Friday, October 2, 2015

CppCon Report, part 1: The Preconference

I am very close to having my Bachelor’s degree. I just need to finish my project and write my paper on it and it will be done. So close, I can taste it.

Which means it’s time to take a week to not work on it at all and volunteer at CppCon.

When you are done snickering at the name (and be honest: you did the first time you said it out loud), you probably figured out that it is about the programming language C++. The convention itself is over, and I took a couple days off of volunteering to be with my family. Fortunately for me, the convention was close enough to my house that I could go home at night. When traffic is good, it was only about a 30 to 40 minute drive. On the other hand, when I wanted to travel … it was not.

This might take a couple posts or so to cover. This one is about the days leading up to it.

Before I begin, I should let you know that I am terrible at names and always have been. Seriously. When I was growing up, I called my parents mom and dad because I couldn’t remember their names. This means that I won’t be able to share who the people are that I met and spoke with, unless I go and look it up. So if you are reading this and recognize yourself, feel free to comment on your name and I will update this post. Or mention it later. Or something.

As a volunteer, I had the opportunity to attend the pre-conference bootstrap course on the updates to C++ in both C++11 and C++14. The main thing I learned is that I am not a C++ expert. Now, don’t get me wrong; there are a lot of good features in the updates to the language – updates that are necessary and interesting to learn about. But I could actually hear my brain cells crying out because they were too stuffed. The other main thing I learned is that Visual Studio 15, the one I have, is not compliant with C++14 – the one with the coolest features.

After that was done, I went to the Volunteer Dinner because, well, free pizza. A little pizza place a quarter mile away, and we volunteers got the chance to meet each other. The big surprise to me was how many volunteers are from outside the country. One was from Toronto; she was working on a type of credit card payment system that uses GPS systems embedded. Another one was from New Zealand, and he was there just for this conference.

Getting back from the pizza dinner, which literally was uphill both ways, it was Socialization Time. Now seeing that I am not now, nor have I ever been, a socialist, this was not that comfortable for me. There are many things I’d rather do than be in a giant room full of strangers and talk to them; eating broken glass comes to mind. I met a code reviewer from Munich; as he described his job, “I’ve seen code you can’t unsee.” I also met one of the makers of Projucer, which I’ll talk about in a later post. Also met a few other people that I chatted with throughout the week.

Next post, I’ll talk about the conference itself.