Last week marked my first trip to India and an inaugural tour for us to get up close and personal with the Force.com community there. I got all sorts of advice before heading out to India: what to eat, what not to eat, what not to drink, where to go, what to ride in, what not to ride in, what to wear, what to spray on, how to avoid malaria, what immunizations to get and where to stay. But no amount of advice could really ready me for the response we got from developers in India.
To put it simply: record-breaking. Simply, record-breaking. We planned a three city tour: Hyderabad, Pune and Bangalore. I believe the original goal was 100 developers in each city, which is a fairly common attendance for our meetups here in the states. That plan went quickly out the door as registration filled up in under five hours. Five hours is usually barely enough time for the message to get out there – and India’s appetite for the Force.com platform continued on … Kavindra Patel and I spent a lot of time the weeks leading up to the trip managing a massive waiting list. OK, actually Kavindra managed the waiting list – I just told a lot of people about its existence.
How about content? We arranged brand-new material into an agenda just for the tour. We often do workshops here in the states, and Kavindra wanted to make sure we were bringing that hands-on experience to India. We also wanted to bring some of the fun we have at meetups, so we mixed up a one part workshop, one part trivia/quiz style format. With the exception of the hands-on training that happens at Dreamforce, however, I don’t believe we’ve ever done workshop material for nearly 200 developers in the same room. It should have been complete madness, but except for a couple of times where the Internet wasn’t playing nice (apparently India has these things called power holidays) – we had a lot of people building data models in the cloud, developing mobile interfaces with Visualforce and integrating with the REST API using Heroku. Not bad for a day’s work.
Then there’s the nine new developer user groups formed. Nine. Or while the day went on, the hundreds of tweets and Facebook posts that we saw from developers. The level of energy and excitement in these rooms was, as the kids like to say these days, off the hook.
I’ve posted the tutorials and slides we used for this week over on github, and the repo may play a factor as we evolve our workshop material for more audiences and to include the ever-broadening solutions the Salesforce Platform provides. For now, though, I’m just glad to have a point up for posterity – it was an amazing week, and I do believe Kavindra means to send me back there. First though, we have this little event called “Dreamforce” we need to get through…