I love unconferences. The dynamics and the feeling is quite different from "normal" conferences. They tend to be quite unassuming in regards to the people or the talks. And I do love that some of the sessions are just people asking for someone to help them understand concepts or tools.
I just attended Busconf, which is a Functional Programming Unconference in its second year. And the experience has been greatly satisfying.
the location, at the SeminarZentrum in Rückersbach, a bit outside of Frankfurt, is an incredible and beautiful choice (if you want to have a view through google maps you can see it here). I was even surprised that taxis would go over there. But to achieve a sense of community, it is just perfect. There is nothing else to do but to mingle with the rest of the attendees. And I leave having met lots of interesting people.
the talks were very informative and enjoyable:
Tom Harding and Justin Woo did some talks around Purescript that actually made want to do some frontend (I am one of those people that don't like much neither JS the language nor the ecosystem).
Christoph Welcz did a fantastic job with his presentation of functional programming in Java using Vavr. I have used that library before, and he has actually taken away some of my misgivings about it.
One of the greatest thing about unconferences, as mentioned earlier, is that sometimes a session is someone with an itch asking for who can scratch it. In that vein there was an entertaining discussion about finding the pros and cons of Elm, instantiated by Nicole Rauch. One con (for some people a pro) that I thing we forgot was that Elm is very opinionated (The Elm Architecture). There was another session like it for Haskell on the real word, alas! I missed that one.
not everything was perfect. With the hot weather currently afflicting Europe, the SeminarZentrum wasn't really prepared for the high temperatures (over 30C). But I don't think that is what you usually get on that area. And I had a nightmare Thursday getting there: I did manage first to get the wrong train to the airport (it did not go to the airport), and then realize that I was on the wrong airport ... Go me.
But it was a great experience that I am looking forward to repeat next year.
I want to give some thanks to Marco Emrich for convincing me to cofacilitate a session around Functional Calisthenics and for bringing some board games so we could play, and to Rabea Gleissner and Uğurcan Şengit for the session about Apprenticeships (happily suggested by Wolfram Kriesing).