A couple of friends from the Omaha Dynamic Language User Group and I went to Kansas City for our first BarCampKC experience. Not surprisingly, the conversations in the bar on Friday night and in the hallway on Saturday we at least as interesting as the presentations themselves. And that is high praise, as I really enjoyed the presentations on Radiant Content Management System, real world application of Google Maps, and Situated Web Applications.
A majority of the attendees were Rails users so it was good for me to be out of my normal programming ecosystem. Most of the people I know who use Ruby are language junkies so it was very interesting to broaden my horizons. I did get to present "Introduction to Groovy" and that was well received. Some of the attendees work with Java on a part time basis and I think they saw value in using Groovy on a Java project.
We also had a nice discussion about the value Groovy brings to business applications in using BigDecimal by default for float pointing values. Rexx is the only other language I've used that provides this feature. It may not help with performance in micro-benchmarks but if you have to work with business entities in domains such as banking, finance, insurance or anything that deals with money like shopping carts, its really nice to know the numbers will add up as expected when your language offers BigDecimal by default.
The folks in Kansas City were very gracious to us and I look forward to interacting with them in the future.