It’s a muggy day today. With thunderstorms expected, the morning air was thick as we walked over to the South Bank Centre.
I found Douglas Crockford’s opening session thoughtful. It wasn’t what I was expecting – I had anticipated a focus more on methodologies and approaches to improving quality. instead, it was an interesting and sometimes humorous examination as to why quality in software is such a difficult area, with an informative walk through the history of software thrown in.
Many of the things Douglas covered were topics we take very seriously at Black Marble: The problems described were ones we face and do our best to avoid through our practices every day.
Whilst I got a great deal out of the talk, I was a little disappointed that it didn’t really address the question of how we ensure quality in web development when projects include coders and designers, markup and code, and the very different ways of thinking inherent in the creative processes for each.
After the coffee break came Chris Wilson and a talk that wandered around the web as a platform and some of the issues in play. One statistic I found very interesting was taken from the deployment data for IE6 to IE7 upgrade versus Firefox upgrades. It took around 18 months to convert half of the IE6 userbase to IE7. By contrast, Firefox takes around two months to convert half it’s userbase to a new versino. That’s a powerful illustration of the differing kinds of user that make up the predominant force for each browser, and the kind of organisational inertia which affects the development and progression of Internet Explorer much more than competitive browsers.
Chris also gave some interesting insight into the legal quagmire surrounding font embedding on the web, following on in topical fashion from Mark Boulton’s empassioned delivery yesterday.
Last up before lunch was the indomitable Molly Holzschlag. Ultimately, she was also joined on stage by ‘HTML5’ in a cowboy suit (don’t ask). It was interesting because I admit to not having had time to pay attention to HTML5 at all, and it sounds like a bit of a bun fight, to be honest. Yet more technologies to look at and learn… As usual, Molly’s enthusiastic delivery was infectious. I’m sure she must do a great job as an evangelist for Opera.