Carson Summit review

The trip to London for the Carson “Future of Web Apps” Summit was well worth the trouble.
What did we learn:

  • Travelling to London by car with Eurotunnel is cheap, easy and flexible. Plus, driving on the left for a while adds a sense of adventure. (Roundabouts rock!)
  • If you arrive only 10 minutes before the Eurostar leaves, that’s too late, as Francois and Denis discovered.
  • >> Joshua Schachter from
    minimal presentation (1 line per slide) but lots of good ‘lessons-learned’ while starting up I particularly liked: add lots of caching when possible, latency is OK is some places, decide on how much community you want to build in, don’t make stuff too easy, use consistent grammar and design conventions, respect data ownership.
    Idiots are a lot smarter than you

  • >> Cal Henderson from Flickr:
    the minimal trend continues (each slide is a picture from Flickr with 1 word)! No real new info, but entertaining presentation. He claims AJAX should be named ‘A’ because it’s not always JavaScript and not always XML. Why anyone would develop in AVAX (using VBscript, and restricting supported clients to only IE) is anyone’s guess.
    Flickr is massively multiplayer online photo sharing

  • >> Tom Coates from Yahoo!:
    good speaker, great speech. His ‘URL fetishist‘ confession will surely haunt him for a while. I liked the concept of ‘first order objects’.
    Browse the news by things that happened to capricorns

  • Lunch with some of the Belgian attendees: Bart, Werner, Yoeri, Jesse, Mathias en enige-meid-in-de-bijt Ine. Pizza and pasta in less than 45 minutes.
  • >> David Heinemeier Hansson from 37signals
    Not a new presentation, but RubyOnRails remains a remarkably sexy developer’s framework, and David a funny presenter. “Flexibility is overrated”, “PHP is the devil”, … The presentation was filled with great one-liners.
    One question: Does it scale? Answer: Yes

  • >> Shaun Inman from Mint:
    talked about the importance of having APIs with the concrete example of Mint (web statistics software) and the possibility to add ‘Peppers’.

  • >> Andrew Shorten from Adobe: wrong topic, wrong tone, wrong conference. That about covers it.
  • >> Ryan Carson from Dropsend:
    interesting talk and interesting slide design. Ryan spent £26.000 to build DropSend and explains where the money went.
    “Holy Crap, lawyers are expensive!”

  • >> Steffen Meschkat from Google:
    Steffen worked on Google Maps and helped develop the AJAX interface. He certainly knows his XMLHttpRequest inside out. ‘SSSS’ stands for Server Side Session State. So if it unexpectedly suspends all all servers without notification, that would be a Sudden Silent Synchronised Server Side Session State Suspension (or SSSSSSSS). He loses me when he dives in the browser inconsistencies.
    Javascript: what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.”

  • >> Panel discussion
    Steve Olechowski from FeedBurner announces the FeedFlare API. The first – and according to Ryan the best – question is “Many web apps are very specialised. Is the future of the web about focused tools?“.
  • Although London is an expensive city, the Tate Modern museum is free and as such worth even more than every penny: Rodin, Dali, Mondriaan, Picasso and then some less obscure dudes. (Picture by Ine)
  • Travelling back to Belgium was even more fun, because there was no need to rush and conversation was even better. Felt like auto-pilot and then we were in Gent.

All pictures are by Paperjam except where indicated.

In-depth coverage of the speeches: and and blog posts about the conference.


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