Typemock Sponsors #devLink2010, August 5 – 7th
Location: Nashville, Tennessee – USA
We caught up with devLink Founder and Chairman, John Kellar, to discuss the history of the conference, the development culture in Nashville, organizational challenges, WPF side projects and even the caped crusader himself.
John’s official bio:
John Kellar is the Director of Software Development and Consulting for Useful Devices Inc. (www.usefuldevices.com). In addition to being Founder and Chairman of the devLink Technical Conference (www.devlink.net), he is a member of the Nashville .NET User Group (www.nashdotnet.org) Board of Directors and a speaker at technical events. John has worked on applications in several markets including healthcare, government, financial services and manufacturing. You can view his blog at http://www.johnkellar.com.
TM: John, tell us about your personal journey from technology enthusiast to professional developer to event organizer.
JK: Well if you want to way back, I wrote my first program back in the 80s as a kid on a old Texas Instruments system, saving it to a cassette tape.
I got my real professional training when I was in the Navy and loved it so much I decided to pursue it in the civilian world. After several years developing I wanted to keep my skills up to date and heard about a fellow by the name of Mike Wiley looking to start a User Group in Little Rock (Arkansas).
Long story short, we ended up working together with some other folks and created the Little Rock .NET User Group. I love learning and started speaking some on topics I was familiar with.
To celebrate our first year we put on an all day event with a single track called Tech Expo and had tremendous success. The next year we did it again and had an even greater turnout.
When I moved to Nashville I got involved with the User Group there as well, but wanted to recreate the mini conference similar to what we did in Little Rock. So I worked with a guy named Tommy Norman who was already plugged into the Nashville community and created the Devlink Technical Conference. From there it has grown into a large regional conference with hundreds of industry professionals attending every year.
TM: what’s the development culture like in the Nashville area?
JK: Nashville is a unique area in that it is very heavy in the Microsoft .NET arena. I’m not sure why certain cities tend to be stronger in a specific technology than others, but Nashville it definitely a big Microsoft town. Nashville has a pretty good mix of development philosophies and an active community full of developers looking to expand their knowledge.
TM: what challenges did you face while organizing the event?
JK: There are so many it is hard to identify just a few. Running a conference is not unlike building software, you understand the processes that need to take place and figure out how to streamline them. Sometimes you have to make the hard decisions and cut things that you really want to do. Every year we think about how we can make things better and add new things that we really want to do. As we are able, through sponsorship dollars, we add more and more. Essentially we work from the fund it first mentality so we (hopefully) never promise something that we cannot deliver.
TM: which topics are you looking forward to learning more about at the event?
JK: Well, I don’t get to sit through many sessions because it is time consuming running an event. By the second day the core folks are all running on adrenaline, so to sit in a session is tough. I have a number of sessions that I would love to see and if I can find a way, I will squeeze into them the best I can.
TM: which technologies interest you most and why?
JK: Personally, I think WPF and Silverlight primarily because they are going to take the User Interface to the next level. You can do so much more than was possible with older technologies. I also have an interest in digging more into iPhone and Android, but there are only so many hours in the day.
TM: any interesting side projects to promote?
JK: I have been working on some game development with WPF which has been great fun. Some of that work was leveraging the 3D capabilities which has been an amazing learning experience for me.
TM: last question: who’s your favorite superhero?
JK: Batman, because he has the best gadgets.
TM: LOL, yes his gadgets rock!
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If you would like to know more about how Typemock Isolator makes unit testing so easy, or if you have an event you would like us to sponsor please email me at britt [at] typemock [dot] com and let’s chat about it.