(photo thanks to Halans on flickr)
After a whirlwind four days, I’m returning from Sydney (with added lightning visit to Canberra) after attending Web Directions South. I was looking forward to this as I missed out on attending last year. This was my second WDS, and an equally inspiring one. John and Maxine put together an amazing show as usual and the speakers were great.
The sessions attended:
- Active web development with Divya Manian
- Building a better web with HTML5 with Ben Schwarz
- Enriching large data sets with Paul Hagon
- Even faster web sites with Steve Souders
- HTML Ready for prime time? with HTML5 Panel
- Browser Caching and You (A Love Story) with Mark Nottingham
- Flogging design — best practices in online shop design with Matt Balara
Something really important happened at the end of the HTML5 talk (with Ben Schwarz) active web development talk (thanks for the correction, Divya!). Mike Smith stood up and dispelled the media myth about the W3C reportedly recommending the dev community not use HTML5 yet, in answer to Julio Cesar Ody‘s question. However it became apparent in the HTML5 panel discussion (with Ben Schwarz, John Allsopp, Divya Manian and Daniel Davis) that the specification still had a long way to go. It’s almost becoming a developer bun fight with everyone having a slightly different idea of how the spec should be written/what features are necessary and how to go about implementing. John Allsopp in particular was pretty passionate and I agree with some of his points on the new syntax, particularly concerning new tags. His preferred ‘role’ and attribute driven suggestions seemed like a much more flexible approach to mark up code in.
I think that the stand out for me were the technical talks, which wasn’t a huge surprise. I’m naturally drawn to them, and know I’ll always learn something new in them. My favourites were the browser caching and faster websites talks. Looking more closely at page load waterfalls was so very insightful and made it very clear it’s not just about six file downloads at a time. The caching session was interesting because I’m not exactly very well informed on this topic, and a few bulletproof solutions were offered to fix some common caching issues that can happen.
All in all an intensive learning experience!