CodeIgniter Conference 2011 in Japan - a brief report

Last weekend, I had the pleasure if attending the first CodeIgniter Conference held in Japan. I had the chance to meet the 40-50 other few, but proud, CodeIgniter developers to discuss CI's many applications. The after-conference party was also lots of fun, and a great chance to "geek out" with everyone. Here is my brief report/observations about the conference:

  • I'm not the only one who was attracted by the ease of use of CI and its excellent documentation, which version 2.0 is already almost completely translated in Japanese. お疲れ様です!
  • CodeIgniter is not very well known in Japan yet, probably less than elsewhere, as older frameworks are still dominant. That's probably the case in other parts of the world, though. We therefore had the chance to get the full range of CI talks, from beginner to "I only got maybe half of that"
  • Very few participants knew CodeIgniter is part of EllisLab. Bet they were confused to see the introductory video from EllisLab Software Engineer Pascal Kriete then!
  • Almost no one knew about ExpressionEngine, even less that from version 2, ExpressionEngine is a full-blown CodeIgniter application!
  • I said almost no one... there was actually another ExpressionEngine developer there, which briefly presented EE, Devot:ee, Show-ee, EE Insider, etc. We then started converting others at the after-party ^^. Could a EE community be (re-)born in Japan?
  • This brings the number of ExpressionEngine developers in Japan that I know of to about... four now?
  • Only a small fraction of people use git for versioning or know of GitHub. SVN is still dominant, followed by Mercurial. Being a CI conference, that makes sense, though.
  • No AC power and very flaky WiFi makes for an unhappy MacBook (and a dead battery after a few hours). Hopefully next year will improve on that.
  • Problems with garbled Japanese text is not just an EE problem, it's a CI one as well. The struggle with the email class continues...
  • We were introduced to Seezoo, a CI-based CMS built by one developer (Sugimoto-san). Drag & drop file manager with easy sub-folder creation, front-end text editing similar to Mojomotor, widgets, movable section "blocks"... I was very impressed for a CMS built in a little over a year. I can see a few good concepts that ExpressionEngine/Mojomotor should adopt from Seezoo. I'm even thinking of trying this out for future work. Seezoo is Japanese-only for now, but English support should come soon.
  • Computer preferences: looked like about 1/3 each for MacOS, Ubuntu and... Windows. Yes, people still actually develop on Windows machines in Japan! Even saw some of those godawful IBM Thinkpads people seem to love so much here.
  • There's some smart cookies out there doing cool stuff with CI. FileMaker integration for example? Never thought of that.
  • I was the only gaijin (foreigner) there! A little surprising, thought there would be more...
  • There are Battlestar Galactica fans in Japan, too ^-

CICON2011 was a great experience, I learned tons and met some great people. I'm thinking of flying over for next year's conference...