Wednesday, April 1, 1998 at 7:01:13 AM Pacific
Preston on the SOCALFUG MeetingFrom Preston Holmes, email@example.com :
We had 17 people who braved the stormy El Nino weather to participate in the first meeting of a nascent Southern California Frontier Users Group! This turnout was better than expected.
No official minutes were taken and the process was very informal, so these are just my observations.
We had both a Mac and Windows machine set up that shared a LCD projector.
We started out by just going around and having people say their name and how they started using Frontier and what they use it for now.
We next had a presentation from someone who had just built their first website in Frontier. We discussed to what degree this person needed to dig into the code and roll their own solution vs. what they were able to do without any programming (they were also new to Frontier). We also had a group answer session for someone who was completely new to Frontier and confused about the ODB talk about some of the walls that people, even those with programming experience, hit when first starting with Frontier. Everyone felt that things were much improved over a year or two ago, but still very confusing for beginners.
Almost everyone there used Frontier for doing non-website work (in addition to website work for most) and there was some discussion about how people felt that Frontier was being marketed so exclusively as a web development tool. We also talked about whether Userland was trying to position Frontier as a direct competitor to StoryServer, Fusion, or create its own niche. In general I would say peoples impression of marketing was that it was often misleading in representing what something could do (both Vignette's and Userland's Marketing). Some people felt there was too much flexibility in the way Frontier did websites and that there were too many situations where you had to roll your own. I commented that it was this very flexibility that gave Frontier maximal power to those who could afford the time to learn Frontier well.
A large LA based site that employed 35 people discussed what walls they were hitting when producing the large volumes of content that they did. They had evaluated storyserver and were also interested in Frontier. The group offered its opinions on where Frontier would and would not meet their needs.
I gave a presentation on the use of NetFrontier - but the demo mac was 68K so I couldn't use the new Mac TCP verbs and the demo version I had written was on my server as a .sit.hqx file and so couldn't be loaded onto the windows machine.
At this point it was 4:30 and we decided to just break up into an informal social (I brought some chips and salsa, Doug had provided drinks). At some point a discussion on the restrictions placed on participation in the Userland lists was started. People wanted to start an alternative list after noting that Frontier-talk had always been too quick to unsubscribe people. I pointed out that it would be hard to convince posters to use an alternate list when the Userland lists served the community well some %90 of the time, but there was some strong sentiment that the remaining times were a disincentive to participate for those who are not regular participants already.
We also commented on the fact that the first meeting was more successful than expected, and that we may want to take some more formal steps to becoming something more organized. Also ideas were tossed around for where the next meeting might be held.
All in all it was a great meeting in realspace. I enjoyed meeting for the first time so many Frontier users in person. A good and fun group of people.
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