A Look Back (and Forward)
  • State of phplib (our internal PHP code library, modeled after Zend Framework)
  • Abracadabra!: Mastering Unix Shell Scripting
  • Shrinking Your Static Stuff
  • Load Testing Introduction
  • Open discussion (discussed various OSPG and PHP topics)

I actually won an award for "most prolific" speaker since I had the largest amount of presentations on the schedule. My fellow OSPG teammates also presented:

  • Joseph Jorgensen: Flash Remoting with AMFPHP
  • Pablo Viquez: PHAR: PHP's Self-Contained Archives (and a short spanish lesson!)
  • Maggie Nelson, David Mora: Be The Database! (theme song included)
  • Karolina Hidalgo: MVC (.Net and PHP comparison)
  • Ben Ramsey: You Look Like You Could Use Some REST! REST and the Resource-Oriented Architecture Explained and Web Application Security 101
  • Megan McNulty, Jim Connell: "I Can Haz App Enjun?" (intro to Google App Engine)

Special thanks to all of them for their hard work in proposing talks and ultimately preparing them! For the rest of you that we couldn't accept, we'll get you on the books for 2009!

I also attended many other talks (when I wasn't speaking myself!), such as:

  • Robert Reinhardt: Personal Brand Building
  • Michelle Kempner, Schematic SA Group: Diagramming Pictionary
  • Schematic SA Group: SA Rapid Fire Show and Tell

My Atlanta cohorts, Ryan Taylor, Corey Schuman and Brandon Dement spoke on "PixelBender Unleashed," "WPF," and "Automation" respectively. Good stuff, guys! ATL represent!

In our spare time, the group could be found in the hotel casino, drinking in one of the bars, or playing ping pong (New York won the first office ping pong tournament!). We also took a group outing to La Paz Waterfall Gardens on Saturday afternoon. We survived the bus ride up, down, and through mountains to reach our destination, which is filled with some amazing waterfalls, monkeys, butterflies, hummingbirds, and other awesome rainforest stuff. We all hiked through the trails and paths winding through the rainforest, checking out a handful of amazing waterfalls. I don't know about the rest of you Schemers, but that trip reminded me just how out of shape I am. Mowing the yard isn't enough for exercise!

Also, a huge thanks to our event planners Kimberly Brown and Viria Azofeifa, as well as Yvette Pasqua, Jason Buzzeo, Larry Davidson, and Chris Bray for driving this thing! You all rocked it.

Anyways, just a little wrap-up from me! I'm excited to see how things might come together to hold the second annual Schematicon in 2009! Don't forget to relive the action on Twitter (#schematicon08 and #squarecon08) and Flickr (schematicon08).