It seems everywhere you turn in Niagara these days there is a grass-roots movement of talented people getting together to talk about their passion and, even more importantly, openly share what they have learned along the way. It was just a matter of time before it happened with software developers and programmers.
The Software Niagara mandate as it is stated on their website:
Software Niagara is a group of designers, developers, and entrepreneurs with a belief that Niagara is a great place to create. And we have the will to make it better. It is our goal — our passion — to build a stronger software community. Because through sharing and collaboration, we can make great things.
One of the key vehicles that the organization is using to showcase the work that the individual members of the community are engaged in is through public DemoCamps. The first DemoCamp event was held on Wednesday night at On the Front Cafe and Eatery in Thorold. The event was sponsored by Venture Niagara and Lakeside Electrical.
The atmosphere was cool and casual, a stylish cafe with finger foods and cold and hot beverages encouraged the 40+ people in attendance to mingle both before and after the event and the conversations varied from technical, to hockey, to introductions and catching up with old friends.
After Michael and Nickolas greeted the crowd, Software Hamilton founder, Kevin Browne shared a little bit of his insight from his experience in his community and this was followed by a dynamic overview of the value of community building and communication from Adam White of Upper Rapids/JMR Logics.
The reason we were all there was to see the cool tech!
The evening was broken down into three 5-minute presentations followed by 5-minute Q&A, this was followed by a break and then another 3 presentations:
- Niagara Here – niagarahere.ca developed by FURI Enterprises with the Niagara Artists Centre. Presentation by Thomas Madej & Joseph Peric (FURI) and Kate Leathers (NAC) web-based applications
- Nickolas Kenyeres (Software Niagara) Markup tool, wordprocessor/text editor with PDF and HTML export
- FingerPlays iPad App presented by Scott Teglasi (Mulberry Media)
- Niagara Properties of the Eve of War by Thomas Madej (FURI Enterprises)
- Aumbry proprietary CMS (content management system) by David Roberts & Aaron Clayton (Glacier Digital)
- Ice Time hockey management tool by Michael Mottala (Software Niagara)
Cool Cool Cool
The first thing that struck me about the various presentations was that there was some enormous talent and passion on display. In some cases, the software was developed as a part-time exercise of the user (Michael’s Ice Time app was developed with him as the primary end-user to manage his hockey pick-up game times), others like Niagara Here represents a partnership between the local creative and technical communities to develop a product for addressing unique Niagara cultural concerns.
The second observation I made was a complete willingness to share what is “under the hood,” the tools they are using, why they chose them and how they made the magic happen.
I had a great time taking it in and it bodes well for the future of this community in the Niagara region.
JUST THE FACTS:
Software Niagara is a grass-roots organization. They are in no way affiliated with any institution, company, or government agency. All work is done by volunteers and any sponsorships are used solely to cover event costs.
Software Niagara was founded in 2012. The idea came from Software Hamilton. Software Hamilton continues to do an amazing job of building a strong software community in Hamilton, ON. We can only hope to achieve a fraction of their success.
This DemoCamp was their first event and they have plans for events in October and another DemoCamp in November