This past Saturday I attended BarCamp Toronto 4, the “un-official un-launch” to Toronto Tech Week. It was easily my best BarCamp experience yet. Here’s a quick summary of what I picked up:
Paul Dowman from GigPark led a discussion on the Amazon EC2 grid hosting platform, touching on both technical details and what the service ultimately means to small businesses. EC2’s ability to arbitrarily scale your application up to X servers at an affordable hourly rate is incredible, letting you do neat stuff like simulate a high-load situation on your application for mere dollars. EC2 customers can also pull/push data from Amazon’s S3 file service at no additional cost, which is another significant selling point.
Darcs is like Subversion, but with one significant change – every checked out copy is its own repository. You can check out from the main branch, log changes against your local repository offline, and when you’re good and ready, submit a patch back to the project maintainer straight from the command line. You can also fork the project then and there, with a repository ready to distribute immediately – your choice.
Darcs’ self-replicating properties could seriously affect the state of open source distribution. No more single points of failure; less dead projects. All it needs now is some screencasts, a book, and perhaps most importantly, a champion.
Side note: Rack, a minimal Ruby web framework, is being distributed/maintained using Darcs.
Facebook is huge: they serve 40 billion page views per month, it’s growing at a rate of 3% per week, and Toronto alone has over 500k registered users. The recently announced Facebook Platform enables developers to create externally hosted applications that are accessed from inside Facebook itself. It’s exciting, scary, and full of possibilities. It could very well change the web.
I’m not an expert on the platform, but since I first started hacking on it Friday night, I’ve had this feeling that we’re in the midst of something big, and I’ve had this overwhelming urge to talk about it. So, in a move that’s totally out of character, I decided to start an open discussion on the Facebook Platform.
It turns out I wasn’t alone. The group quickly approached our room’s 50-person capacity, and we glossed over everything from technical details, security and privacy issues, monetization, and more. A couple of developers already have projects lined up. Domain names have been registered. It’s exciting stuff, and we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg.
See also: Pictures tagged with BarCampTTW via Flickr