ONE Conference 2012: Learning the latest in web development and business

  • Stefan Bucher

On Wednesday five Liipers spoke at the ONE Schweiz Conference in the Messe Zürich.

Kicking off the “Development and Design” track as the first talk in the morning, Gerhard Andrey, Christian Stocker and David Buchmann presented the most important web technologies and topics to watch for.

The ten topics for web developers to consider:

1. Serverside Javascript like node.js bring one common language to the frontend and the backend. With that most of the code is recycled. As a bonus feature Javascript servers work event driven which boosts performance of interaction rich frontends.

2. HTML5 has been around for some time and many APIs are available for expanding the browser. Yet, developers still meet some “troubles” in certain areas (e.g. Local Storage). But you can work around many of those spots with the help oflibraries like jQuery or YUI.

3. Maps OpenStreetMap in combination with OpenLayers Leaflet is a very powerful alternative to Google Maps. Liip has released advanced applications like with custom graphics.

4. Semantic Web : With RDFa, Apache Stanbol and more capable content editors the building blocks are here, and the reference data is out there for more semantic web applications. Liip demonstrated with the Symfony Content Editor the technology successfully.

5. NoSQL / Big Data : As an alternative to relational data bases NoSQL promises better scalability in decentralized cloud situations. NoSQL solutions like MongoDB or CouchDB should definitely be a tool in every web developers toolbox.

6. Content Repositories / PHPCR : PHP meets corporate Java based content repositories (JCR). Through PHPCR your web application is ready to connect to hierarchic file systems with big amounts of data. Liip pushes the development of PHPCR and advocates it's usage in more and more CMSs.

7. NIWEA : The Browser wins again when it comes to the mobile web, because it has won before on the desktop. The stack of web technologies paired with frameworks for mobile development like PhoneGap and Sencha Touch can do for many more devices like smartphones and tablets what apps can do only developed specifically for one platform.

8. Distribution : Companies that want to go free from the dominant players in the app distribution market will increasingly choose the mobile web as an alternative. That is true for media publishers and also for game developers.

9. Mobile Payment : Not many of the existing models were a big success so far. We are hoping for debit solutions that eliminate the hassle with credit cards for the end user .

10. Open Government Data : When data owned by the public is made available to the public, new ways of participation for citizens and new data journalism is possible. The potential of such applications has been demonstrated in the Make.Opendata hackdays.

This wide field of expertise presented by Liip may have sparked many an idea in the developers in the audience. The slides of this talk can be viewed here:

Later in the program Timo Bezjak talked about models for agile contracts. He argued that Agile processes be better suited for fixed-price contracts than more rigid approaches — if the team is free to negotiate and develop the features and architecture of the product. Unless it is hindered by a strict contract based on a detailed requirements document, an Agile team will consequently maximise their customer's return on investment.

At the end of the day Steve Holyer spoke on how “How to Fail at Agile”. An Agile (or Lean) team needs to develop and test hypothesas in order to learn and become more effective. As Donald G. Reinertsen says, “Failure is actually a good thing in learning systems…this is one of the ways most information is generated.” To learn from failure an Agile team must reflect regularly. Steve, a few hints on structuring Agile Retrospectives to support the advice of political commentator Molly Ivins who coined the homespun Texan saying, “The first rule of holes, when you're in one stop digging.” Steve's conclusion? If you want to make your Agile project fail don't hold retrospectives, or–even better–hold retrospectives, but don't act on the learning or the outcome. But, if you want to fail well at Agile build and nurture a reflective culture. Find the slides here

In between the Liiper's talks, I ventured out to listen into the other tracks. One common theme I noticed was multichannel strategies in eCommerce and in Social Media and Content Marketing. The consumer today expects consistent service no matter what device he or she uses. It has even been called Noline Commerce in Thomas Lang's E-Commerce Trends 2012. The opportunities for mobile applications lies exactly here, as do the challenges for brands to constantly tell their stories, which Rolando Baron pointed out in his talk.

The day ended for us with many exchanged ideas about trends in web development and business. It was an interesting conference with good speakers. For Zurich it's good to have an event like this.

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