Yesterday I went for a crazy trip to London. At least most people would call that, because for me it was perfect. It had all I like – flying planes, meeting great people and learning new stuff. I woke up at 3 to catch 6 AM flight to London. Then take a train to center, took part in Prog F# Tutorials and then went back to airport to get on 8 PM flight. I was back home around midnight.
Prog F# Tutorials are two day F# conference organized by Skills Matter. In agenda you could find almost all the rock-stars of F# world – Don Syme, Phillip Trelford, Richard Minerich, Rachel Reese, Robert Pickering, Jon Harrop and Simon Cousins. Unfortunately, I could only attend first day due to medical procedure planned for today, but one day is always better then none.
First talk by Jon Harrop was about adopting F# by large insurance company. He talked about what are best ways to convince people to start using F#, what worked, and what didn’t. I would like this session to be more technical, but there were still few interesting points he mentioned. After that, public split into two rooms. In main one, Rich was live coding (with help of audience) to solve Bank OCR Kata. It was entertaining, and quite interesting to see how someone puts his F# knowledge to solve problems. The other group were solving F# Koans with Rachel Reese. After lunch went to Rachel’s workshop “From Zero to Data Science”. Based on tutorials, you can find on tryfsharp.org, we were “learning by solving” some extra tasks Rachel prepared for us. For beginner like me, some of them were really challenging. Another difficulty proved to be tryfsharp.org’s capacity. Around 100 people trying stuff out there killed the server and it started throwing 503s. Anyway, this was my favorite session of the whole day. In second room Robert Pickering was doing his Undertone session. And to wrap up, Phillip did quick talk about using F# in finance. Unfortunately I didn’t get to see Don Syme’s talk planned for the morning. He got stuck in Germany and didn’t get on time. Bummer, cause I anticipated this one the most.
The whole thing took place in the crypt below old church (this was Halloween! :)). This is so great place to host conference, so different than standard grey rooms. The only problem was, that it was not really wheelchair accessible. But Theo and his Skills Matter crew helped me get there. From logistics point of view everything went pretty great. There were constantly resupplied snacks and coffee, tasty lunch and beer for the end. Wifi worked with some issues, but it hold pretty well, considering over 100 people doing queries against tryfsharp.org.
To sum up – this was a good day. I am okay to travel halfway through Europe to get to events like that. I only wish I could also be there on second day, but maybe next year. I am really happy, that I met in person and talked to some F# pros, whom before that day I only followed on twitter. And Skills matter crew are awesome, and I definitely will look to attend their events in future.
BTW, if you are based in London are into F#, check out this meetup group.