I had attended (TSSS 2003, USA), presented at (FIE 97, USA), and written about (NFJS 2005, USA) conferences in the USA -- but had never attended one in India, specifically in Pune. Honestly, I was eager to.
From my background in attending conferences in the USA, the expectations were high in my mind -- the glamour, the large-size attendance, the goodies and the prizes to receive, the signed copies of books from authors, the networking and food (!) for two consecutive days.
On many of these fronts, Q11 by IndicThreads delivered and delivered well! Yes, they did a pretty good job indeed.
Benefits to receive are up to the individual, I believe -- how much you want to take away. That includes the speakers too. In USA, I had paid $675 USD from my pocket to attend an NFJS weekend show and my employer was also surprised (pleasantly) then. But even today, I benefit (because I choose to) from that attendance. It becomes easier to get in touch with authors / speakers / fellow attendees. That is just one benefit. The other benefit is -- from your regular everyday schedule, you get out and see in reality what other developers / IT engineers are doing. That opens a whole new perspective and regains energies for you in multitude.
Who Hosted the Conference?
The Q11 conference was hosted by Harshad Oak (Rightrix Solutions). Harshad is the first Java champion in India and has served and continues to serve the overall IT community in several ways. For his achievements, he is not that old – in fact quite young. :)
The thought process, as put in by Harshad, could be felt all throughout the conference
The Actual Sessions!
Every session was little over an hour. That was good so that an otherwise information overload could be avoided. Timings of the speakers were awesome -- plus it didn’t feel that the speakers were running a race against time at any point.
The conference covered the following topics (all slides available on Slideshare):
· Image Based Testing - Application Technology Independent Automation (Girish Kolapkar)
· Proving correctness of a multiplayer game server (Nirmalya Sengupta)
· Continuous Integration: A Case Study (Vaibhav Kothari)
· Cloud based Testing for Mobile Applications (Dada Mote)
· Test Automation for Mobile Applications (Dipesh Bhatewara)
· Test Automation on Android Using Robotium (Amit Dixit)
· Testing Flash and Flex for Accessibility (Rashmi Aghor)
· PerformFuzz the Web Interface (Aniket Kulkarni)
· Keyword Driven Automation using Selenesse (Ameya Naik)
· Platform Independent Migration Testing Framework (Vishal Harane)
All speakers and sessions were accommodated fine by Harshad and Sangeeta (his wife).
It would be unjust to pick only one speaker that stood outstanding -- everyone did a great job (offered their 100% for the attendees). The professionalism was at its best. This was probably the first time in the last 15 years that I interacted so closely with professionals in the IT industry in India. All this was a superb learning experience for me.
Particularly speaking, Dada Mote, just for his zeal to learn more and offer more, had done a fantastic job. I was amazed to see that he was accompanied by his boss who arrived just to give Dada moral support. They both drove in from Mumbai. Dada knows what he is doing.
Again, I do not have any bias for any one speaker (don’t even know Dada Mote in person that well!), everyone did so very well for us.
Vishal Harane, for what he put together at his work place using ANT (just under 3 days), was simply a great experience to watch and learn from. I can go on and on like this for every session, but the space is limited and I have to get back to my work as well.
My Comparisons with the Conferences in the USA
The comparisons with the conferences in the USA will loom over my mind, by default. But I attribute a few things lacking to the growth aspect of conferences at IndicThreads.
My mind was tuned to having parallel sessions and being able to choose a session where I want to get trained. At Q11, there was however only one big hall for learning! I couldn’t think of many “lacking” points at all. Harshad has good experience in arranging the shows. The professionalism shown by speakers was one of the best, as I mentioned earlier. The consistent slide formats, good designs, aspects on the content arrangement for maximum absorption by the slide readers, real-time Q & A sessions, quizzes and prizes were all welcome and gave a pleasant appeal to the overall event.
What Can be Better / New Ideas
An obvious general difference between East and West -- usage of English (well, I struggle myself with arrangement and good choice of words, as you can see in this article) during presentation. And so we do not need “perfect” skills, just slight modifications with an element of clarity transferred from that in the slides’ content to every sentence that you speak. Again, that’s about clarity only and nothing about undertaking the usage of any fancy English.
When speakers implement (more) clarity during speeches, here is a new idea for this conference (just for the sake of it) --> Harshad can even think about live broadcasting of the conferences where people from outside India can join the live sessions. Yes, Harshad can charge a fee for such attendance. :)
The Best Take-away Point
The best take-away point for me will be the personal interactions with the fellow attendees and speakers. A few of the speakers are local to the Pune city, and therefore if I were to get / offer help at any point regarding new emerging topics, I can rush for a get-together to a place which is only at a drivable distance.
Harshad encourages local speakers to come out and respond to the RFPs (and participate). Hopefully, in the future, there will be “parallel” sessions (!), offering choices of topics, at conferences like Q11.