The first Devoxx4Kids Denver was a wild success! This last Saturday, 20 enthusiastic Minecraft hackers gathered at Thrive in Cherry Creek to learn from one of the best. With masterful skill, Scott Davis, founder of ThirstyHead.com, taught everyone how to get a development environment setup, run a local Minecraft server and install plugins into it. You can see the materials we used for this class on Scott's site, at Introduction to Server-side Minecraft Programming.
I can't thank Thrive enough for their awesome venue. They had coffee ready and the front door wide-open when we arrived at 9am. The class started at 10am, and students started streaming in around 9:30. It was a mad scramble at first to copy all the setup files to student computers. Heck, it was a mad scramble for me most of the class: configuring environments, showing kids how to use the command line, troubleshooting errors -- all while the A/C was off. By the end of the class, the students were humming, connecting to each other's laptops and customizing their own worlds.
The only thing I regret is not setting up the students' laptops ahead of time. It would've been nice if Java and Gradle were installed and students could just run commands. However, I think it's neat they learned how to install and configure their own Java development environment. In the future, I'll send out instructions for parents a week before. For those needing help, we'll offer an "early setup" session the morning of the class. It'd also be nice to have a couple extra laptops for those that are too slow.
For the next meeting, it'd be cool to use Java since everyone has it all setup. Maybe we could control some robots with code or dive even deeper into hacking Minecraft. Whatever it is, it's sure to be fun!
Update: One other issue I forgot to mention. My kids have been sharing a Minecraft account for the last year. During the class, we found the duplicate username didn't work when they both wanted to join a server. It took 18 hours to get an additional account from Minecraft.net (6 hours for activation email, 12 for the unique username chooser to work). Make sure all kids have their own username before you teach a class like this.