First, apologies are in order to the tapestry-user list community.... we kidnapped Howard Lewis-Ship for a couple of days for onsite training taking him offline from answering questions on the list - please forgive us :) We, in the Darden Solutions Group within Darden Graduate Business School at the University of Virginia, decided to switch from Struts to Tapestry a few months ago for our next project. Since then we've been an early previewer of Howard's wonderful Tapestry in Action book, and working our way through our first passes at implementing a Tapestry application. We had built enough to know what we didn't know and where we wanted a quick boost of insight.
Our mission is to develop a suite of applications in a short period of time. We brought Howard in for two days of onsite training to give us a kick start in the right direction and ask him detailed questions about implementation issues we've encountered. It started as a semi-formal presentation to introduce us to Tapestry and quickly took a custom tangent into the areas we were most interested in, like creating custom components, how parameters / properties / bindings work, how do to deal with form validation, and much more. Howard was adept at fielding our random questions. At no time did we stump him. He even very quickly picked up on our business use cases and even offered suggestions in that realm, unrelated to the gory Tapestry details we brought him in for.
Our team greatly appreciated having Howard's time and expertise. We have easily saved weeks of time learning this stuff the hard way, and given everyone a very quick boost into how Tapestry works and how to use it effectively and properly.
Everyone here knows that Tapestry can have a steeper learning curve than other less powerful frameworks. If your project has the same delivery timeframe as ours ("yesterday"), yet you want to do it right, I suggest you consider doing what we did and bring Mr. Lewis-Ship in for training.
That's Erik Hatcher, "the Ant guy", frequent speaker at No Fluff Just Stuff symposiums and all around great, well-connected, finger-on-the-pulse kind of guy.
I had a terrific time down in Virginia, it's a real rush to spend two whole days thinking on your feet. Everyone on the team was very complimentary about the presentation ... which just goes to show you how different things look from opposite sides of the podium. I was concerned that I was mumbling incoherently like an escaped mental patient, but that's not how I came off :-). It was very rewarding to see the connections get made inside people's heads. Of course, the first major questions hit all of Tapestry's dirty laundry: the awkwardness of component parameter directions, for instance. But part of open-source is that your dirty laundry it out for all to see, and that no project is ever finished.
We had a really fun time, with discussions of Tapestry and other technologies rolling out of the class room and out over lunch and dinner. It was a quick trip, but we made it out around Charlottesville thursday night, which has a very European-styled "mall" ... an open, wide, cobblestone walkway that extends several blocks and is filled with book stores, coffee bars and the like. Refreshingly, it doesn't seem gap-ified (didn't see a Starbucks or any other national chain). We also swung by the Gravity Lounge, a cool mix of Internet cafe, book store, and live performance stage. It also has an Art-O-Mat, from which I purchased some art for my wife--a wooden block with a kind of beat-style/kitch black cat. A good draw from the Art-O-Mat, since you never know what you'll get ... my wife just loves cats!
So far, that's two Tapestry consulting gigs this year ... one was way back in January for a company out in Los Angeles. Not so bad since I haven't been seeking these out, and have had to work around full-time jobs to accept the gigs. I haven't really started marketing myself since I pretty much have a full-time gig going for the next few months at NLG, but as that looks to wind down (probably late January) I can start trying to schedule out engagements for 2004.