3 minute read

The fifth ThunderPlains web and mobile developer conference concluded Friday with socializing at venues around the Will Rogers Theater at NW 43rd and Western where the one-day conference was held.

Szabolcs Toth
Szabolcs Toth demonstrated hacking hardware and software by creating a server-based coffeemaker.

Earlier, speakers from as far away as Budapest came to present new ideas and mingle with over 200 insatiably curious people who populate this conference each year.

But ThunderPlains 2017 had more than large sessions in the main auditorium.

Lightning talks in a smaller room allowed multiple people to pitch new ideas in a tightly-timed environment that provides rapid-fire resourcing and ideas.

Bootstrap developer

Mayiwo Aken’Ora is a JavaScript developer who works remotely from Oklahoma City for an employer in New York. It’s a good-paying contract that he would not have had if not for the active tech community in the OKC.

Alanna Riederer
Alanna Riederer just recently got on with Exaptive and enjoyed the learning available at ThunderPlains.

Several years ago he started getting curious about writing code and computer applications. The problem was that he could not afford either the money or the time to go back to school.

Instead, he started plugging into the tech user groups that were starting to meet at Prototech makerspace to share knowledge and learn from each other.

“The user groups really helped me to get oriented and learn so that when I went to the books and online classes I was already a step ahead,” Aken’Ora told this reporter two years ago for another story.

Luke Crouch
Luke Crouch giving his talk, “How to run your code on the dark web (and why you should)”

He was back Friday to keep up the personal and knowledge connections at ThunderPlains 2017, an annual web and mobile developer conference held in Oklahoma City.

“I like knowing people in this community and learning from them,” Aken’Ora told Free Press as we waited for the first session to begin and launch a full day of presentations.

Techlahoma

Techlahoma Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit operated by volunteers, became the key element in the growth of tech user groups in OKC.

Thunder Plains 2016
Sold-out crowd at Thunder Plains 2016

ThunderPlains conference is the primary way it raises money for the coming year to sponsor the many user groups that have proliferated in what developers on the west coast might consider an unlikely place for the level of activity seen here.

But, it’s not just a money-raiser. In many ways ThunderPlains is the biggest impromptu user group of the year in Techlahoma’s panoply of user groups and volunteer-run code schools.

Techlahoma’s user groups, clubs and schools have now graduated to the much more comfortable and made-to-fit environment of a new co-working space: Starspace46 at 1141 W Sheridan Ave. west of downtown Oklahoma City.

Groups, schools

Jesse and Amanda Harlin
Two of Techlahoma’s founders, Jesse and Amanda Harlin, speak to a user group at StartSpace46 in Feb.

From one lonely JavaScript user group, Techlahoma has steadily grown its list of groups and learning opportunities.

In addition to ThunderPlains, Techlahoma organized the 200OK Tulsa web developer conference in June, providing  many resources and contacts for participants.

The foundation sponsors 30 user groups and schools that meet around the state during the work week, evenings and sometimes on weekends.


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