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BarCampNOLA 2008

Comit Technologies team members present at BarCampNOLA 2008 and participate in "Hack Day."

Comit Technologies president Spencer Hoyt and programmers Aaron Lozier and Travis Boudreax traveled to New Orleans the weekend of February 16-17th to participate in the first “BarCamp” in South Louisiana.  Travis and Aaron gave a presentation on Saturday of their newly developed “Aquedux” design pattern, which is currently being developed as a rapid development tool for Comit’s custom applications including SEOT’s CORE II and Acropolis E-Commerce Software.  In addition, Aaron and Spencer participated in the “Hack Day” on Sunday, helping to optimize and add new functionalities to a local free festival, the Bayou Boogaloo.

Background of BarCamp

The name "BarCamp" is a playful allusion to the event's origins, with reference to the hacker slang term, foobar: BarCamp arose as a spin-off of Foo Camp, an annual invitation-only participant driven conference hosted by open source publishing luminary Tim O'Reilly.

The first BarCamp was held in Palo Alto, California, from August 19-21, 2005, in the offices of Socialtext. It was organized in less than one week, from concept to event, with 200 attendees. Since then, BarCamps have been held in over 31 cities around the world, in North America, South America, Africa, Europe, Australasia and Asia. To mark the one-year anniversary of BarCamp, BarCampEarth was held in multiple locations world wide on August 25-27, 2006.

About BarCampNola

BarcampNOLA (BarCamp – New Orleans) was hosted by New Orleans based Voodoo Ventures, who volunteered their office space for the over 30 attendees who would eventually participate.  Brian Oberkirch, Chris Schultz, and Blake Haney were kind enough to contribute their time and energy to this event, as well as to arrange catering that kept the participants fed and energized throughout the weekend.

In addition, BarCampNOLA had a list of notable sponsors, which included Flatsourcing.com, Willdo, Annunciate, Advantage Capital Partners, Idea Village,Tulane Entrepreneurship Ass., small good thing, Blutique, Offbeat, OK Mango, Techcrunch, Automattic, Joyent, and An Event Apart.

Highlights from Saturday’s Workshops

Chris Oberlich gave a great presentation on the future and challenges of social media.  He talked a lot about the growing support for OpenID to reduce the need to constantly repeat oneself when joining new sites and services.  He also talked about alternative forms of authentication, some good (like integrating with FaceBook’s API), some bad (like asking users to give their Gmail username and password.)  Oberlich also talked a bit about microformats, which embed human relationship into standard markup and offer a “transitional strategy” towards a Semantic Web.  The slideshow he used in the presentation can be found here.

Next, Travis Boudreax and Aaron Lozier gave a presentation on Aquedux, a design pattern built upon CakePHP and JQuery.  After giving a brief overview about both platforms, and the general problem of rich internet application development, they demonstrated a sample cookbook application built in Aquedux.  The page never reloaded, but they were able to demonstrate a “flow” from one element of the application to the next, dynamically adding, updating and deleting records.  They hope to demonstrate the process for creating an Aquedux application from scratch at an upcoming barCamp or webcast near you.

David Herrold of the Houston Chronicle talked about the process of developing web content for mobile devices, and specifically the different ways in which the developers at Chron.com have attempted to capitalize upon this rapidly growing market with the information already available on their newspaper website. This presentation was followed by Steven Evatt of Chron.com, who spoke about search engine optimization.

Matthew Tritico gave an introductory presentation on Grails, formerly known as Groovy on Rails until they had to change the name to assuage the “Ruby on Rails” folks.  Groovy is a Java based language, and Grails is basically, well, Rails.  Matt created an application from scratch, and while it was mostly similar to Ruby on Rails or CakePHP, the IntellijIDEA IDE was particularly impressive in terms of keeping ones code organized and providing easy access to domains (models), views and controllers from the top menu. 

Sunday’s “Hack Day”

On Sunday Spencer Hoyt and Aaron Lozier worked with a team of web developers, designers and marketers on a project called “Bayou Boogaloo,” which is a free music festival to be held in New Orleans in May.  The day started with brainstorming how the site could be better monetized to raise money for the festival, as well as generally to increase the sites performance in the search engines and visibility.  Aaron Lozier and Spencer Hoyt worked on integrating a few helpful Wordpess plugins to improve the SEO aspects of the site as well as social media or “bookmarking links.”  They also installed stats tracking and a google sitemap, which will further benefit the marketing efforts of the site.

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