Atlassian is a sponsor of this year’s YOW! events in Melbourne and Brisbane. For weeks we’ve wondered Why is it called that and we finally got the gumption to ask. Here’s an interview with Dave Thomas, one of the founders of YOW (and also a judge of our Ultimate Wallboards Competition), about the event and why locals should consider attending the conference and workshops:

Interview with Dave Thomas

DaveThomas JPEG Small.jpgWhat’s Yow?
YOW! is the Australia Developer Conference held this year in Melbourne and Brisbane. It brings great international speakers to Australia and sponsors the YOW Conference, YOW Workshops and YOW Nights. It is a great networking event for the Australian developer community. Topics include Web, Mobile, Architecture& Design, Best Practices, Lean&Agile, Scaling, DevOps, Tools, Interaction& Visualization, CloudComputing, Concurrency, Languages, Enterprise Computing, NoSQL, Best Practices. There are 3 great keynotes and 36 talks plus 2-days of workshops.

OK, but is YOW the same as JAOO, just mispelled?
In Australia the Danish JAOO was always mispronounced as a slow painful “Jeh Eh Oh Oh”… YOW is just a fun word that sounds like JAOO.

What are the workshops?
The YOW! Workshops take place before the main conferences and offer full day intensive professional development training offered by international experts. Workshops provide a small group environment to learn from and interact with YOW! expert speakers. This year presenters include:

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homeBrisbaneButton.gifEnough of the pleasantries. Let’s get a little controversial… does the world really need another developer conference? What’s special about YOW?
As your own CEO, Mike, has said, “YOW! is great for the Australian development scene – mixing top quality international speakers with local gurus to create a truly world class tech conference.”

The conference is vendor and platform neutral bringing the latest in software to Australian developers. All speakers are invited by an independent international program committee.

What do you think will be the biggest themes to come out of this year’s events?
I think the major theme is that development platforms, for example, mobile, languages, tools and methods are diversifying requiring developers to broaden their professional skills. Cloud Computing is increasing the emphasis on deliver web scale applications with associated massive concurrency, and data volumes.

How do you think the Australian developer ecosystem is different from other parts of the world?
Australia has great development talent as proven by Atlassian and SpringSource to name two familiar companies. Until recently there were relatively few such companies, hence it was felt that one always had to leave Australia for US.

Given the distance it isn’t surprising that Australian Devs are some of the largest readers and bloggers per capita. For many years developers also suffered from a lack of Internet bandwidth both within the country and more importantly across the Pacific. This makes occasionally disconnected development via GIT/Mercurial and Dropbox very popular.

Perhaps the most difficult challenge in Australia is that while the developer community is very with it, their corporate leaders often lag 2 – 3 years behind. Agile for example is really big in the last year in Australia. It isn’t as easy to find early adopters as it is in US. Similarly investment isn’t as easy to find. It is essential to sell internationally from the outset by leveraging the web.

Why did you start this event?
I’m an international adjunct professor at QUT in Brisane. During one of my visits to Brisbane in 2007 developers complained about their inability to gain access to access to top speakers. Since I’m on the planning committee of JAOO, I called Denmark from the pub and we agreed to do it. This is our third year. We’ve had 2,000 developers attend our YOW! Nights in May, July and September and expect 300+ in both Melbourne and Brisbane.

In addition to YOW! Melbourne we are hosting Ignite Melbourne on December 1, followed with Code Retreat and RapidFTR Code Jam December 3.

Learn more and register for YOW!