Wednesday, April 29, 2009

We need a US Groovy/Grails/Griffon Conference

It's been over a year since the best conference I've ever attended. The Groovy/Grails Experience was held in February 2008 near Washington DC. It was an awesome experience. For the nostalgic and those with too much time on their hands you can read my review of it here.

But we are way overdue for another. The folks that put that conference together, Jay Zimmerman and Scott Davis, both heroes of mine, tried to organize another but when the economy took a turn for the worse they decided to hold off. I understand their concerns. One only has to look at the desperate attempts at drawing attendees the JavaOne organizers are going through to realize that this is a tough climate for conferences. But hey we're talking about Groovy, Grails and Griffon here.

These are technologies that transcend tumultuous times.
While other conferences are being scaled back or cancelled, The GR8 conference, dedicated to G3 technologies, has had to move to a larger venue! And from what I've heard, the turnouts at the growing number of Groovy and Grails training classes haven't been too shabby. The G3 user group community continues to grow. The Grails podcast audience is climbing. We even have a G3 dedicated magazine. We are ready for a G3 Experience.

So, what are we going to do about it? We could get together and put one on ourselves but I still have faith in Jay and Scott. Anyone who has been to a NoFluffJustStuff or related conference knows that nobody does it better. So, let's let them know that it's time. Here's a few steps you can take:

  • Go to the 2GX website: and use the form there to register your interest.

  • Go to the NoFluffJustStuff feedback form and tell them it's time. You can even plead for your favorite city.

  • Send Jay and/or Scott an email (I'll leave it as an exercise for the reader to track down their email addresses)

  • Repeat this urgent plea on mailing lists, news groups, forums, at user groups, at work, in letters to the editor, etc.

  • Finally, if you are attending an upcoming NFJS event (coming to Atlanta, Denver, Dallas, Columbus) tell Jay or Scott that it's time for another G3 Experience.

Let's get to work, we can make it happen. After all, we are the G3 community. It's not like we're a bunch of (insert your favorite inferior language or technology here) hackers!

I'll see you at the next G3 Experience!


Michael Kimsal said...

Thanks for the link love. :)

I'm interested in putting something together - have been for awhile, but I kept seeing the g2experience one that was planned, so I held off. I never saw any explanation as to why it didn't happen, and was that much more concerned about the whole thing.

I'm open to help organizing something if it's a manpower issue, or taking it on myself under the GroovyMag banner.

Is there that much interest? I *presume* there is, but haven't been to the earlier ones to know what the turnout and interest level is.

Perhaps simultaneous ones in 3-4 cities across the US would be easier on people - less distance to travel, larger sense of happening, etc. ?? Just a late night thought.

sbglasius said...


I'm one of the two organizers of GR8 Conference in Copenhagen (Guillaume is the second).
We'll be happy to expand the GR8 conference to other parts of the world, giving we can have local partners that can handle all the practical stuff.
We hope that the brand GR8 will be the furutre choice for G3 developers, when looking for conferences to go to.
Feel free to contact us at

Best regards

Chad Small said...

Would be nice if GR8 & NFJS could join forces on this one.


Hamlet D'Arcy said...

The Midwest is one of the best locations... Groovy MN, Chicago GUG, Gateway GUG... we need to do this in the midwest.

Anonymous said...

I'd love to see a G3 specific conference as well.

+1 to having it in the midwest (the twin cities specifically, 3 of the replies to this blog post have been from people in the Groovy Users of Minnesota :).

Dave Klein said...

Michael and Søren, I'm still rooting for the guys at NFJS putting something together. Partly because they put on awesome conferences but also because they did a great deal in the past to get us where we are today.

How many of us, in North America, who are using Groovy technologies today, first heard about it at a NoFluffJustStuff conference? I don't mean to take anything away from the brilliant individuals who brought us the tools, but many great technologies die due to a lack of exposure and NFJS provided great exposure for Groovy and Grails.

Hamlet and Ted, I agree with the midwest idea. Chicago might be easier for more people to make it to, but the Twin Cities is definitely a Groovy hub.

Bill Pfeiffer said...

Hey the Groovy Grails Experience site is stack tracing. Ouch!! Tried to sign up to register interest and will try later.

Unknown said...

Chicago (CGUG) would be all for a multi city conference. In fact we had talked about doing something like this last November but decided to first grow our community and then see what kind of interest there was. Let us know what we can do to help!

Michael Kimsal said...

My vote would be for Detroit for a couple of reasons.

1. Centralish city with good air connections (northwest hub).

2. Region in dire straits. Good hotel and conference rooms deals to be had over other, more stronger cities.

Does that seem a bit mercenary? :)

As much as I'd really root for Charlotte or Raleigh, I'd say Nashville or Cincinatti would be more centralish as well, though I wouldn't say no to Chicago or the Twin Cities.

Dave, yeah, I understand you'd prefer NFJS to put it together. I'm just not sure why we've not heard much from them on this. I do suspect that an NFJS-oriented one would end up being pretty pricey.

Having just been to a 2 day JavaScript conference which was priced at $495, and having been to several CodeMash conferences (each under $200), I'm getting a bit spoiled by the low-cost, high-quality conferences as of late. Any G3 conference that's put together would, in my view, need to be relatively inexpensive to attend. $500 is pushing it, and having seen what organizers can do with sub $500 conferences, I'm convinced it can be done successfully.

James said...

Though Detroit has cheap hotels, being a hub for NWA/Delta drives the prices up. Cincy is even worse. If it weren't somewhere in the Mid-Atlantic or Norcal, I'd say MSP/CHI would be good based on hotels and low cost airfare.

R.J. Salicco said...

GR8 in US: +1

Dave Klein said...

Breaking news from the NFJS team! There will be a Groovy event later this year. Watch for an announcement to come out of JavaOne!

Michael Kimsal said...

Cool - just got wind of it myself. Looking forward to the details.

Dean Del Ponte said...

Has anyone considered Milwaukee? It's cheap and centrally located. I'd also be willing to help out organize a conference where needed.

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