I have been back in sunny San Antonio for over a week now, and I have had a chance to reflect on this year’s Erlang Factory in San Francisco. The conference was great in almost every respect, and the folks at Erlang Solutions deserve a lot of credit for pulling off a great conference. In particular, Francesco Cesarini went out of his way to make sure all of the delegates felt welcome and that the conference ran smoothly.
The hotel where the conference was held was the Marines Memorial Club and Hotel in downtown San Francisco. As the name suggests, the hotel is a memorial to U.S. Marines who have died fighting in foreign wars. It is part hotel and part museum. There is a lot of character and a sense of history that you don’t normally find at a hotel and conference venue.
Many people that I have talked to suggest that the best part of technology conferences is the “hallway track” where you meet new people and discuss different aspects of the technology. This was certainly true at Erlang Factory, especially since there were social events scheduled for Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. I often fell into conversations with other delegates over breakfast or lunch on topics ranging from the talks we just saw to interesting uses of Erlang. It certainly helps to be able to put faces with names that you may have only seen on emails or on Twitter.
My talk covering our Erlang work at Rackspace was well reveived by the attendees. I had some interesting conversations afterwards with delegates who had faced similar problems. On Friday evening I sat on a panel discussing running Erlang on a Platform as a Service (PaaS). There was some interesting back and forth between the members of the panel and some in the audience. Deploying an Erlang application to a PaaS is only part of the problem; current PaaS implementations do not allow doing the sorts of things that make Erlang stand out like distributed applications and hot code upgrades.
I think that I got more out of Erlang Factory than any conference I have attended in recent years. The Erlang community is still small enough that conferences like Erlang Factory can have a huge impact by getting people together under one roof. Kenji Rikitake makes a strong argument for the value of Erlang Factory to the community and I couldn’t agree more. I am looking forward to next year.