A personal reflection on attending the "RoundUp" conference, highlighting enthusiasm, session experiences, and interactions with fellow attendees.

by Ben Allums
October 20, 2009

I had meant to blog about coming to RoundUp last week... and then I didn't. So, for those of us who are here anyway, wow! What a good conference. In the interests of disclosure I will go ahead and let you know that I'm going to gush a little. Yesterday gets my vote for the all-time best RoundUp day ever. The panels (the one I saw:) were fluid, effective, informative.

Boot Camp

The Boot Camp room, where I was set up for all but one panel, was good. I demoed a transformer server that we used as a teaching tool, and this seemed to go really well. The main purpose of the tool is to provide an online XSL Transform to evaluate XPath, try out transformation scenarios; basically, play with XSL right away without and run-time set up.

Case Studies and Presentation

Stewart Mader

The case studies and presentations have been really good. That's admittedly a tepid comment, given that it uses “really” qualifier. But I am sincere. In the case of both morning presentations, Stewart Mader and Tom Johnson, both gave effective presentations... and I disagreed with a lot of their ideas. This is hardly surprising, given that I find nearly all opinions which are not my own, at least minorly offensive in some way. I also feel that precisely because I disagreed with their opinions so strongly (at least in Tom's case), the presentations were highly effective. Perhaps at another time I will blog about what chaffed.

Tom Johnson


OK, I've now talked to three different people about my strong disagreements and I'm convinced that this is my own trip. Ben made the point that when I questioned Tom today after the session, it was as if I felt he were talking directly to me. Touched a nerve. Anyway, great presentation Tom, for real.

Booze Cruise

So at the end of the magical first day, we had a cruise out on Ladybird Lake (formerly known as Town Lake (when did that happen? (i'm writing recursive asides, i'm such a programming nerd!!))). The weather was that one-of-two days-of-perfect-72-degree-weather-a-year in Austin. At the tail end of it, in the sun setting sky, the bats came spewing out of the Congress Avenue bridge just as the boat took our happy party beneath it. Sweetness.


Some great stuff has turned up at RoundUp this year. I'm a little jealous of the folks like Mary Anthony and Liz Keene and Jae Evans, with whom I did a panel on Monday, when I hear about all of the cool stuff they're doing with ePublisher. It may seem that I'm blowing smoke up my own or our collective company's wazoo, but the fact is, I love to tinker and when ePublisher is at its best, it's like a muscle car that you tinker with, and that's what these folks are doing. Tomorrow some of the attendees will get to showcase some of what they've done while here. Also, we have a neat demo waiting in the wings that I'll blog about more at a later time. And at a little after noon tomorrow, it's over, quick as it started, with scarcely a ripple showing in the busy downtown Austin bustle, with a release bearing down, and with a defiant and lingering joy or buzz or both.

Further Reading