Thursday, October 15, 2009

SWFox Conference Begins

Right before SWFox Keynote The 2009 Southwest Fox conference began with a great keynote presentation. The conference is organized by Geek Events which is a group of three Visual FoxPro MVPs; Tamar Granor, Doug Hennig and Rick Schummer. Unlike most keynotes this one includes a bunch of personal touches. The conference statistics are discussed right up front. This year there are 88 attendees from 7 different countries, 19 speakers, 9 sponsors and only 2 additional staff people.

Several awards are also presented to the community during the introductions. First off the VFPX Outstanding Service award went to Cesar Chalom who contributes to the GDI Plus X and FoxCharts projects. Next up was the Ceil Silver Ambassador award which goes to an international member of the community and pays for them to come to the conference. This is the inaugural award and it went to Emerson Santon Reed from Brazil. Finally the award for most popular speaker for the 2008 conference, as determined by the attendee evaluations, was Cathy Pountney.

After all the conference business the keynote speaker Sara Ford from Microsoft was introduced. Sara is the project manager for CodePlex which is Microsoft's open source community. The title of the keynote "Towards a Stronger Open Source Ecosystem on". Sara is the self-titled "Queen of Open Source at Microsoft" and she has made a lot of effort into understanding how the Open Source community works.

Sara is a high energy and dynamic speaker and she covered many topics using many stories. She discussed the process of bringing more open source awareness to Microsoft which she discussed in detail in this video. Overall I found her discussion of open source very interesting and it is great to see that Microsoft is supporting open source development. Just as interesting though was her discussion of how the CodePlex site is developed. They use agile development processes so a release is done every three weeks. This was a big change for her since she came from the Visual Studio team which has an 18 – 24 month release cycle. The entire keynote was broadcast live over UStream and you can view the recording here.

Sessions begin at 8:30 on Friday and I will be attending a few of the sessions.

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