Tradeshows and gym memberships: more similar than you think!

Sponsored Students

While preparing for the Fall COMMON Conference, I kept thinking about a recent conversation I had with the manager at my local gym. She said, “We’ve got cardio equipment, free weights, spin classes, and more. You can participate in all or none, it’s really up to you. You have to decide how much time you are willing to invest and identify the activities that provide the best results.” She had a valuable, yet simple point; you get out what you put in.

As a veteran attendee and presenter at IBM i events, my team and I work extremely hard to make every interaction count. Sometimes, though, we get sidetracked catching up with old friends, reviewing the latest product news, or applying last minute touches to presentations rather than soaking in all of the goodness around us.

Anyone who’s seen me knows I haven’t put a lot into my gym membership, so I thought I’d apply the “gym membership” mantra to this year’s conference and make a concerted effort to take advantage of all that Fall COMMON had to offer.

Here’s what I got out of this year’s fall COMMON:

Students have mad skills

Sponsored Students MediumThe COMMON Education Foundation’s (CEF) Student Initiative seeks sponsorships from businesses, like LANSA, to enable students to attend the event free of charge. We had the privilege of sponsoring two students from Polytechnic University located in Lakeland, FL. John is a 2nd year Master’s student studying Computer Engineering who works with software defined radio (SDR) in mesh networks. Jessie is a 2nd year Bachelor’s student in Electrical Engineering with a focus on software, and is involved in researching low energy Bluetooth and the security involved with wearables. It warms the heart to see an influx of new, young talent entering the IBM i ecosystem.

Renewed interest in Web technology

I polled the attendees at my session on the number of Web languages they used on a daily basis. Thirty-seven percent of the audience used four or more Web languages, and six percent knew eight or more! The message my team and I brought to the conference was to imagine never coding a single line of HTML, JavaScript or CSS again. Next month LANSA will be unveiling a new Web technology – it’s a game changer (for IBM i, Windows and Cloud platforms). We gave the COMMON attendees a sneak preview of the tool and demonstrated how Web applications can be designed without knowing any of the traditional Web languages, responsive interfaces can be built without knowing Bootstrap or other front-end frameworks, and interacting with the Web server asynchronously can be done without knowing any AJAX, REST, or JSON. The audience was impressed, especially when we were able to replicate a website written in 1000 lines of HTML, JavaScript and CSS code in under 100.

How the mighty have fallen

We raffled off three mobile devices at this year’s fall conference: an Apple iPad, a Microsoft Surface, and a Samsung Galaxy tablet. The winners were able to choose whichever prize was still available. The order in which the prizes were selected by the winners surprised me. The Microsoft Surface went first, then the Samsung Galaxy, and finally the Apple iPad. Two years ago a fist-fight would have broken out to lay claim to the iPad and now last week it was merely a consultation prize. I guess the raffle validated that the front row seat of the hot technology rollercoaster is always open to the next set of riders.  And kudos to Microsoft on clawing their way back into the mobile computing race – I thought we lost you forever.

This week I’m headed to the RPG & DB2 Summit. I plan to apply the same lens at this event too. If you’re going, I encourage you to do the same and make sure to stop by the LANSA booth so we can compare notes!

David Brault

Author: David Brault

David Brault is the Product Marketing Manager for LANSA in the Americas and has over 15 years of application development experience, including extensive involvement integrating IBM i applications with various Windows, Web and wireless technologies. David draws on his knowledge of IBM i (System i, iSeries, AS/400) technology to help determine the market message for LANSA's products. He is currently responsible for launching new LANSA products and serving as the U.S. product line expert for press and analyst briefings. David is a member of the COMMON Americas Advisory Council (CAAC) and a frequent speaker at COMMON and other industry events.

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