Tonight I headed over to the Space Coast .NET User Group meeting, which consequently meets at my new office. They were trying out a similar 2 topic format, as we do at the Adogo, and it went really well. We started at 6:30 PM and ended around 8:15 PM. This evening they covered Workflow Foundation and its tools in Visual Studio 2008 as well as approaches for working cross team by using shared binary interfaces (also went into dynamic assembly loading a little bit).
What really struck me as interesting at the group was the context for conversation that occurred throughout the night. Everyone was pretty much on the same wave length, or at least appeared to be, and was comfortable; this may have been because of most of them work at the same mega-company or that the group has just been going steady for a long time, however. In any case, it was funny to see that the discussions were very different than what I’ve been exposed to in the past at user groups. There was a baseline of understanding for the work that Microsoft has done with varied technologies and discussions ensued relating to their application, not necessarily what they were and how they worked. This may have a lot to do with the average age and experience in the room (a
older“wiser” demographic), but it also could be me looking into things too much.
I think I am finally able to empathize with user group members who have been frustrated with the Adogo recently. I went to the .NET user group looking for exposure beyond what I read daily on the web. The topics interest me, but I want more detail to see if I am getting excited over something that maybe isn’t worth it (and vice versa). I found myself looking for code examples during the presos more since I am new to the syntax, but not the concepts. I was eager to take advantage of the work the speaker brought the group. This was something I hadn’t previously thought about in depth. I always assumed people didn’t want to read the manual and I couldn’t see why the same conviction I had for programming wasn’t present in others. I think I now realize that, as are most things in life, it’s a matter of perspective with respect to what’s important to the developer as it applies to technology. This may seem like common sense, but I’m a pretty big moron. In fact, I look at the Adogo and realize, we’re really in a similar boat as the .NET group. Adobe has laid out the majority of the pieces we find ourselves using and until we have a common understanding of their use, it may be unreasonable to expect conversations like what I witnessed tonight without first establishing a baseline. It definitely seems like the sentiment on the mailing list to say the least.
I’ve got the April meeting next month, so hopefully this insight can help me better understand the service that a user group can perform for the community and what I can do to aid in its success.