Looks like we’re busy again, but there is no excuse for not blogging about our latest conference adventure: Valiocon. Thanks to Drew Wilson and crew we had a lot of fun in Carlsbad, CA.
It all started with a party bus that took us to a nice evening bonfire in Oceanside, and the next morning a small photowalk down to the beach, followed by a nice breakfast with pancakes, scrambled eggs and the like.
Brad Smith of Virb fame took the first session and delivered an outstanding talk about entrepreneurship, and how virb reinvented themselves as not only a web service but as a company as well.
Anton Zyklin’s first talk ever really rocked. The SoftFaçade guy flew over from St. Petersburg in Russia with his colleague Dimitry Tsozik (who did the evening workshop) and gave us an insight into modern icon development.
Next up was Ethan Dunham, from FontSquirrel and FontSpring fame, who delivered one of the talks with the most new insights for me personally: it is the first time that I’ve actually understood why kerning for Windows machines is such a big deal and that this is the reason for the slow adoption by the foundries. And he showed how to use a subset of Opentype features in the browsers of today, using intelligent font substitution and the font stack.
“CSS Workflow with SASS” was something I was looking forward to, and Jina Bolton didn’t disappoint. Apart from how she organizes her Files and Folders (we saw that at Fronteers 2010 already) she quickly got into the details of SASS, showing positive and negative aspects of the technique.
While I’m not really sold on that we need CSS parsers I can see how some projects can benefit, for example, as Jina noted, that the clearfix class is not in the html anymore. It may appear several times in your CSS, but the HTML stays clean which may be the higher goal. (I wonder why those mixins are not parsed into multiple selectors, not repeating anythong, but that is up to the developers.)
Another aspect that I thought is very valuable is a “style guide”: every html element is shown as (here: haml) html and with styles applied.
David Kaneda then rocked the show with a demonstration of Sencha Touch for mobile web apps, and told us how important it is, to not look only to native apps as not everyone has an iPhone. At the same time web apps shouldn’t mimic native apps, as they are shown on many different devices. The responsiveness of sencha touch is really breathtaking. Made for mobile.
At the icon workshop, Dimitry built an icon in time-lapse mode. Those photoshop skills are horrifying. The day closed with a drink night in the hotel yard where everyone had the chance to get a funny photo of themselves taken at photo wall.
Mike Rundle started Sunday morning with a talk about iOS development, which was fairly interesting as he described how web developers can use their existing knowledge to transfer over.
Dave Hill then showed us the creation of his awesome photos, which he puts together in a really long creative process from photos of a shoot and various other objects he shot before. The result are gorgeous realistic looking photos.
Rogie King is “Designing for the Client” and told us about that very topic. His background as a waiter makes him to make every client happy at all cost, even if this minimizes his revenue. The result for him is a stellar relationship to his clients, which he now calls “friends”. I think it is quite a unique approach to relationships with your customers, which are – at least here in europe – much more impersonal.
“New web technologies” by Chris Lea was really exciting. He showed to us like NO SQL (“not only SQL”), MongoDB and Node.js can improve websites in the future.
Last, but not least, Mike Rundle took the Workshop chair to lead us through the development of an iPhone app. While I liked to know more about iOS development, the workshop, apart from being quite basic, I could’t really follow his talk.
One reason is that we like the open web, so developing native but closed solution isn’t our thing. The other reason was, that I won the ValioCon iPad in the break before his talk and had to activate it and set it up.
BTW: I’m typing this article on that very iPad right now. Thanks Drew and team for the reward of our long journey to the conference.
We had a lot of fun!
- Photos of the conference by @ScreenOrigami on Flickr
- Photos of the whole vacation by @ScreenOrigami in this Flickr collection
- Photos of the conference by @yatil on Flickr
- Photos of the whole vacation by @yatil on Flickr
Note: In the meantime Drew launched the Valiocon 2012 website with all videos of the 2011 conference. We won’t make it in 2012, but we recommend attending. Early bird tickets are on sale now.