I just got back from BarCamp Singapore a few hours ago. I was only vaguely familiar with the Rules of BarCamp prior to this, and actually only found out about the event from Choon Keat (of RssFwd fame - check it out if you haven't already) 2 days ago.

Anyway, props to the organizers for putting this together (especially the free BarCamp t-shirts from Yahoo!). Personally, I felt the icebreaker game took up too much time that could have been used for the sharing sessions - the tech track of sessions were crammed up towards the end of BarCamp.

BarCamp Singapore logo


Notably, Harish Mallipeddi, who interned at Bezurk for a couple of months, shared with us an introduction to Django together with some working code on a site he is working on. I didn't know a whole lot about Django before and was impressed that there is a "free" admin application for Django applications. We (Choon Keat, Harish, and I) had a small debate over Django's templating system (briefly, Django has it's own templating system for its views, whereas Rails ERB is basically Ruby code mixed in HTML). To this day I am still convinced that PHP is already a templating language despite my old Smarty card-carrying days. Relating back to the Django templating system, Choon Keat and I didn't like the idea of having to learn to use a templating language when the base language itself (Ruby or Python) would suffice. Obviously Python syntax wasn't suitable for web designer consumption so Django had to come up with its own templating language.

Michael from PetrolWatch showed us some flashy scriptaculous effects on his site and demoed the Ruby on Rails-inspired CakePHP. It's a nice framework if you had to use PHP and performance is a concern (it's true, Rails apps run more heavily than PHP scripts, and the difference in performance is very clear in servers with minimal resources). But the lack of a good testing framework was discouraging. Still, I must say I'd have used it (or a similiar framework) if Rails didn't exist or if I was tied to using PHP for web development.

Choon Keat showed the non-believers the power of Rails' script/console as well as the flexibility of Ruby in allowing developers to make their own extensions to existing classes (aka "who needs hooks from God?"). I probably should have stepped in and showed some basic Rails migrations stuff that would have impressed (hopefully) the Django and CakePHP fanbase (all 2 of them) - but my laptop was running out of battery (and I was shy).

Oh and I saw a good number of Macs there, and at least 3 laptops running a Linux distro of some sort. Cool.