WebDU happened last week, and it was a blast. Web developers from all over Australia, and from much of the world dropped in to Sydney to speak and learn about the latest web technologies and practices. The conference was divided into five tracks — one each for Flash and Cold Fusion, two for general web development, and one for usability. All tracks had some very interesting talks.

There was good speaker representation from the big players and smaller internet companies alike. I know that I learnt a lot from the talks I attended.

I thought the usability track was particularly interesting, covering many topics that developers seldom think about. Simon Reid's Digital Art of Pencil & Paper had a good 7 point workflow for designing a user experience, while Formulate's Jessica Enders ran through form design. Lisa Herrod gets it spot on when she says that the user experience is now the responsibility of the entire team and not just the usability specialist. More developers need to attend tracks like these, and more developer-oriented conferences should have them. I also enjoyed Mark Stanton's talk on web security, a topic which also needs better representation at web conferences. Mark was also the winner of the Yahoo! Pipes competition announced during my talk, and won a Pipes T-shirt.

The development tracks had a lot of interesting talks too, and it's clear that the browser is just one of a large number of devices and applications used to consume web content. Consequently, the APIs provided by content producers like Google, Yahoo!, and others have a very important role to play in content access. Michael Kordahi gets it right when he says that the next generation of video won't be another medium like Blu-Ray, but will be a new delivery mechanism, like Netflix.

The conference was very interesting and insightful, and says a lot about the excellent people in the Australian web development community. I'm happy to have been part of it, and I hope Yahoo!7 can keep the flow going with our Yahoo!7 Open Sessions in Sydney.

Philip Tellis
Performance Yahoo