The Ajax Experience: Bar Conversations

I’m still here in the Westin Waterfront, Boston preparing to have a touristy day out but though it would be a good time to reflect on the goings on at the conference. I’m sure many other bloggers will cover the goings on in the presentations so I thought I’d give you a run down of what went on at the important part of any conference: The conversations that happened in the bar…

In terms of the attendees The Ajax Experience was top notch. All the major players where in attendence from prominent members of the Dojo, Prototype and jQuery communities to large delegations from Yahoo, Google, Sun, AOL and IBM and of course, and probably most importantly, Brendan Eich and the IE team. This great turn out was partly due to the organizers giving two free tickets to each of the speakers. Quite a cunning maneuver as many of the speakers brought their friends with them. Many of which where of course pretty damn good JavaScript proggers. Nice work, Ajaxian.

Anyway, on to the main event. The pub conversations.

IE 7 and beyond

So what’s does the future hold for IE 7? TAE offered a unique opportunity to find out more about what’s going…over a beer. Chris Wilson’s keynote was really entertaining but didn’t detail much in the way of IE 7. Luckily, later that evening we all hit Buckowski’s somewhere in Back Bay and got a chance to chat with some of the IE team. They genuinely seem to be seeking plenty of input from the development community as to what to fix and in what order. This is likely to be spearheaded by the WASP and possibly the DOM Scripting Task Force. If this is the case I hope they’ll open up the process a little. JavaScript / DOM Scripting seems like it’s on the agenda nonetheless which has got to be good.

Battling libraries

It’s good to report that there is no war. It was great to meet up with John Resig, Alex Russell and representatives of all the big libraries and exchange a few ideas. Tuesday afternoon saw the first ‘Hands Across JavaScript Library Peace Beer Tasting’ at the Harpoon Brewery which was a very brief chance to chat with the Dojo guys while tasting fine ales. The buzz there definitely seems to be cometd – Alex is looking for writers of a cometd server for Ruby (and as many platforms as possible)...any takers? I think coding something like this in Ruby many prove challenging but would be a great tool to have.

Although I don’t get on the immensity and don’t feel it fits most web projects, Dojo really deserved to be taken notice of by all JavaScript programmers. It’s got alot of time and money invested in it and Alex Russell is just about the best project lead a JS library could have. It’s going to be a great place to look for the latest innovations in JavaScript. Take the new accessible widget implementations in 0.4, IBM have been lending there time and experience to the project and Becky Gibson’s excellent presentation taught me a thing or two. However, it didn’t take place in a bar so I’m afraid I can’t cover it here.

JavaScript coders love Hip Hop…who’d have thunk it?

Nate Koechley is well into his Jurassic 5 and old school stuff but he’s not into Hyphy. He knows where the good record stores are in San Francisco are though. Aaron and Andrew are also partial to a bit of the boom bap. Ajaxian’s Rob Sanheim, on the other hand is a retired raver but still likes a bit of LTJ Bukem. He did however tell me that my jeans were out of date club kid fashion. Bah, what does he know?

Prototype stuff and things

TAE was an excellent chance to meet up with Justin and Andrew, fellow Prototype, erm, types. John Resig’s presentation on choosing a library brought up a few points about Prototype that really should be addressed, documentation being the main one. Well, rest assured we are on that one. Expect some very good documentation in the near future. We also chatted about a whole host of possible improvements to Prototype that we might be able to tempt Sam to commit. I think we might give some of them a good road test in Low Pro so watch out for that. Also, after speaking about Low Pro in my presentation the (mostly under developed) idea of behavior classes seem to spark some interest so I’m going to be working on that.

Best quote:

At least they have dicks!

Justin Palmer [referring to browsers…I think]

Justin, if I misquoted you feel free to correct me. It was late and my brain was full of Blue Moon.

8 Comments (Closed)

So web development is just like any other business then? It's all sorted out by the chosen few over drinks at an exclusive location. No thanks.

Dean EdwardsDean Edwards at 26.10.06 / 21PM

I've been quietly plugging away at my own comet-style implementation in Ruby. Mine has been tailored for a specific, low-traffic application but perhaps some of the ideas could be borrowed. I'm using EventMachine to drive the network interaction and I've already got it usable to a point where I can open a browser page with an embedded flash object (containing the socket connection) and send messages to the browser directly from IRB. If anybody wants to chat with me about it, I'm certainly up for working on a more generic RubyComet implementation.

Luke RedpathLuke Redpath at 27.10.06 / 10AM

*Luke*: Ha, cool...let me play! *Dean*: I'm not sure it's exactly like that. It's just good to speak to people in person. It's easier to get straight answers that way. And hey, you got name checked at least once per session so your presence was felt regardless. It's still largely a meritocracy as far as I can see.

DanDan at 29.10.06 / 16PM

Haha! I knew that would resurface. Your version is a little wrong, but sounds a little better, so you can run with that. ;-p @Dean: While I agree it's not an ideal situation, if some of the chosen few we're the real developers in the trenches, I would take that over letting the browser vendors sort it out themselves...we've seen where that gets us.

Justin PalmerJustin Palmer at 29.10.06 / 17PM

As yes, the infamous "dick" quote. I wondered who'd use it first. Anyway, it was great getting to meet so many JS folks in person. And on the JS upgrades in watch this space (and WaSP).

Aaron GustafsonAaron Gustafson at 31.10.06 / 22PM

Hah, I only said phat pants were out of date in the states. It sounds like they are still a alright in the UK hiphop scene, so you get a pass. Was good to meet you, btw - look me up if you are ever in the midwest.

Rob SanheimRob Sanheim at 02.11.06 / 05AM

*Aaron, Justin*: Just out of interest....what was the actual dick quote?

DanDan at 03.11.06 / 17PM

... And it seems like only yesterday when quite a few of us were in a bar trying to come up with an elegant explanation of closures as if explaining them to our parents. I believe it Mr. Langridge who came up with the silly idea of having YAHOO.util.Closure();

Dustin DiazDustin Diaz at 05.11.06 / 04AM

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