This One Time, at Columbus GiveCamp…

This year, I returned to GiveCamp, although I decided to join my friends down in Columbus rather than return to Ann Arbor. Let me tell you – once again, I had a wonderful experience overall and look forward to next year’s event. But just what made it an awesome event? Read on.

The Organizers

Carey Payette and James Bender ran the Columbus GiveCamp. From securing a location to getting the website together to picking charities and assigning teams, Carey and James (and the rest of their team) brought this successful event to the community.

The Sponsors

In addition to a great organizing team, the event couldn’t have been pulled off without the help of the sponsors. Quick Solutions allowed us to hold the event in their facilities. Microsoft, TechSmith, Telerik, eRubycon, and The Sophic Group provided funding and giveaways. DiscountASP.NET (who happens to host this site) graciously provided free hosting to some of the non-profits. Thanks also to Pei Wei and Pot Belly for providing great deals food-wise.

Not Just a Microsoft Thing

I know that many people see talk of the GiveCamps in the .NET community, but honestly, it isn’t just Microsoft technologies involved. We had a couple Ruby teams, and I was part of the lone PHP team. Some of the non-Microsoft packages that were used include Heroku, Github, Moodle, WordPress MU, and Joomla.

The Awesome Team TCO

If you were following my Twitter stream, you’d notice a lot of the #teamtco hashtag. Team TCO was the team behind TECH CORPS Ohio (TCO).

Team TCO

Joel Helbling was the one who gathered our requirements and led our team. He wanted to take the Kanban approach, and Kenny, Chris, and I worked with that. We used Github as our source control, and being my first Github experience, I did eventually git it!

Our job was to help come up with a template to unify TCO’s Moodle, Joomla, and WordPress sites – specifically Student TECH CORPS, the main TECH CORPS Ohio site, and Club TECH CORPS. You can see some of the new logos on the Student TECH CORPS site. What we came up for the main Joomla site can be seen here.

Our charity contact – Aung Nay, director of programs – was there every day, supporting us along the way. On Friday, Lisa Chambers, the state director, was out to see what we could do to help as well. The TCO organization was excited to see what we could come up with to help them.

Conclusion

I really enjoyed working with my team and all of the other volunteers at GiveCamp. Whether it was playing Rock Band, singing “Go Go Ninja Dinosaur”, or talking about projects, it was great to work with such a diverse community. It was a great turnout:

The GiveCamp volunteers

I look forward to returning to Columbus GiveCamp next year, and if we have one here in Cleveland, I’d look forward to participating in that as well!

Calling All Web Devs: Support More Browsers

Seeing this message on the UGSS site when I opened Safari for Windows instigated this post: You need IE (6.0 or higher) or FireFox (1.5 or higher) to view this site.

You’ve read about how disgusted I get with the whole “IE Only” crutch. Now I need to extend that call even further – developing for particular browsers limits your audience and can leave a bad taste for a potential customer. Are web developers still doing this? If so, why?

Now my guess with the UGSS site is that it’s older – as those are dated browser versions. So maybe it’s an old app that could use some updating? Most likely.

Yes, as web developers, we should consider our target audience. But unless your site was truly focused on a niche market, is there a reason why you’d want to develop new sites for one specific browser? If we’re Apple, for example, we’ll want to target our Mac fans, but at the same time, we need to acknowledge that there are other people who may be interested in our products/services who may be running one of the other popular browsers and not just the one we’ve been developing for.

For those of you working on the Toughest Developer Puzzle Ever, there have been complaints about one of the levels not working in a certain browser. If you let me know which operating system you are running and version of your browser, that would help me figure out where the bug is. I’ve tested the code in Google Chrome, Safari for Windows, and Internet Explorer 7 and 8. (Firefox and Opera were accidentally left off when I recently redid my laptop, so they were missed.) I don’t own a Mac, so I rely on Mac users to give constructive feedback. From what I’ve heard so far, the problem seems to be with Firefox (at least versions 3.0.11 and higher) on Windows XP, which I can test when I’m near an XP machine. If you are one of those people having a hard time with stage 15 and Javascript errors (and *only* JS errors), please let me know which OS/browser so that I can troubleshoot it and possibly fix it. As you will come to learn, I am not one of those web developers who will force you to use a particular browser.

Now understand something – this call goes to all web devs out there, and not just the Windows-based ones. So Linux-based web devs who design their sites for Firefox only – this applies to you guys too. And anyone else out there who’s doing web dev with just a one browser mentality – it’s time to expand your horizons and acknowledge other browsers out there. You don’t have to like them – but at least consider that it’s more than just an IE/Firefox/Safari world.

What’s Happening with the Coding Geekette

It’s been quiet here, and I apologize for being so quiet. I’ve been quite busy here – getting ready for the Toughest Developer Puzzle Ever launch, working on Cleveland Tech Events, working with the non-profit behind Cleveland Day of .NET, counting down the days until Columbus GiveCamp, looking over my IronPython presentations for PyOhio, and getting ready for my presentation at devLink in August. I’ve also taken some time off to enjoy Independence Day with my husband and our friends.

Sarah holds a press conference
On July 1st, I joined the freshmen class of Microsoft MVPs. I’ve held off on announcing this until I could get my MVP Profile listed. So now, the Cleveland area has a new Microsoft MVP in Visual C#, joining the other MVPs that I know of in the area – including Brendan Enrick (ASP.NET), Nate Kohari, Michael Letterle (Visual C#), Deepak Puri (SQL), Steve Smith (ASP.NET), and Allen White (SQL). Congrats to the leader of the 2008 Cleveland Day of .NET – John Stockton – on getting recognized as a MVP in Silverlight.

I want to thank all who’ve given me the opportunity to get involved, exchange knowledge, and put my love for technology to work. It’s been a lot of fun getting involved with the various developer communities out there. From the quiet girl at one .NET user group to an introduction to the .NET community and a gentle push in the right direction, it’s been an interesting journey. Thanks to Jeff Blankenburg for that initial push. Special thanks to my husband Kevin for being so supportive of me in my various endeavors. Even if he isn’t at an event with me, he still knows what I’m up to and texts/emails/calls me to wish me luck. I wouldn’t be so active in the community if I didn’t have his support. I look forward to continuing my activities within the community and hope to see you at some of the events.

Speaking of upcoming events… here’s what’s coming up:

  • Columbus GiveCamp / Ann Arbor GiveCamp – July 17 – 19 : I will be at the Columbus site, but I have to get the word out about Ann Arbor as well, as they were a fun crew to work with last summer.
  • PyOhio – July 25-26
  • Lansing Day of .NET – August 1: Although I have other commitments, I want to get the word out about this, as the Lansing crew is known for having a great event. If you have the time and are willing to travel, I’d recommend you check it out.
  • devLink – August 13-15

Check out their sites, and sign up for an event today! Hope to see you in the community!