A week of Monospace and Innotech

I spent last week at the Monospace conference, which was held concurrently with the annual Innotech conference here in Austin.


This was the first year for Monospace, and it was fantastic. Scott Bellware did a great job of organizing the conf, bringing in top notch attendees, and providing fun after-hours activities as well. Miguel de Icaza (founder of the Mono project) attended, along with a good chunk of his team. There were plenty of local folks (including a few of us from Dovetail), folks from Microsoft, as well as a bunch of international developers as well. It was an incredible bunch of super-smart folks, all willing to share and help others kick ass.

From the Monospace website:

Monospace is the conference that teaches .NET software developers and organizations how to use the Mono framework and Microsoft .NET to leverage existing investments in skills and applications on a broader array of platforms for a broader array of opportunities.

The Mono framework lets you take advantage of not only Windows, but also Linux, Mac, iPhone, Android, and comprehensive cloud computing platforms like Amazon’s EC2, and even special-purpose hardware platforms.

For those not familiar with Mono, its a cross platform, open source .NET development framework. The Mono FAQ is a good place to start.

I’m extremely impressed with what the Mono team has accomplished.

The conference was 2 days of workshops followed by 2 days of Open Space. Since a good deal of us attendees were .NET developers, we were able to get acquainted with Mono, MonoDevelop and MonoTouch in the workshops, and then dive into various topics during the Open Space. There were open space topics on MEF, iPhone development, adding scripting to your application, Silverlight, NHibernate, and some good discussions around legal aspects of using open-source software.

I loved the combination of workshops + Open Space.


I got to see my first glimpse of MonoDevelop. Impressive.

MonoDevelop is an IDE primarily designed for C# and other .NET languages. MonoDevelop enables developers to quickly write desktop and ASP.NET Web applications on Linux. MonoDevelop makes it easy for developers to port .NET applications created with Visual Studio to Linux and to maintain a single code base for all platforms.


MonoTouch was one of the biggest hits of the show.

From the MonoTouch website:

MonoTouch allows developers to create C# and .NET based applications that run on Apple’s iPhone and Apple’s iPod Touch devices, while taking advantage of the iPhone APIs and reusing both code and libraries that have been built for .NET, as well as existing skills.

It was pretty bad ass seeing .NET developers writing C# code to create iPhone apps.

SUSE Studio

We also saw SUSE Studio in action. Miguel did a great demo when he showed building an application in Visual Studio in Windows, from VS, compiling/building in on Linux which created a RPM package. Uploading that to the cloud, using SUSE Studio to create a custom Linux distro, and running the just built app in the cloud. This custom distro can also be pushed to EC2. Totally. Bad. Ass.


In the midst of all the Monospace goodness, the InnoTech conference happened on Thursday. I think this is my 4th year attending InnoTech here in Austin.

InnoTech is an annual conference and exhibition built specifically for business and technology executives, highlighting the region’s innovation and technology development opportunities by showcasing pioneering products and services.

There were lots of talks on social media (no surprise), cloud computing (again, no surprise), as well as some technical talks including ASP.NET MVC, database change management, and one on Operational Transformation: The Key to Understanding Google Wave. Great stuff.

A wide range of topics – great for both business and technical folks.


One of the fun parts of InnoTech is walking the exhibit floor, getting to see new products, and engage in good discussions.

It was very cool to see multiple CRM companies exhibiting this year: Parature, txt4crm, and TeamSupport. This was my first exposure to TeamSupport – they have a nice product.

Get out of your office

If you haven’t attended InnoTech before – I would recommend it – especially if its local. Not only is it a great way to see and hear about new products and technology, but it’s an opportunity to get out and meet other tech pros, bounce some ideas around, and stay in touch with the ever-changing technology world that we live in.

Whenever I go to a conference, my Idea faucet seems to open up wide. I’m constantly jotting down new ideas – I just wish I had time and resources to do them all!