Pune was host to lot of tech-events over the last weekend. Not only that, the participation at these events is also increasing, which is a good sign for the city. I have attended the last two BarCamps in Pune and as yet, the response has been satisfactory, not phenomenal. Until last week, on 20th September, 2008, when PHP Camp was hosted at Persistent Systems.
The numbers were quite staggering for me. There were 1300 registrations for the Camp, with 400 registrations on the day before the event. According to Tarun, 700 campers attended the event. Thats a huge feat in its own. I guess it has been the biggest Camp in India till now. I witnessed long queues at the registration desk for the first time at any Camp. This event will go a long way in introducing the Camp-style (un)conferences in India. Thats because majority (almost 90%) of the attendees were Core Developers. It was a mix of freshers and students too, which is quite unseen in BarCamps.
My purpose to go there ( apart from me being free that weekend ) was to check the PHP-community scene in Pune, which I realize now is quite huge, much much larger than .Net or Java. Second, being a tech-enthusiast, I wanted to check out whats new in PHP area vis-a-vis other technologies like RoR, .Net, etc. The sad part was that that the sessions didn’t have much variety to choose from. The first 3 sessions in the morning in Track 1 were all based on OpenSocial (all by Satyam) and the other Track didn’t have space to even stand!
So, I left PHP Camp at lunch, and headed to other event that was about to start at 2 pm at ThoughtWorks Pune. It was for Geek Night and Abhijit Thosar, a Usability Guru from CampGemini Pune was giving a lecture on Usability Engineering. It was one of the best lectures I have attended till now on Usability. The lecture ended with a showcase of his work, which was very interesting.
I observed that Usability still has to pick up in India. Usability is not some small tweaks and changes to be done on your software to gain more traction and liking. It is a whole branch in itself and a PhD can be done on this subject. Involving Usability Engineering in your project means having a parallel project running along with your existing one. Outsourced Product Development and Engineering is increasing in India in all sectors and considering this, Usability is a very interesting space to look out for in India.
The highlight of the day was some 20 odd students from Ahmednagar (around 120 Km from Pune) attending the PHPCamp. Absolutely Brilliant !!