Photography, Cycling and the Internets

Conference

Presenting at the UIE Web App Summit

WebAppSummitOn March 28th in Coronado, CA, I will be giving a talk on applying best practices in web development and design to a ground-floor startup. This presentation will detail several contributors to both developing and designing a world-class web experience. This will touch on everything from resources, team-building, to design research and testing. Being in an early-stage startup demands everyone to do a bit of everything, but executing properly can get you a long-way quickly. This presentation is a bit of an experiment since I have not crossed my own finish-line yet. However, it does draw on all of my experiences (starting in 1998 at AltaVista) in developing world-class web applications and how they are being applied at GetListed with several examples; including a few from my most recent experience at Netflix.

Promotion Discount: If you sign up at the UIE Web App Summit with the promotion code of KANE, you will receive $30 off each single day registration. If you sign up for all three days, you will also receive an iPod Nano.

See you there, it’ll be fun!


Live The Rich Web Experience

This must be Web 2.0 season because web conferences are in full swing. I will be speaking at The Rich Web Experience in San Jose in September. My talk currently steps through a few key UI elements on the Netflix site and goes through the history and realities of how they came to be. I’m thinking about changing up the talk for RWE to step through more design pattern examples than before and highlight the pros and cons of the various approaches. This will still focus primarily on the data-driven development practices, but it will also shed some light on the more subtle aspects of good (and bad) design principles. It’s a 90 minute session, so there is plenty of time to experiment a bit. I’ll post more once I actually have some slides done :).

Register using the code: nfjs2007speaker200 and you will get a $200 discount.


Three Days of Everything Ajax

After three days of the web development community talking about anything and everything Ajax, the Ajax Experience conference came to a close. Overall, it was a good time, and it was fun to catch up with everyone from the last couple TAEs.

The conference was held at The Grand Hyatt on Union Square in San Francisco. The rooms were quite nice, however the layout of the social areas of the hotel made it difficult to meet up with people by chance. This is something that the Boston TAE was awesome at. Luckily I run into Brent Ashley on the night before the conference, and I had a chance to get a drink and find out about the projects he has been working on.  I think this was the only chance meeting that I had outside the main conference area and in the hotel.  I did run into Brent again the following night while a few of us were at the Starlight Room on Wed. night following the TAE cocktail reception.

The conference got into swing with Ben and Dion’s State of Ajax talk that highlighted the growth that Ajax has seen over the past year. It was a good talk, but it was missing some of the great back and forth that Ben and Dion are masterful at delivering.

Some of my favorite sessions included both talks from Bill ScottJoe Hewitt’s talk on IUI,  Doug Crockford’s talk on the good parts of JavaScript, and Steve Souder’s talk on YSlow.

Bill Scott’s Anti-Patterns talk had some great points. One of my favorites was the Borg Idiom pattern that cautioned on having one strong pattern, such as a tree structure or drag-and-drop could set an expectation with users that the pattern be carried across the entire site. This could unintentionally start driving the way other pages are designed, and if not carefully thought out, could end up painting a web UX architecture into a corner.  Bill’s experiment that he is calling ProtoKit looks promising for doing quick interactive prototyping.

While I was leaving Bill’s Anti-Pattern talk, I did come across on one of the tables, a note. Apparently Bill has some serious fans out there. 🙂

The panel discussions were pretty good, and very deep on the future direction of JavaScript, complete with strong disagreements on how things should move forward.  It makes me wonder, at what point should I really worry about how JavaScript will work in 8 years.  How different will the web be at that point, and will a proprietary technology such as Silverlight change the game again?  Doug did make it clear that the group of people gathered in the main room at TAE were working to change the web, and the work is important.  I wish the rest of the conference was able to carry that same message.

Steve Souder’s  YSlow talk was my favorite of the conference.  It has been a long time coming for a book devoted entirely to front-end performance and it was exciting to hear that  High Performance Web Sites will do just that.  It details 14 best practices for making web pages faster.  Also, the new YSlow FireBug plugin gives one-stop shopping for monitoring the 14 client-side performance indicators.   I hope that this tool will help the web get faster by making performance techniques front-and-center to daily development, and not just occasional checkups.


Presenting this Friday

The Ajax Experience conference is going on this week in San Francisco, and it should be a great time!  The last couple were great for getting developers, framework authors  and luminaries from places like Yahoo, Mozilla, and Microsoft together.  The caliber of speakers has always been incredible, and I have met many very talented folks in the Ajax community both times.

Friday I’ll be presenting at the conference with an updated version of the talk I gave in Boston.   I’ll still be discussing the development process, with a focus on qualitative and quantitative testing.  It details some of the challenges that we have had in developing some of the Ajax features on the Netflix site and shows some very current examples.  It’s a great talk for anyone that is looking to find out a bit more about Netflix and see how our data-driven approach to development shapes the user experience.   I hope to see you there!


Heading to Mix07

I’m looking forward to going to the Mix conference this year in Vegas.  With the recent announcement of Silverlight, I am hoping to see quite a few demos and mess around doing some development in the various labs.  Last year I went to Mix06 and the state of WPF/E was mainly vapor-ware at the time, but the promise seemed quite powerful.   I am looking forward to the DOM within a DOM development model, seamless integration into existing rich web pages in addition to the other rich media capabilities.

I am also looking forward to hearing  my friend Eric Burke’s presentation at Mix on some of Yahoo!’s experiences developing the new YIM for Vista in WPF.  At any rate the conference should be fun, and I am hoping to see folks out there.