A few weekends ago, on February 26th was the fifth Boise Code Camp1 held at the Boise State University campus. It is the third Code Camp in Boise I have attended, and sadly it was reduced to a single day because they felt they didn't have enough submissions. As I didn't submit a talk this year, I suppose I'm at least partially to blame for that, but either way it was still a solid event.
It did however occur to me, that, at the most basic level, a Monad can be described as a collection containing a homogeneous collection of data, whose methods are designed to support chaining commands together into a pipeline. Incidentally, this is very much how working with DOM nodes in jQuery or YUI3 works, though I'm pretty sure either library wouldn't describe themselves as 'Monadic', and it's probably not wholly accurate, but I think it provides a working definition to help get someone started on investigating this concept.
Second hour, I attended Glenn Block's3 talk on WCF and REST, which was really interesting. I had used WCF in .NET 3.5, and it was an improvement over the older web-service mechanisms that .NET provided for building web services. However, the new WCF is amazingly customizable. Content Negotiation is nearly trivial, Glenn showing off an easy way to generate vCard files based on the Accept headers sent from the client. Luckily there is a reasonable parallel of this talk at MVC Conf4 this year5. But having recently done up a simple RESTful service in ASP.NET MVC, the tooling that WCF provides is really interesting to me, plus it's Open Source and available now6.
After lunch, I attended a talk about F# on the Web given by Ryan Riley7. Ryan has built a Sinatra8 from Ruby clone in F#, which reminded me a bit of Express.js9 from Node.js, in that the app is it's own server and it's based on routing paths to commands. F#, particularly with it's asynchronous processing, allows for very clean code for spec'ing out a web service. It's still a work in progress, but definitely something to at least watch. Implied callbacks in async processing is pretty cool.
I attended Ole Dam's Leadership talk, which was really inspiring in, but the slides don't seem to be posted (unfortunately), and it's hard to describe. The short version is that becoming a good leader requires work and care, and most of the leadership advice available is pretty terrible. I won't say much more about it, but Ole apparently gives these talks all over the place and for a relatively low cash outlay, so if given the opportunity to hear him talk, I'd suggest taking advantage.
Overall, the event wasn't as valuable to me this year as in years past, but it was still an excellent event, particularly for one that is free to attendees. If nothing else, it's a great opportunity to meet up with people that I only see once a year or so.