Ten till six till two point nought

Yesterday was spent in London, at the Carson Summit. Anyone who’s heard or read Tim O’Reilly knows not just what Web2.0 is about, but what a lot of hot air there is about Web2.0: still, there is a shift back towards a more equable client–server relationship on the web, now that more trust can be placed in the client side. When Javascript was effectively a tool for crashing Netscape Navigator, nobody would have bothered with AJAX, even if the then equivalent of XMLHTTPRequest() wasn’t the security hole and/or memory leak that the rest of Javascript was.

The conference was fun enough, although the speakers didn’t really contribute to my enjoyment: most of them seemed to be talking to the fifty or so members of BBC management in the audience who’d never seen a piece of Javascript before. Highlights were Tom Coates’ talk which, though it followed the day’s theme of having ten points (well, nine in Tom’s case) still managed to stress the importance of treating your back-end with due care and attention. My back-end needs a good scrape and polish, and I’m sure yours does too. Joshua Schachter spoke well, although it all only really made sense when I rearranged my notes afterwards to have some sort of hierarchical structure rather than, oh, a set of many disconnected tag-like microtitles.

Wooden spoons need not be awarded: not just because their recipients know precisely who they are, but because even they managed to stud their steaming piles with nuggets and gems that were worth picking out. The most fun at the conference, though, was to be had in socializing and playing with the web, real-time, through hall-wide wifi. A wiki, sadly neglected until the day itself, provided an easy way of meeting up with people. Indeed, this was the first conference I’d been to where the social networking was more fun than the talks. Given I hate networking—I’m reasonably mediocre at it, but it takes tremendous effort and I was glad to run off to the bus for some loner-time—that’s surprising in itself.

#futureofwebapps, the IRC channel for the day, was like the dark underbelly of the conference before. I’ve not witnessed such stark, acerbic honesty since leaving academia.

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