And so it begins! The move of the conference to San Jose this year was done under the reason of out-growing Portland, mostly the convention center (which was definitely the case). However, it wasn’t hard to guess that part of the reason for the new location was proximity to O’Reilly’s offices, part of a cost-cutting measure. And in the days leading up to the conference, there were little hints that more cost-cutting was going on, but in a way that hopefully wouldn’t impact the over-all impression of the conference, especially for first-time OSCONers. On day one, a few other changes were evident, the biggest being the lack of food available before the tutorial. They provided coffee, but there was only a conference center breakfast kiosk available, selling $3 muffins. Disappointing, but understandable. In the end, if these measures simply mean that O’Reilly can continue to provide the quality conference we’ve all come to appreciate, than I applaud their efforts. We’ll see as the week progresses.
My first tutorial of the day was “Simplifying Database Design” given by Josh Berkus of PostreSQL Experts, Inc. The talk was geared to people who worked with databases on a regular basis, but learned them on the job, which was the vast majority of the audience. In the end, the information was good and well-presented, but stuff I mostly already knew, or was doing – largely because I’d done it wrong before and finally learned. Still, it was well worth it to know I wasn’t missing anything obvious.
The lunch turned out to be a very nice mix of salads and build-you-own sandwiches, with a selection of cakes for dessert. Everything was good, and I got a chance to talk to a few people. A good start in that department, and it made up a little for the lack of breakfast.
The second/afternoon tutorial for me was “Scaling a Web Application” by Duleepa “Dups” Wijayawardhana. This is a topic area I’m mostly just interested in, rather than needing (things I build tend not to have many users), but I was looking forward to learning things I could do early in a project that wouldn’t take much effort, but would ensure that if things needed to scale, I would at least be partly ready. I took away some useful pointers, with some things I can look at implementing right away, and some other things to play with, including program and query profilers.
All in all, a great start to the week! I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s tutorials, especially the one on API design, and then the rest of the week with the conference proper.