Beer City Code 2017

Infinity at Beer City Code

John SJ Anderson (@genehack)
june 14th, 2017

This past weekend I visited Grand Rapids, Michigan for the first ever Beer City Code on the campus of Calvin College. I took a class on how to write .NET applications on a Mac, saw some great talks, presented a talk on JSON Web Tokens, and more. My full wrap up is below the fold.


On Friday, I attended the “Build an ASP.NET Core app without Windows” training presented by Nathan Loding. While I didn’t get as much accomplished in the training as I had hoped, I came away with a better understanding of how some of the ASP.NET MVC scaffolding tools work, and I did get a basic application running on my Mac. I’m hoping to get a bit more time to play with ASP.NET MVC on my Mac later this year.


Saturday morning started bright and (very!) early at 8:30am with a keynote from Microsoft evangelist Jon Galloway. I’ve been saying for a few years now that “need to compete” Microsoft is a lot more interesting than “Evil Empire” Microsoft ever was, and this talk was a great illustration of that. Jon is the Executive Director of the .NET Foundation, and his talk was all about how Microsoft is contributing to Open Source. He also included a strong call to the audience to get involved in Open Source work, and shared some resources to help folks get their first pull request accepted.

Following the keynote, I attended Keith Wedinger’s “A Swift introduction to Swift 3.1 (pun intended)”. I’ll be doing a very similar talk next week at The Perl Conference, so I’ll confess that part of my motivation here was to see somebody else take on the same material. Keith did a good job of using the Playground feature of XCode to give a quick walk-through of many of the basic features of Swift 3.1, and covered a large amount of material in a very understandable way.

I took the next time slot to do a final review of my own slides in advance of my talk, and then had some lunch and a lovely albeit unintentional tour of slightly more of the Calvin College campus than I had intended. (That is to say, I got lost on the way back from lunch.)

Following lunch, I attended “Life of a goat: Bridging the dev and ops gap” by Dave Long. Dave had a lot of very interesting things to say about the current state of DevOps and how the original intent of the movement has been diluted or even lost, and I don’t think I can adequately summarize the talk here. I will say that if you get a chance to see Dave give this talk, you should jump on it — or if you’re looking for an excellent keynote for your DevOps conference, you could do worse than invite Dave to present these ideas.

Next up was Tim Smith with “Let’s Learn CSS Grid”. This was a really good overview of the new CSS Grid standard, how to use it, what has support for it, and how to work around those browsers that lack it (coughIE, so shocking!cough).

Then it was my turn! I presented my “JSON Web Tokens Will Improve Your Life” talk. I thought it went pretty well! After that I was happy to kick back and relax for a bit until it was time for the evening brewery tour!

Our tour visited several Grand Rapids-area brewpubs — Mitten, Harmony Hall, Creston, and finally Founders — and sampled a number of excellent beers at each. It was a great wrap up to a great conference!

Thematically appropriate speaker gift!

Organizer shoutout

I wanted to wrap up this wrap-up by giving the Beer City Code organizers some major kudos. In addition to doing a great job communicating with the speakers, giving me a lovely speaker gift, and providing some excellent amenities in the speakers’ lounge, they also handled a couple of major challenges on Saturday and didn’t break a sweat even once. Having been involved with running a conference or two, I can really appreciate how difficult that is to do — and they made it look easy. Looking forward to going back for the second Beer City Code!

Tags: conferences culture technology passions