- I'll get to the whole Detroit thing later... but let's start with the conference. Or rather the #unconference. It's actually what I love the most about this one. As an unconference, there's an unpredictability about it - the conference becomes what the attendees make of it. And since the attendees change a bit every year, so does the conference.
Planning Your Own Conference
- Brian Mulloy kicks it off every year... for those of us who have been there before, it brings back memories of our first API Craft and that sort of gulpy moment when he explains how we all have to help build the agenda. Wh-wh-what?
- But once we start, we can't stop. And once people see how the sessions unfold, the energy level starts to surge and the attendees take more control over the proceedings. APIs and smart people aside, it's just plain fun to watch such a human experiment unfold before you. No speakers, no topics refused, no prior knowledge of topic required - you want to explore something, suggest it.
Morning, Day 1
- As always happens with API Craft Detroit, there are always more sessions that I want to go to than I can physically be at. 2015 was no exception. Mulloy encourages us to be bumblebees (move from one session to another, pollinating as we go) or butterflies (rest peacefully on the perimeter) but I tend to sink deep into the conversations and my plan to be a bumblebee so I can take in more from simultaneous sessions never comes to fruition.
- I cannot talk about API Craft Detroit without mentioning chicken & waffles, the traditional breakfast here. And apparently others felt the same way...
- I liked the traditional version the first year better than this year's chi chi version but I digress...
- I spent the first session in a discussion led by @xaosqueen who wants to build an app using APIs and doesn't know where to start. At first, she felt that she was too new to APIs to lead a discussion and was surprised to see how many people showed up. In fact, we had trouble breaking for lunch because oh, my lord, there's just so much to say about APIs. I can see why people find it hard to know where to start...
- While we were roaming all over the API landscape (some of us wanted to rename the session to "every single thing ever about APIs"), others were diving into topics like API Tooling (oh the pain) and server-side abstractions. That's what happens when you give the attendees control - you get to talk about the basics and the complexities and everything in between.
Afternoon, Day 1
- The afternoon filled up just as quickly and I finally forced myself to bumblebee a bit... ok, just a little bit. I would make a bad bumblebee, I think. Between the discussions about hypermedia and microservices, I found myself doing that cocktail party thing where you listen with one ear to the conversation you're in and eavesdrop on another conversation with your other ear.
- These are really work sessions - people figuring things out together, asking questions, debating (occasionally arguing), exploring. It feels like we're actually accomplishing something in these sessions. Okay, maybe not as much as we could be ... after all, I've heard the sighs about the lack of hypermedia tooling and the plethora of service description languages year after year. But nobody leaves here empty-handed. We're learning, sharing, absorbing. In a way you just don't get to do at most conferences.