Thursday, 16 February 2012

Snowcode 2012

Snowcode is an awesome combination of skiing holiday, unconference and hack camp. Snowcode was started in 2010 as an experiment, organized by Alan Hemmings whom you may know from the Cambridge .NET User Group. We did it again in 2011, and in the spirit of continuous improvement, we're making a couple of changes to the format this year. We have a new venue - Chalet Joseph in Morzine - and we're going to try a more focused approach to the "code" part of Snowcode. Previously, we've used an "anything goes" unconference format, which has led to workshops on OpenRasta and REST frameworks, WaTIR, ASP.NET MVC, MongoDB, automated acceptance testing, and lots of good code and great ideas.

This year, it's JavaScript all the way - from deep-diving into the obscure corners of pure JavaScript to the latest JS frameworks and tools such as node.js, CoffeeScript, Backbone, Knockout - and, of course, jQuery. We'll discuss them, we'll play with them, and we'll work out fun ways to glue them together to build apps, websites, services and games.

One of the things we've struggled with on previous Snowcode events is sustaining the unconference format over an entire week, and so I'm really excited to announce that Alan has invited Pete Mounce and I to coordinate the "code" part of Snowcode 2012. Pete and I are preparing a programme that will provide a little more structure to the week, but still be modular enough that people can dip in and out, participating in the bits that interest them. If you're exhausted from a day on the snow and want to skip a session, that's fine - and if we find ourselves going off on interesting tangents - no problem. We're here to have fun and to learn. (And to ski, of course.)

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Every Snowcode is different, but a typical day will go a little something like this:

  • Wake up (a mild hangover is optional but not unlikely)
  • Breakfast - coffee, fresh bread, croissants, fresh juice... and a dozen or so people sat around laptops doing a quick bit of coding or catching up on Facebook or giggling at the pictures from dinner last night.
  • Hit the slopes - if that's your thing. Morzine is in the Portes du Soleil ski area, with access to over 600km of stunning runs and spectacular scenery. The sun is shining, there's fresh powder on the ground, and your hangover's gone by the time you hit the bottom of the first run.
  • Break for lunch - normally an opportunity to rendezvous with other Snowcoders and swap notes on the mornings' ski runs
  • Ski some more - or snowboard, or head back to the chalet for a lazy afternoon's coding, reading or napping...
  • Coding & "geeking out" - get back to the chalet, have a shower, open a beer and a laptop, and spend a couple of hours hacking, learning, coding, talking and generally working out cool ways to build cool stuff.
  • Dinner - three courses, wine, stories, the inevitable jokes at Alan's expense, that kind of thing...
  • ...and then whatever you like! Wander into town and go clubbing; watch movies, play X-box, more hacking, or just crash out early and get ready to do it all over again. A jaunt into Morzine is well worth it - it's a fantastic town with some really good bars, and the Mutzig beer is practically a Snowcode rite of passage.

You should come. No, really, you should. It'll be a fantastic week, and we'd love to see you there. If you ski or snowboard, you'll love it. If you code, you'll love it. And if you're not a skier or a coder, you're still more than welcome - it's a great opportunity to learn to do either (or both!)

Full details of the event are over on the SNOWCODE 2012 page on meetup.com - but in a nutshell:

  • It's in Morzine, France, from 18-25 March 2012.
  • Book your place via the SNOWCODE 2012 page on meetup.com - Snowcode costs £569 per person including half-board accommodation and airport transfers.
  • Get a cheap flight to Geneva with Easyjet (don't forget to book your skis as extra baggage)
  • Don't forget your laptop...

" when I ski,  I live... the rest is just waiting "


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