Polyglot (un)conference #polyglotconf

Today I attended the first annual Polyglot (un)conference in Vancouver.


Unconferences are similar to traditional conferences; the main difference being that all the sessions are voted upon by the attendees and decided day-of. The last unconference I attended was not very well organized and took too long to get going. I was pleasantly surprised that this wasn’t the case today. Part of the voting was done online ahead of time using uvoice and organizers really took charge in getting things going in the morning.

In computer lingo, polyglot is the concept of writing programs in several different programming languages. The polyglot conference brought together developers from all kinds of backgrounds. Lots of ruby, .net, JavaScript, and erlang folks were in attendance. To my own surprise, not many people at the event work with PHP.

I also got the impression that many of the web developers who were here see WordPress as more of an amateur and hackish platform. I’m obviously deeply entrenched in the WordPress community so it’s interesting and even somewhat refreshing to get different perspectives; regardless whether the feedback is good or bad. That being said, most people I spoke with individually were actually really interested in the work we do at Automattic and WordPress.com, especially in terms of scaling.

I always love going beyond my comfort zone and learning new things. Highlights for me today were:

  • A really great presentation on various open-source mapping technologies chiefly Mapbox. I’m a huge fan of open data and tools that help developers work with it so this was a great learning experience for me.
  • Several great presentations and breakout discussions on open source vs. proprietary code.
  • Fun lunch on a bright, sunny , warm patio; with discussions on general programming idioms.
  • In-depth introductions to Erlang and Ruby languages; both of which I only had limited experience with.
  • Long coffee break facilitated by a fire alarm at the venue.

Overall a really great event that I was happy to be part of.


Maps presentation by Talyor Sherman


From consultant to product by Boris Mann


Great lunchtime chats

PS: this was the first time I wrote a blog post from the WordPress iOS app on my iPhone. Really slick experience, and a new version was just released, go check it out 🙂

2 Comments on “Polyglot (un)conference #polyglotconf

  1. Hi Joey — thanks for the write up. I was also surprised at how few PHP attendees there were. For want of a better word, this was a pretty “hard core” developer crowd.

    • Hey Borris,

      Thanks for stopping by and checking out my post. Yeah, it was definitely more of a “hard core” crowd, which was made for a learning experience for me 🙂

      Great job putting up the event, thanks a bunch for co-organizing 😉

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