I was lucky enough to be part of DevFest Turkey recently. This free one day conference covers all web technologies (talks included Android, GWT, Jelastic, Cloud, and more commercial topics). There was an army of volunteers in blue teeshirts making the event run very slickly and free food/drink. There was even a free goodie bag and a teeshirt for everyone.
The venue was a large building at Istanbul University (which actually proved too small for the 3,000 attendees (students and also lots of professionals). My only complaint was that the University network blocked everything except http connections (so my remote GlassFish demo would not run).
The day consisted of a hackathon, some exhibitors stands, and 4 tracks of talks running. Talks were in Turkish, English or both. As I have spent 3 years developing a PDF to HTML5 converter in NetBeans and GlassFish, I did a talk on using NetBeans and GlassFish, along with details about HTML5, SVG and browser issues.
Like all conferences there were people using NetBeans, Eclipse and Intellij there. About 30% of the people I spoke to had not heard of NetBeans and many others though that it was just for Java. I had a lot of people watching my demonstrations of creating non-Java projects and they were particularly impressed at the idea of one tool to cover all their development uses.
This was not a Java event and there were lots of web users, PHP developers and non-developers. I met several engineering students who were very impressed by the features (especially the configurability, the tools and the debug options) and looking for 'less technical' documentation to get them started.
One of my favourite NetBeans features is the excellent out of the box version control and I showed it to several people who have learnt the hard way why Version Control is so useful. One of my pet ideas is that Universities should teach all their students Version control at the start. It was stop any work being lost!
Lots of people asked me about why they should use NetBeans rather than Eclipse which is a very subjective question to answer. So I preferred to focus on what NetBeans offers and why I prefer to use it for most of my work. The NetBeans team have produced some pages on features in NetBeans IDE 7.4 which made this much easier. I always feel we are very lucky (spoiled even) to have several first-class IDEs on Java which are free to use or at least try.
The day finally finished with at 7pm (all the speakers adjourned to a nearby restaurant). It was an excellent conference and I hope to see you in Istanbul next year ...