Last week was RESTfest week. RESTfest is an unusual little conference that happens in Greenville, South Carolina every September. This is the fifth year it has run and this is my fourth time attending, and I learn a ton every time.
What makes RESTFest unique is its “everyone speaks” policy. Although there is a keynote, a whole hack day and a number of regular length talks, the bulk of the conference time is made up of 5 minute lightning talks presented by attendees.
This is not just a conference full of people who have spent years drinking the REST coolaid. There is always a wide range of experience levels and people with many different technical backgrounds. This combination makes for some great conversations, and there is plenty of time for them with the social activities that are scheduled during the event.
This years keynote was presented by Sean Cribbs. RESTFest keynotes have a tendency to challenge the audience intellectually and this year’s crash course in the functional programming theory that is the underpinning of WebMachine was no different.
The hack day was a challenge to create a hypermedia client and/or server based on a simple specification. The interesting outcome was the wide variety of solutions presented. We had people using Erlang, .net, Java, AngularJS with HAL, C+J, Siren, Atom and HTML hypermedia types being used. It’s also important to realize that a large part of the value of hack day is not the code writing, but the opportunity to see how others are writing code and talking with them about it. It’s all just conversation fodder.
Did I mention there was moonshine tasting going on?
And the food is awesome,
There is one more thing that makes RESTfest fairly unique amongst small “unconference” style events and that is that we have had a tradition of recording the sessions. The first couple of years have fairly poor quality videos because I used an ipad to stream the talks using uStream. In the third year, Twilio stepped up to the plate and paid for professional videos to be done. Since then, every year, a sponsor has allowed us to create a fabulous catalog of talks. These are all available on the Vimeo RESTfest channel.
If you want to learn more about APIs, HTTP, Hypermedia, or REST in general, you really should make an effort to join us in 2015.