Simon Harriyott

SXSW: Panels

So, I've been to some great panels. Yesterday I went to Jeremy Keith and Aaron Gustafson's DOM scripting session. DOM scripting, it turns out, is like DHTML, only done responsibly. Instead of using document.write() or innerHTML to add any old tags regardless of context, the DOM is used to find to correct node (as in HTML tag), and modify the attributes or text, or create new nodes underneath it.

True to form, I ended up with a free copy of Jeremy's book, DOM Scripting; it looks really good. The first chapter explains for loops, while loops and if statements, so obviously it's aimed at non-coding web-designers, but I'm a non-designer web-coder, so I understand the basic JavaScript. Later on in the book (this is a quick skim), there are explanations of how to use the DOM responsibly, so browsers with JavaScript disabled can still see the content, and the JavaScript is separate from the markup. There's also some good examples of how to do common things, like making stripy tables. Anyway, a really good panel.

I then saw Kathy Sierra's session on creating passionate users. I've been reading her excellent blog for a few months now, so I had heard some of the content before. Despite this, there was plenty of new stuff, and it's the sort of thing that needs to be heard several times. It was also good to put a face to the name.

Today. I started at a panel about decisions when starting a web company, which was really interesting. Interestingly, four of the panel had been approached by Google to sell their company to them. One said yes, and three said no. Evan Williams, who started Blogger (which I am using right now) was the yes, and it was the first company Google bought. Joel Spolsky said that Google now use acquisitions as a recruitment process to employ people who can clearly deliver products. I first heard about daily build machines from one of Joel's articles a couple of years ago, so it was good to actually meet him and say thanks. While I think of it, I've submitted a session proposal for DDDIII about setting up a build machine. Maybe someone will actually vote for it.

I've just left a panel about the future of small devices, which was really interesting, as it's an area I'm not involved in. There were some interesting suggestions, and an admission that improving battery life and standardising recharger interfaces is not high priority in the industry right now.

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12 March 2006