I'm a huge fan of conferences: I find it to be an excellent way of absorbing new ideas, and meeting new people who deal with things which may be outside of your comfort zone. I especially like community conferences, as they tend to be far more relaxed, inclusive, and untainted by corporate interests.
That's why I really love WebCamp Ljubljana: it ticks all of the checkboxes above, and I really find the community over there interesting and inspiring. I've tried to visit most (if not all) of the editions so far, and it was nice seeing it grow from a tiny barcamp to a decently sized conference without losing any of the positive vibe.
Eight of us from several programming communities from Zagreb decided to rent a van and visit this year's edition.
Due to almost-standard last-minute preps for my talk, I had to miss two interesting talks, but I did manage to catch Luka's talk titled "What to do when a client wants to serve 110 million geotargeted banners from a VPS?", and Domen's talk on revolutions in Linux distributions, both of which were really really good and informative.
Although Domen's talk covered a LOT more ground than just NixOS, one of my main takeaways and the primary to-do list item is checking out NixOS in a bit more detail. It seems like a potentially excellent take on package and configuration management at the OS-level.
Luka's talk was an interesting mixture of advice on soft- and hard-skills, but I think it primarily served as a reminder we shouldn't ignore the non-tech aspects of our field and be afraid of stepping outside of our comfort zone when we're trying to solve a problem. It reminded me of, and motivated me to re-read The Ten Commandments of Egoless Programming.
This year I gave a talk on Clojure which was a bit of a different take on the identically named and themed talk from WebCamp Zagreb. I definitely liked this version of the talk better, and it seemed to be accepted well by the audience — hopefully the audience shared my positive sentiments.
Lightning talks held after the lunch break were also fun: I love the way the organizers made sure the talks really were "lightning", and thus were all presented from a single laptop, with a person from the organizing committee changing slides and making sure everyone gets at most 5 minutes for their talk. Željko, another member of our delegation from Zagreb, gave a lightning talk on solving Rubik's cubes.
Ivan also represented the Croatian community and held a lightning talk on WebCamp Zagreb, a not-entirely-different conference taking place in Zagreb on October 3rd & 4th. We (Ivan, Luka and I) had five tickets for the conference to give out during our talks, and it was nice to see there was interest from our friends and colleagues from neighboring countries. Yay!
Our friends from PHP Srbija, the Serbian PHP community presented their conference on software architecture and design patterns called SoliDay. The lineup at that conference is amazing, and I'll definitely go and visit.
The sponsors were quite interesting, thus I finally had the chance to try CogniTea. It's tastier than it sounds, and I like the concept a lot. Unfortunately, their intl. shipping is a bit too much, but I might give it a go every now and then.
All in all, I've enjoyed the conference, and I'm looking forward to upcoming editions. I've managed to catch up with a lot of familiar folks, and have a chat with some new people as well, which definitely made the trip to Ljubljana worth it.