I have long wanted to attend a BarCamp but it’s not easy to get yourself to attend a conference on a Saturday after a whole week of work. I was also turned off by an impression that the crowd was interested in creating communities on the web, or micro-credit. Worthwhile themes, to be sure, but not currently part of my interests.
So I went to this edition, hoping that I would at least get to see Java-related things. Mostly, that was correct, though a large number of participants were web-enthusiasts (PHP, for example), rather than coming from the server side, as I am.
Eventually, I only got to attend the GWT session, which was rather good (demo of WebVNC, an integration of VNC with a web browser through GWT). I wanted to leave at 12am; it is hard to spend a whole Saturday in a conference, when you have already been working all week (CITCON, of course, is also in this position… but it is such a good conference that I just have to go anyway ;-) It is also a shame that, while the conference was supposed to start at 9am, the first sessions didn’t start until 11am.
Short answer: there are none.
Longer answer: the difference is mostly in the spirit.
- in BarCamps, there is little attempt to contact potential participants (though in the case of BarCampParis15, Sun did send an email to their contact base). Advertising is mostly made by creating a page on barcamp.org (I keep a Google Alert just for this)
- the format is even less defined in BarCamps. As little explanation as possible is provided at the beginning.
- there is no encouragement for the participants to rearrange the agenda
- generally speaking, there is less emphasis on participation by the average attendant. Participants with experience or more ‘pushy’ than others tend to steal the show. Not that it never happens in Open Space Confs, of course…
Check out my pictures from the event.