FOWA Dublin – a good mix of topics that matter right now

The Future of Web Apps conference in Dublin, Ireland last Friday covered quite a breadth of topics in a single day.

Fowa Dublin by  you.

The Yahoo involvement was a talk about the systems we offer for quick development, including YQL, YUI and the design pattern library.

More on that later, here are the sessions in order of the day:

The first talk of the day was Raffi Krikorian (Twitter) who talked about How to use Geo Location in your services (Slide deck) and actually mentioned a lot of Yahoo services. His talk revolved a lot about the security and privacy issues of geo location and is well worth the read as it also hints on the upcoming services Twitter is building.

Simon Wardley (Canonical) was next and his talk "Situation Normal, Everything Must Change" covered the different aspects of what cloud computing really is. Simon has discussed the topic in depth on his blog and his very unique presentation style makes it very interesting to follow the controversies and truisms thrown about when the topic is "the cloud".

Renier Lemmens (Paypal) then gave the first sponsored talk "The Future of Mobile Apps" showing off the mobile billing platforms of Paypal.

Owen DeLong (Hurricane Electric) then brought the discussion to a very technical and "meta" level with "Content Providers must lead the way to IPv6".

The first local speakers, Eoghan McCabe and Des Traynor (Contrast) delivered with Five Lessons We've Learned (video) a very interesting and inspiring talk about pragmatism in development. Instead of trying to create the new cool it makes much more sense - especially for smaller agencies - to build things that work.

Robin Christopherson (AbilityNet) gave a quick overview over Accessibility in Web Design (video). I've seen Robin speak a few times and I have to say he is getting better and better in making the audience understand the benefits of considering users with disabilities in your design process. Amongst other gems, Robin introduced the audience to YouTube's voice recognition and auto captioning services.

Chris Lea (MediaTemple) brought us back into geek land after this with NoSQL (video) and the benefits of this new way of thinking of structuring and serving your data.

Relly Annett-Baker (Poppy Copy) then explained the needs and benefits of good copy writing on the web in her Content Bootcamp (video). This is a topic that is not mentioned enough in conferences and the talk was both inspiring and insightful. Relly has a wonderful pragmatic way of explaining the most necessary parts of a topic and had some very hands-on examples and techniques for the audience.

Rik Arends (Ajax.org) explained in The Cloud IDE: Developing applications using the browser (video) how we can take the concept of cloud computing further by not only hosting and converting data in it but also building our systems with IDEs running in the browser.

I was up next with my talk "Powerful Tools that You Need (and Probably Don't Know About)" (re-)introducing the audience to some of the tools Yahoo offers and branding the drive of developers to do everything by themselves instead of using already built solutions as ineffective.

The slides of my talk are available on SlideShare:

The audio of the talk is on Archive.org:

The video of the talk is available on Ustream:

A video or other embedded content has been hidden. Click here to view it.

The last speaker of the day was Alex Hunter who talked about Marketing your Web App - The Future of Brands Online (video). His talk contains strong language and a lot of very good points about branding and understanding that the first impression that you give as a company on the web is hard to undo later on.

The official part of the day ended with a startup pitch panel where several local companies showed off their products and got feedback on both the products and the pitch from Alex, Relly, Chris and me.

It was interesting to see 2 minute presentations of products and get the perspective of the different people on the panel. I hope both the audience and the startups got something out of it.

All in all FOWA Dublin was a great conference, the audience was a bit too shy for my taste (which is probably based on the fact that it was a diverse mix of designers, researchers, project managers, developers and entrepreneurs) but after a few Guinness at the after party that changed, too and we had a good amount of interesting conversations.

Christian Heilmann
Christian Heilmann (@codepo8)
Yahoo! Senior Developer Evangelist