Belly in the Badger State

Last week, I had the fortune of spending some time in Wisconsin, getting to know some of the local tech communities and giving a few talks.

My trip started at That Conference in the Wisconsin Dells inside a massive indoor waterpark. The conference, dubbed as “summer camp for geeks”, has been around for several years and covers a variety of interests including design, development, mobile, and everything inbetween.

What really made That Conference stand out to me is it’s focus around being family friendly. Over 1,000 attendees showed up with their families to spend a few days enjoying the water park and family related events – it was really amazing to see and be a part of it.

A few sessions I’d like to highlight from That Conference include:

Indiana Jones and the Temple of DOM by Ryan Anklam

Ryan broke down DOM manipulation and the benefits in moving away from a framework dependency, specifically in the name of performance.

AngularJS Crash Course by Ian Muir

Despite Ian’s child taking a bite out of his notes, he was able to skillfully explain a complex topic and provide a perfect introduction to AngularJS.

Sketchnoting Workshop by Mike Rohde

Using an iPad to sketch on the fly, Mike gave an interactive talk around techniques for getting your feet wet with sketchnotes detailing shapes, people, and so forth.

The Right Way to Wireframe by Russ Unger

Using a case study, Russ looked at wireframing techniques from multiple designers, nailing down one of the most important steps in the design process.

After That Conference, I headed up to Green Bay to join Digital Fertilizer, a community of designers, developers, and entrepreneurs, for a night. They are a growing group of passionate people with contagious energy. It was great to hang out with them late into the evening, learn all about their community, and share some good beers. It was also nice to catch another passionate presentation on AngularJS, this time presented by Chris Jaure from Jobvite.

At both That Conference and Digital Fertilizer I was lucky enough to present on modular front end development and how to create reusable HTML and CSS. Myself, along with Darby, will be giving a few workshops on the same topic in the coming months. If you are out in Charlotte, New York, or Chicago we’d love to see you!

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