Reasons to be Creative: Day 2

September 7th, 2012 by Slav

Tuesday kicked of with a true webdev geek by the name of Christian Heilman of Firefox.  If I were to summarise his talk into a single sentence soundbyte, I guess it would be : “You have the power to change the web“. Web vendors nowadays are ready to listen to users and developers as long as you go through right channels – bug trackers not tweets and emails.

One of the things that he mentioned were the problems with technological demos: We tend to get into something he called “Inspiration loop”. Building things for ourselves only. (ourselves = developers) , leaving “the real world” outside of this loop.

Here are some future-prof principles he mentioned:

  • design for use (don’t force the way your stuff work on end users)
  • enhance progressively (escalator vs lift. .if there’s no electricity, escalator can be still used as stairs)
  • build for next person (leave comments, document the code, don’t assume only you will ever maintain your “clever code”)
  • be technology agnostic (don’t just stick to one technology, sometimes it’s ok to use flash )
  • best practices are FOUND in use, not DEFINED.

Christian put frustrations with IE6 into a funny metaphor: “You wouldn’t force a 65-year-old gentleman into a vigorous cardio workout, so why do you want IE6 to handle all the new html5/css3 stuff.. Just feed him some basic HTML and leave him alone.

 

Jake Archibald‘s talk was about Application Cache and douchebagery that comes with it.

It was an example of an exciting HTML5 feature, that is great on the surface, but when you start digging deeper and implementing it into a real life situations, you will encounter a number of problems. He went through quite a few of those problems with us and showed us some useful solutions for them.

 

The next session’s speaker was Bjarke Myrthu.

Really reminded me of  Woody Harrelson.. but I digress. He was the man behind the website called StoryPlanet.

StoryPlanet is a quick and easy way for non developers to tell stories, using images, text, video and audio. A bit like easy to use modern looking powerpoint on a web. It enables users to create storylines with sub-timelines, easily add sharing functionality etc. Good looking project. He gave us some examples of web storytelling that has been done in a better way , rather then replicating the print media with little or no changes to the web. Getty images made this APIs mashup project called Moodstream. A good example of interactive story telling via video is Jenifer Live Concert YouTube Project.  Pinepoint is a well executed mixed media project as well.

 

Joa Ebert talked about his multi-platform / cross-platform compiler project Hiddenwood.


Unlike Haxe, where you need to learn a new language, his approach is to take Java bytecode and turn it into a C++, javascript, flash, android or iOS app.. Slide above illustrates a top-level process. This was very fascinating talk and can’t wait for this project to be out so we can have a play with it. I think Joa should get much more recognition for his work, his swf optimisation tools are godsend, and I couldn’t imagine working with AS without them. Thanks Joa, you’re genius!

 

Andreas Ronning talked about the game development with Haxe and NME.

There was no shortage of superlatives and it was quite clear he likes the platform. I would be surprised if any flash developer present in that talk that haven’t had a go at haXe, didn’t have a go after that talk. He showed us a really good looking game performing well on variety of platforms and devices all thanks to Haxe and NME. The nice thing about developing with this platform is its openness, so if there’s an issue with some of its functionality or features you can go in , write your own implementation and fix it!  (That’s what they did to fix the sound issues on some browsers or platforms.)

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