Adobe's Flex, Microsoft's WPF, and Google's Web Toolkit (GWT) were all discussed in an Open Spaces format at the Ann Arbor ITZone on April 4. I'm very late in reporting how it all went, since I've been trying to catch up with the other things that I'm working on.
About 35 people attended, from various companies. Two people came in from out of the area: James Ward from Adobe, and Chris Bernard, from Microsoft.
Feedback after the event was overwhelmingly positive. Some people want us to do something like this again. Bill and I agree — these Open Spaces events are a lot of fun and very educational, for everyone involved. If you haven't read about Open Spaces, I've included a link below.
I know that I learned something in every session that I was able to attend. My only regret is that I was only able to be in one place at a time. I really like what the Java Posse did at the Roundup. Because they taped the sessions and are releasing them as podcasts, I am able to listen to those sessions that I didn't attend. Of course, they DO podcasts, while we really don't. We will have to see if it makes sense for us to record sessions for later release.
We kicked it off with an introduction to each of the technologies, and to the open spaces concept in general. We had quick "lightning" talks of each, before we broke up into groups to explore questions that we had about each. We had time to do 2 time slots of 3 concurrent sessions before lunch, and 2 time slots of 3 after lunch. We concluded with an overall session where we asked what we could do better, and if this format and location worked for people. The response was positive. If we have many more attendees, we will quickly outgrow the ITZone space, but for this event, it worked great. One unintended result was that two of the groups could actually SEE one another. We were able to gauge a little about what was going on in the neighboring session. One person even noted that it seemed like the "other" group was having more fun and he wasn't learning anything in the session that he was in, so he exercised the Law of Two Feet, and moved over, where he actually had quite a bit to contribute.
I'll summarize the sessions that I attended and hopefully others have done the same. We hope to do about one of these per quarter, because we find them to be great learning experiences, for our consultants, for our customers, and for the community (as well as for ourselves).