d.Construct: post event party

I did manage to wander down to the terraces eventually. It was a huge crowd. It felt like 75% of the conference had made it down there. Sadly, I stopped to check my mail before going, so missed the tab behind the bar. Oops. 😦 Doubly so when finding out that they charge £3.10 for a pint of lemonade!

Anyway, I met a bunch of people whilst down there. It was really cool as they’re all local people that I just don’t bump into ordinarily, even though I cohabit mailing lists with them: Paul Dave Childs, Aidan Delaney, Tom Coady (whom I played a round of crazy golf with and ended up scoring 0xff). I must try and get out in Brighton more…

I also bumped into Paul Hammond and Amy, who are expecting a new arrival in a month or so. I wish them all the best. It seems like rather a lot of people I know are expecting right now.

Unfortunately, after doing the crazy golf, my earache got the better of me and I had to retire. I had a crêpe from the pier on the way back to try and build up energy for the ride home. A huge thanks to Jay Gooby and the Snipperoo team for sponsoring the evenings party. I wish I could have enjoyed more of it.


d.Construct: Understanding Folksonomy

Thomas van der Wal invented the term folksonomy. It’s all about tagging.

He’s raised an interesting point about tagging: identity. It’s very important to know who created the tags so you can decide who’s tag you want to trust. He uses the example of tagging an article on the middle east conflict as either “armageddon” or “mild conflict”. Through identity comes community.

Is there a conflict between folksonomy (tags) and taxonomy? Yes, but you can use the folksonomy to feed into the taxonomy. And probably vice versa.

At this point, my ear infection started playing up and I had to exit quickly to get some fresh air. Plus the laptop battery was dying.

I came back jujst in time to catch Jeff Veen talking about designing the complete user experience. He’s an extremely funny guy. Especially his idealised versions of the ebay & microsoft web interfaces… Jeff is embarrassingly tall and an excellent speaker. Oh, and he loves cycling too. Even after coming off going downhill in sanfran! His presentation should be up on somewhere, but I can’t remember the URL right now.

Anyway, it’s been a great day. All of us who went seemed to really enjoy ourselves and get a lot out of it.

Now, I’m going to see how my ear holds out and see if I can make it to the after show party down at Terraces. (not a bad place; I also attend Café scientifique there)


d.Construct: Accessibility in a web 2.0 world

Derek Featherstone on how to do accessiblity now we’re seeing more Applications and JavaScript. Even something as simple as a login form can have many, many accessibility problems. Little things like using an image instead of a button to submit a form. Lack of label tags.

Another one is search boxes. Search boxes often have no external label, so a screen reader doesn’t know how to address the field. And often, JavaScript is used to clear the contents of the search box because the “type your search” here message is in there by default. But when you tab, then shift-tab, it wipes out your search!

Wow, that was a really cool talk. So many ways to think about web sites that are completely non obvious. Thanks, Derek!


d.Construct: Mash my Flex up!

Aral Balkan is talking about how to do flashing. And flexing.. A brief rant about the openness of data in the UK (more details at

Flex examples:

He goes on to explain all the bits of the Flex platform. I like the fact it’s based on Eclipse. There also appears to be a vibrant Open Source community built on top of it, which is a Good Thing.

There was a series of code explanations, but waaay to swift for those of us not familiar with Flash…


d.Construct: The Joy of API

Jeremy Keith is talking about how much fun APIs can be. He’s bigging up REST, which is fine by me. 🙂

He integrated flickr, delicious, upcoming all into adactio elsewhere.

It’s all about a web of data.

Microformats are the way forward!

Jeremy is a hugely entertaining speaker; I’ve been too busy listening to capture most of what he said…


d.Construct: Web Services for fun & Profit

Simon Willison and Paul Hammond talking about how web services are helping to make Yahoo work.

As an example, they’re talking about how to build a login form. They’re covering how you can’t just talk directly to a database. You need to use an API to get scalability and reliability.

They go on to talk about Yahoo Hack Days, which sound incredibly cool. It’s a big part of helping Yahoo to innovate.

Showing off all the APIs available on They talked about Rollyo as a commercial user of the APIs. But really impressive is Matt Biddulph’s use of the term extraction API to find out relationships between politicians.


  • Web Services make huge sites possible
  • Web Services help to build new products faster
  • Web Services help to encourage innovation
  • Web Services aren’t just for internal use

Jeff Barr @ d.Construct

Jeff Barr is Amazon’s Web Services evangelist. He’s talking about all the web services that Amazon offer. Feels like a product pitch, even though the technology is interesting.

Some of the demos that use the E-Commerce API are pretty cool. I love the flash demo that shows band relationships.

The mechanical turk is also a stunningly cool idea. It’s all about creating marketplaces… Well, apart from perhaps. 🙂

I hadn’t seen EC2 before either. It’s kind of rent-a-Xen. It’s still in Beta right now.


d.Construct is here!

And it’s huge! Compared to last years event, anyway. It’s down in the Corn Exchange, which thankfully hasn’t been fitted out to the max with chairs (unlike the last time I was here). There’s a really nice space at the back with tea, coffee and power bars! That’s something that I didn’t realize how essential it was until I visited YAPC::Europe.

I’ve met a few people so far. The Fotango crew, who are here as a sponsor, pushing Zimki. I love their slogan “pre-shaved yaks”. They have yaks on their stand, which are exceedingly cute.

I’ve also seen Peter Nixey from Webkitchen, whom I keep seeming to bump into. Plus a chap from Elsevier, always good to talk to people in the same industry.

Anyway, onto the intro…