On October 4, 2014, the Twins City Code Camp happened at the University of Minnesota. This was the 17th Code Camp in the Twin Cities. So what is a Code Camp? It’s a meet up for the community, run by the community. There is a Code Camp Manifesto that explains the idea and protocol of a code camp over at the Thom Robbins blog. Simply put though, code camps are free, available to everyone and focused on coding.

On Saturday there were 35 sessions covering a broad rage of software development. The full schedule is available over at the Twin Cities Code Camp Web Site. The speakers are normally from local developers but sometimes even national and international developers come to speak. They speak because they love what they talk about. Their enthusiasm really shines through as they speak. Even with a session only an hour long the amount of information they share and passion about the subject can really inspire other coders to learn more about it.

Over 400 developers attended on Saturday. Even before the sessions start, conversations about jobs, code and experience was everywhere. The learning definitely did not stay locked into the sessions. Discussions were happening between the sessions and during lunch.

Thanks to the many sponsors, breakfast, lunch and snacks were all provided. At the end prizes were given out. But even those that didn’t win the prizes, still walked away with an huge benefit in knowledge and friendship.

Out of the 35 sessions, I attended 5. The most difficult part of the Code Camp is picking which of the sessions to join in on. I picked the sessions that I felt could help me where I am at in my learning. Other people will pick sessions that cover topics that they’ve not looked at. This can be a great benefit since during that hour session a lot of information can be covered, in most cases more information then a person on their own might be able to cover in a couple of days.

I’ll do a very light coverage of what each session I went to was about. I suggest that you also visit the many conferences, user groups and meet ups that happen across the country. Some are free, others have a fee attached. They are worth the time and effort involved. For those of you in the Twin City area, I’ll met you there in April, 2015.

High Performance JavaScript

(Md Khan)[http://www.twitter.com/mdkhan005] did an incredible job in covering a great number of tips for getting JavaScript to run a bit faster. The tips he focused on look easy to put into place without adding frameworks or making huge changes to the code. Visit his Web site at That JS Dude to really so that he does have a real passion for JavaScript.

One of my favorite tips he should was concerning the for loop. When looping through an array it is normal to use the length of the array to limit the number of times the for loop will run through.

var myArr = [1,2,3,4,5];

for(var i = 0; i < myArr.length; i++){
	console.log(myArr[i]);
}

But the length doesn’t change, so why calculate the length with every iteration? Instead save a measure the array once and use that variable as the loop limit.

for(var i=0, len = myArr.length; i < len; i++){
	console.log(myArr[i]);
}

This tip can be used in other languages, not just JavaScript. If the language you’re using doesn’t allow two variables to be declared in the for loop, just measure it before the loop and save some processing.

Intro To Puppet

Jason Clifford showed that even technologies work against the speaker, the session can still be an incredibly informative one. Unable to connect the laptop to the projector denied us the slides or the demo. But Jason was still able to cover the material and do a great job at that. His passion still was obvious.

I walked in to this session thinking I had an idea of what Puppet was, but WOW. I had no idea of what Puppet was capable of doing. Puppet is a configuration management system for development and production systems. It makes it incredibly easy to bring systems together with the same versions of software, frameworks and files.

Angular, TypeScript, and Project Katana

The name of this could have been, Microsoft Web Platform vNext. Justin Wendlandt covered a lot of technologies that Microsoft is focusing on for it’s next web platform.

Justin was able to really go into detail for each of the projects and how each of these work together. The slides give a great idea of what he covers.

His demos are available on his Github account.

Stylesheet Retrospective

Nervousness can keep many people from getting up and talking. While Josh Renner sounded very nervous, he did a great job explaining CSS Tips and tricks along with preprocessors to a room of standing room only.

Josh explained some of the great abilities of a CSS preprocessor like SASS and Less.

Doing Open Source the Right Way

Charles Oliver Nutt gave a very passionate session concerning how important it is to support Open Source software, not just by adding code but also assisting with bug reporting, documentation creation and assisting in forums answering questions and assisting other users to learn and use the software.

Charles covered definitions of what is open source and explained a bit of the licensing terms that effect open source.

The session continued with why a person would want to get involved; making the world a better place, satisfaction of creating a project others can use but also to increase the impressiveness of their resume. I think all developer’s should and will at some point become involved, even in a small way with an open source project. Charles’s covered a lot of tips in what to do.

The slides are available for viewing.