June 16, 2012

...Learn TDD with Codemanship

Software Craftsmanship 2012 - Thank You

This is just a post to say thank you to everyone involved with Thursday's Software Craftsmanship 2012 conference.

SC2012 was the fourth one I've organised (and the last - more about that later), and it looks like it was possibly also the best. More passionate programmers, bigger and more challenging workshops, a hog roast and a chance to become proud owners of some rare computing and code-breaking history.

170 people gathered for 5 family-sized workshops with a computer science theme to celebrate 100 years since the birth of Alan Turing. They were expertly led by Chris Parsons & Steve Tooke, Hibri Marzook and Paul Shannon, Daan van Berkel, Jamie Dobson & Steve Freeman, and my own session overseen by Clive Evans and Antony Denyer. If you sometimes think hands-on workshops at conferences cater too much for beginners, there was no fear of that at SC2012, as participants flexed their muscles and got to grips with graph theory, cryptography, combinatorial mathematics and three-handed pairing, while simultaneously exercising their TDD, refactoring, CI and DevOps chops.

Our generous sponsors, 7digital, got stuck in and 7digital developers were with us in force. i'm very grateful for their support, and the support of our sponsors at previous conferences. As every penny of the ticket sales go to Bletchley Park, we rely on sponsorship to cover our costs. Without them, we would not have raised over £40,000 for projects at Bletchley Park.

Huge thanks also to the Raspberry Pi Foundation (and especially to Eben Upton, who made a mercy dash all the way from Cambridge to make sure we had a computer to auction - a genuinely very nice man) and to the kind folks at ModMyPi, who donated a unique 3D-printed prototype case (and very spiffy it is, too) for auction. Thanks, too, to The National Museum of Computing for digging up some amazing items like a Colossus valve and an Algol compiler on paper tape. Our auction raised over £1200 for TNMOC, which they plan to invest in Raspberry Pi's and Arduinos for their educational outreach program. TNMOC kindly opened early and late to give participants more time to look around at their extraordinary collection.

Thanks are also due for the brilliant folks at the Bletchley Park Trust for being the perfect hosts, and especially to Claire Urwin (her maiden name - congratulations, Claire!) and her team, who took care of a million and one tiny-but-important details for us. If Codemanship had to bear this burden... well, frankly, I'd rather not think about it!

And a round of applause for our tour guides and the other passionate and selfless volunteers who gave us better service than I've seen from paid staff in many other conference venues. These people care deeply about Bletchley Park and put their heart and soul into keeping it running. This marriage of a community that cares passionately about their discipline and a venue that cares passionately about our computing and mathematical heritage works extremely well. Even though I won't be organising the conference in future, I'll ensure that this marriage continues.

And finally, thanks to everyone who came and supported the conference, not just this year but over all four years I've chaired. I'd be deluded to think that the continued growth of the conference is down to anything else. You make Software Craftsmanship what it is, with your energy and enthusiasm and willingness to get stuck in and be out of your comfort zones, and do it all with humility and good humour. It's been an enormous pleasure to organise these events - one of the highlights of my life so far - and a privilege to meet so many genuinely passionate, talented and just-darned-nice software professionals.

If you were to press me for a definition of a "software craftsman", I don't think I could put it into words. But if anyone asks, I'll tell them to go to the Software Craftsmanship conference, and when they get back, I'll say "you see? - like that!"

Lastly, if you were at the conference, you'll know that Software Craftsmanship now has a new organiser. Codemanship will continue to play a part, and I'll be a very vocal champion for it for as long as it lasts. But SC2013 is in a very good, but hopefully different, pair of hands. I'm keen to see it go from strength to strength, and to see it evolve and surprise us all. but it will also retain some key elements that make it "the Software Craftsmanship conference". Just as Dr Who wouldn't be Dr Who without the police box and the quirky costume and the theme tune, SC2013 will be no doubt quite different, but still fundamentally the same. I'll be making a full announcement as soon as we've squared all the corners.

Assuming civilisation doesn't collapse, I will be at SC2013, and I'm really looking forward to seeing you there.

Posted 8 years, 7 months ago on June 16, 2012