Geeks are ending 2012 with a serious bang, after a year that has been so jam packed with tech events that it’s bloody hard to unearth an evening not already occuppied by some tech occasion. Following hot on the heels of the usual post summer conference season, you’d think that Javascripters, Pythonistas, PHPers, Rubyists, .NETers, Nodies, Erlangers (a title that would make for an awesome Cork meetup!) and Objective-C types would waving the white flag and catching up on some zzz’s ahead of Christmas. But no! They’re still kicking ass. Two examples from just this week were Geekslam and the Global Day of Code Retreat.

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Geekslam saw two teams of geeks from various user groups face off on a topic chosen by those who attended. After coming up with a short list, including things like Native vs Web Apps and iOS vs Android, the night was going to be won or lost on the basis of that dinner time conversation classic - “Relational DBs vs NoSQL”. First up though there were talks on a set of subjects as varied as the audience.

Simon Rand from Dublin JS presented on Appcelerator Titanium, with some of the big takeway points being that it can save you a bunch of time across platforms and give good code reuse as well as being pretty fast, unless you need bleeding raw perfromance for something like gaming. Vinny Glennon from Ruby Ireland talked about some cracking gems he uses to make him a more productive day to day. Not only did this help inform Rubyists about handy tools and libraries they may be missing out on, it also paved the way later for discussion on how other languages/platforms solved similar problems. Next up was Andrew Smith from Dublin ALT.NET who talked about RX.js - a library to compose asynchronous and event-based programs using observable collections and LINQ-style query operators. And completing the talks featuring Javascript love was Richard Rodger, presenting on NodeJS, before taking a breather to sharpen his NodeJS duelling pistol. Ulrich Dangel from Python Ireland gave a great overview of a topic of interest to many devs - GIS Development. And finally, Valdimar Kristjansson explained to us, “Why I love Erlang.”

Before the ultimate event started there was even time for a mini-battle between NodeJS and Erlang. After both trading blows and scoring impressive points the bout was edged by Erlang, showing that there’s life in the old dog yet, though the Node team did unveil a snazzy NodeCopter later on - so perhaps the Erlang User group is going to be subjected to drone attacks until the next showdown!

Then onto the main course - the Geekslam - where the audience tweeted some pretty zany situations for NoSQL and RDBMS’s to duke it out (to give you a flavour, consider “AI for global thermonuclear war targetting system from satellite, submarine & silo launch platforms”).

There were rules. There were marks deducted for below the belt hits. There were double points for “sophisticated trolling”. There was a team of judges who at times appeared to struggle to stay out of the debate. And there was a winner - the unaminous decision went to NoSQL. So keep an eye out for that global thermonuclear war targetting system running on MongoDB!

It was all good natured fun. The debates rumbled on. Once EngineYard had locked its doors there were still geeks slammin in the Schoolhouse Hotel, then down the canal and finally in the Portobello. Though by that stage there was probably less sophisticated trolling going on!

Hats off to the EngineYard - the host venue for the evening, the providers of pizza and the contributors of craft beer. And a big hand for the sponsors, NearForm who contributed a NodeCopter to the prize list, and Demonware who put up a Special edition copy of Black Ops II. And thanks to Paul Campbell and Tito for making ticketing enjoyable! EngineYard’s Eamon Leonard did a fantastic job managing the fray - perhaps a career as a boxing referee beckons, maybe even chess boxing. Talk of another Geekslam in January is already underway. Doesn’t look like it’s going to get any easier to find spare evenings for new tech meetups in 2013 either…

Phew! To save your scrolling thumbs, the Global Day of Code Retreat will be handled in a separate posting :)