What are our goals?
What are our goals with the Indy ALT.NET group?
When we were discussing our goals with others, we were asked, "How are you going to distinguish Indy ALT.NET from the Indy .NET User Group?" This was a great question!
Shane Milton's short definition (long definition found here) of what ALT.NET means is "The concept of ALT.NET means that you try to use all tools and techniques available in an appropriate way to do your job in the best and most efficient way possible." The education of the Indianapolis developer community is the primary goal of this effort.
How do we want to do this?
Well, we would like to coordinate with the Indy .NET User Group to determine how we can best educate our community. Fundamentally, our goals are the same as the .NET User Group's goals (community education) so we think this can work very well! The .NET User Group does a phenomenal job and this ALT.NET group has no desire for that to change nor to duplicate or overlap with the .NET User group. What we want to do is compliment the .NET User Group.
After some discussions with the .NET User Group, it seems the most logical topics for this group to cover and focus on are advanced non-mainstream techniques, as well as third-party tools. There may be some overlap with the .NET User Group but we hope to keep this overlap to a minimum. And where we may overlap, we hope to keep communications flowing in both directions to ensure there's no needlessly-repeated material covered by both groups
To further distinguish ourselves from a typical .NET User Group, we would also like to cover some platform-agnostic techniques and technologies. While much of our current expertise is with .NET, we do want to learn about and promote other technologies and platforms such as Ruby, Java, Linux and even possibly PHP and other things. Again, "the concept of ALT.NET means that you try to use all tools and techniques available" and other platforms and frameworks are certainly tools that are sometimes better than what the typical .NET developer might use. Our fundamental goal is to help developers obtain the education, tools, and even the mentality to learn themselves to become better developers.