MeshU, which took place on the day before the Mesh Conference here in Toronto, was a developer focused mini-conference with 3 streams of sessions. Each stream had a distinct focus such as: development, design and management. While the Mesh Conference is in its third year, this was the first ever MeshU, so I was curious to see how well things would go.
There was a lot of variety in attendees, with people from management, sales, and development and from varying sizes of companies in attendance. One of the biggest reasons people had for coming to MeshU was the unique lineup of speakers, especially for a Canadian conference.
After much deliberation and coin flipping, I settled on attending: Avi Bryant’s “Turning the Tables: Moving Beyond Relational Storage”, Daniel Burka’s “Iterative Design Strategies”, Alistair Croll?s ?Watch It ? How to Monitor Web Applications?, and Ryan Carson’s “How to Start Your Own Start?up”.
Avi Bryant really did change my view on relational databases. For most web applications, storing data is done with databases such as MySQL, Oracle, and Microsoft SQL. Avi challenged this and described how large web companies (Yahoo, Google, Amazon) approach this, and then described what smaller companies can possibly learn from the large companies.
The “Iterative Design Strategy” session was packed, and I ended up joining more then half the audience on the floor. Daniel Burka did not disappoint his audience, as he explored what iterative design meant to him. The example he used was the iterations of Digg’s comment system.
Alistair Croll’s powerpoint on monitoring web applications numbered 135 slides, he just had that much information. The slides covered the types of tools available for monitoring web sites and the kind of information they give. He weighed the pros and cons of every type of monitoring tool, and left everyone with an understanding of why and how they should monitor their websites.
I finished off my day with Ryan Carson?s presentation on starting/running a startup. At the end of it, I think a lot of people had the urge to apply for a job at Carsonified (they give iPhones, 30″ screens and Aeron Chair to all their employees). His ideas and comments, while not revolutionary, were still of use to a lot of people. I can summarize it in two words: “Be Friendly”.
The MeshU organizers did a good job of getting an awesome lineup of speakers, and promoting a relaxed more workshop feel to the day. I will certainly be there next year.