Web Directions Unplugged schedule

Thursday 12th May 2011

  • The Convergence of All Things

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    This wide ranging talk will investigate the interconnections between different devices, scenarios and environments, and the role the web platform is playing in unifying development for spaces as disparate as personal computers, mobile phones and television, while looking at the mindset necessary to deliver great experiences across all these spaces.

    At 9:10am to 10:15am, Thursday 12th May

  • Move it! CSS3 Transitions and Animations

    by Stef. Sullivan Rewis

    Since the early days of the web, the only reliable way to get movement on your site was through Flash, or more recently, Javascript. But now, with WebKit and Mozilla leading the way, transformations and transitions can be done with pure CSS, even on mobile devices. And for those in need of even more movement, CSS3 provides for keyframe-based animations. In this session, we’ll take a look at all of the possibilities and explore what works and where — from the simplest effects, to creative usability enhancements including the combination of CSS with mobile Javascript frameworks.

    At 10:30am to 11:25am, Thursday 12th May

  • App development solutions in depth

    by Tony Guntharp, David Kaneda, Yehuda Katz and Dave Johnson

    Building applications adds a whole new level of complexity beyond what developers have been used to when it comes to developing for the web. In this session we look at a number of JavaScript Frameworks, and solutions for packing your HTML5/JS/CSS as apps to be deployed onto iOS, Android, Playbook, webOS, and other platforms as native apps. Hear about

    • SenchaTouch, a rich, sophisticated framework for developing native quality apps using web technologies, from the lead architect of the framework, David Kaneda
    • SproutCore, the open source application development framework
    • Appcelerator, a development environment for building apps using JavaScript
    • PhoneGap, an application platform giving developers access to OS level APIs on iOS, Android and many other platforms

    In this session you’ll hear details on each of these solutions, and get the chance to ask questions of the presenters.

    At 10:45am to 12:40pm, Thursday 12th May

  • Platforms in Depth

    by Joe Marini, Matthew Staikos, Tim Haysom and Yehuda Katz

    The number of mobile platforms for developers to potentially target is exploding. Beyond iOS and Android, RIM’s Blackberry phone and TabletOS tablet platforms, Windows Phone 7, and WAC all present opportunities for developers with web skills to create first class, native applications, which users can install directly to their devices.

    In this session, we’ll take a look at these platforms, and see how HTML5 interoperability, and the possibility of targetting multiple platforms with the same code base, means creating native apps is not about choosing just one platform any more.

    At 10:45am to 12:40pm, Thursday 12th May

  • Testing and debugging mobile apps

    by Ross Boucher

    Developers have long been able to use an array of debugging, profiling and other testing tools to ensure application quality and performance. More recently, web developers have started to rely on increasingly sophisticated tools to help test their web sites and applications. But particularly in the mobile space, when developing sophisticated applications with web technologies, testing presents significant challenges.

    Ross Boucher, one of the developers of Objective-J, the Cappuccino web application framework, the visual development tool Atlas, and 280 slides knows a thing or two about testing sophisticated applications developed using web technologies. In this session, he’ll share some of those secretes, and help you better test and debug your applications.

    At 10:45am to 11:40am, Thursday 12th May

  • Top Ten Things To Tackle Touchscreens

    by Dan Saffer

    The average size of an adult human’s finger pad is 10-14mm. The average size of a cursor or stylus tip is 1-2mm. That fact alone means that designing native touchscreen apps is an entirely different thing than designing web, desktop, or even traditional mobile apps. This talk outlines the most important concepts, guidelines, and practices to keep in mind when designing with fingers and hands in mind. We’ll cover interaction zones (where it’s easiest for fingers to reach), touch targets (size and distance apart), kinesiology (how fingers can bend, move, and stretch), and signaling (how users can become aware of gestures).

    At 10:45am to 11:40am, Thursday 12th May

  • Bring your apps to life with CSS3 magic

    by Divya Manian

    Being a front-end designer used to mean pixel hacking and endless rounds of pain while trying to make sites and applications “look the same in each browser”. Thankfully, we now live in more interesting times. But as we strive to make our web apps a pleasure to use, the vast array of tools and techniques available to us present their own set of challenges. In this session you will learn to ask the right questions to guide your choice of tools and the design.

    Find out how to creatively use new features of CSS3 (gradients, multiple backgrounds, generated content, and many more) to give life to your design ideas, make them adaptable and maintainable. and provide the best experience possible on an array of platforms.

    Finally, you’ll hear how to create a library of simple and ready-to-use design patterns, that you can incorporate into your workflow to bring your designs to life much faster.

    At 11:45am to 12:40pm, Thursday 12th May

  • Mobile Web Speed Bumps

    by Nicholas C. Zakas

    As browsers explode with new capabilities and migrate onto devices users can be left wondering, “what’s taking so long?” Learn how HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and the web itself conspire against a fast-running application and simple tips to create a snappy interface that delight users instead of frustrating them.

    At 11:45am to 12:40pm, Thursday 12th May

  • Distribution and monetization Appstores and beyond

    by Robbert van Os, Lisa Whelan and Kyle Barrow

    Building great apps and games is all well and good, but how do you get them onto the user’s devices, and how do you ensure a revenue stream for continued and new development?

    In this session, we cover several, often complementary distribution and monetization strategies to help you build your user base, and revenue.

    At 1:40pm to 2:35pm, Thursday 12th May

  • Get your game on — HTML5 for game building

    by Robby Ingebretsen and Kevin Moore

    You’ve seen a lot of demos, but is HTML5 really ready for primetime? We made an HTML5-based pool game with the explicit goal of creating an experience that defies your expectations for what a browser can do. In this session we’ll take you through the challenges and triumphs of working with this new technology. For the experienced HTML5 dev, we’ll share tips and tricks. For the rest of us, it will be a great primer on the exciting potential that HTML5 brings to the web.

    At 1:40pm to 2:35pm, Thursday 12th May

  • You had me at “signup”- Content Strategy for Apps

    by Relly Annett-Baker

    Dear app makers,

    I love the stuff you have been putting out recently. Supercool maps, guides, syncing and such make my day. There’s just one little thing. As a content strategist and writer, I’ve noticed that some of your instructions aren’t as clear as they could be. The experience is not as fulfilling as it might be. I know this might not be your favourite part of the process. In fact, they are probably the bits chucked in to get it out the door. And so I have created a session to help ease the pain.

    I have a framework for you to build on to make sure that your next app is as pithy as it is pretty and elegant to use as it is coded. I’ll even bring a whole virtual suitcase of apps with fantastic snippets of microcopy to inspire you. It’s a pretty simple concept and it’s a bunch of fun to work on, running alongside your app development.

    In one sentence: it’s about creating a fulfilling experience, one that puts you ahead of your competition, simply through the power of the written word.

    At 1:40pm to 2:35pm, Thursday 12th May

  • Mobile Prototyping Essentials

    by Rachel Hinman

    We’ve heard it all before… prototype, prototype, prototype. It’s a standard step in almost any design process — but often the first step skipped in time and budget constrained projects. While prototyping is considered a standard step in any UX design process, it is an *essential* part of the mobile UX process. This talk will outline why prototyping is essential to part of the mobile UX process and how prolific prototyping is a necessary step for designers keen to grow the ruthless editing skills necessary to craft successful mobile experiences. This talk will also cover common and uncommon mobile prototyping tools, methods and techniques that you can apply to your project work.

    At 2:40pm to 3:35pm, Thursday 12th May

  • The desktop and the browser

    by Ziad Ismail and Lloyd Hilaiel

    The browser is becoming less and less of a stand alone app, and more and more integrated into the desktop. In this session, Ziad Ismail from the Internet Explorer team, and Lloyd Hilael from Mozilla look at how projects at Mozilla and microsoft are blurring the distinction, and where the browser is headed on the desktop.

    The Web Beyond the Browser

    There is a lot of discussion about browsers, but ultimately users care about sites and experiences. The browser is just a means to an end. What happens as the web moves beyond the browser? We’ll share how sites have started innovating with Pinned Sites in IE9 and IE10. We’ll discuss how we believe this trend will accelerate as the web become a core part of more and more devices.

    The Mozilla Chromeless Project

    The “Chromeless” project experiments with the idea of removing the current browser user interface and replacing it with a flexible platform which allows for the creation of new browser UI using standard web technologies such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

    Instead building a whole new platform, we suggest that the web itself should be the platform. That a developer could design the browser using standard web technologies combined with a minimal set of new APIs to interact with the underlying operating system and control the application’s user interface. This new functionality is exposed as lightweight conventions on top of the DOM and javascript modules exposed via the CommonJS packaging standard.

    At 2:40pm to 3:35pm, Thursday 12th May

  • Universal Access — now for apps as well

    by Wendy Chisholm and Charles Pritchard

    Many web designers and developers are motivated to create accessible sites because more people can use the site, more people can find the site, and more devices can access the site. As we migrate to HTML5 and CSS to develop applications, we further the opportunity to create far more inclusive results, no matter the preferences of your audience and no matter why they have those preferences: are they driving? riding in a bumpy bus? accessing content in the sun? or might they be blind?

    In this session, Wendy Chisholm, co-editor of WCAG 1.0, author of Universal Design for Web Applications, and one of the leading experts in accessibility and universal access helps you understand the challenges to and solutions for creating accessible apps with web technologies. Wendy will cover WAI-ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Applications), accessibility and HTML5, as well as some common accessibility pitfalls when designing and developing applications, particularly on mobile and tablet devices.

    At 2:40pm to 3:35pm, Thursday 12th May

    Coverage audio clip

  • Native v hybrid v web

    by Brian Fling

    It’s an exciting time to be working on the web. With the explosion of new platforms and form factors, three clear strategies for application development have emerged.

    • native apps, written in languages like Objective-C, Java and C++
    • hybrid apps, written in HTML5 and web technologies, packaged and deployed to various platforms using solutions like PhoneGap and AIR
    • web apps, running solely in the browser

    Each has its strengths and weaknesses.
    Each has its strong adherents.
    Each has its place, depending on the project.

    In this session, Brian Fling brings together a number of deeply knowledgeable, experienced developers to pragmatically consider these different approaches, their strengths and weaknesses, and their appropriate use cases, to help you decide which tactic is appropriate for any project.

    Cut through the ideology, and hear from people who really know what they are talking about in this summit style session to end day one.

    At 4:05pm to 5:05pm, Thursday 12th May

Friday 13th May 2011

  • The Unplugged Roundtable

    Web Directions events aren’t just about sitting back and digesting, they’re also about participation, sharing your thoughts, and learning from the experiences of others.

    Day 2 of Unplugged kicks off with roundtable discussions, lead by our speakers and invited experts, focussing on the most pressing topics and challenges you’re currently facing, like

    • application performance
    • the 10 foot UI
    • accessibility and universal access
    • native, hybrid and web

    and many more, in fact, anything you think needs to be discussed — let us know!

    Grab a cup or two of great coffee, and some breakfast, pull up a chair, and share your thoughts and ideas with your peers and our invited experts.

    At 9:00am to 10:30am, Friday 13th May

  • Widgets in Theory and Practice

    by Daniel Davis

    Where’s my Widgets for Dummies book?

    In the absence of a “Widgets for Dummies” book being available at your local bookstore, this presentation will try to bring you up-to-speed with what you need to know to start developing widgets.

    Split into two parts, we’ll cover the theory behind widgets:

    • seriously, yet another platform to code for?! — vendor and manufacturer support for widgets & compatible development frameworks
    • what widgets are good for — save your users (and yourself) time, money and frustration
    • what widgets are not-so-good for — they’re not a silver bullet!

    and widgets in practice:

    • widgets and device compatibility — the good news is also potential bad news
    • screen sizes — resizing and its headaches
    • widget distribution and making money — everybody else is doing it, so why can’t we?

    You’ll get most out of this talk if you:

    • have heard of widgets but don’t know how to use them
    • are wondering whether widgets could solve a particular problem you have. (i.e. no specific browser)
    • have tried making widgets but got stuck and gave up

    At 10:30am to 11:25am, Friday 13th May

  • Mobile User Experience Research

    by Juliette Melton

    Most user experience research takes place sitting behind a computer. And yet these days, most networked experiences are happening on mobile devices. Some common user experience research methods work well in a mobile environment — others don’t. In this talk, Juliette Melton will guide you through how to use some great existing research methods in a mobile context, how to incorporate some new (and fun!) methods into your arsenal, and propose next generation tools and services to make mobile user experience research even better.

    At 11:30am to 12:25pm, Friday 13th May

  • The best of both worlds — Offline Web Apps with HTML5

    by David Orchard

    There’s an old expression, that there are only 2 hard problems in computing: naming, cache invalidation and off-by-one errors. Building offline web apps is all about those hard problems. There are some different ways of storing stuff — such as html5 caching, html5 storage, sqllite, and even native stores such as contacts and calendars — and we’ll sing their praises. But the really hard problems are knowing what to store, whether the stuff is still good or needs refreshing, how much to store, how to resolve conflicts between the client and server, how to integrate with data-specific stores, all in a bewildering cacophony of network and storage limited devices. We’ll spend the bulk of our time on these hard problems, which is probably more useful than api description and sample code.

    At 11:30am to 12:25pm, Friday 13th May

  • From Web to Mobile to App in 60 Seconds

    by Greg Rewis

    Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you know the web is moving again! HTML5, CSS3 and Javascript are combining to move the web from the confines of the desktop onto a multitude of devices and screen sizes. And through the magic of the PhoneGap framework, those same technologies are being used to build native applications as well. Join Greg Rewis, as he shows you how to use CSS3 Media Queries to adapt the look of traditional web pages to these differing form factors, and how to implement a more “native” feel to your pages using the jQuery Mobile framework. Greg will also teach you how to leverage features of the mobile device itself as you build a completely native, App-store ready, application — all without leaving Dreamweaver CS5.5! This is definitely not the Dreamweaver you think you know — it’s time to take another look. The session will actually take longer than 60 seconds. Greg talks — alot!

    At 1:25pm to 2:20pm, Friday 13th May

  • Geolocation in web and native mobile apps

    by Aaron Parecki

    While location-based mobile apps are becoming increasingly popular, they are still relatively new. Special considerations need to be made for battery life and handling large data sets of geolocated data. The good news is there are many services and technologies you can use to assist you in building mobile location-based apps.

    In this session, Aaron Parecki, co-founder of Geoloqi.com, shows you services you can leverage to do things like nearby business lookups, location-based triggers, nearest intersection queries, and more. Aaron also covers the location services available on the various mobile platforms as well as in HTML 5, and shares some insights on how to deal with battery life. The session concludes with some real-world use cases for real-time location such as turning on and off your lights in your house or notifying your boss if you’ll be late to work.

    At 1:25pm to 2:20pm, Friday 13th May

  • Realistic UI Design – the good, the bad and the ugly

    by Aaron Weyenberg

    A new generation of touch devices have proven to be exciting playgrounds for app designers. And with every new product we create, we have the opportunity to offer the most clear and efficient experience for our users. Recent UI trends often lean to realistic, faithful representations of analog controls and features. These designs can offer advantages, but also come with their own set of hazards.

    In this session Aaron will lead you on a tour of current trends and practices, examining the strengths and drawbacks that realism brings. We’ll talk about things like mental models, innovation and usability as they relate to lifelike UI. Finally, Aaron will share some pragmatic guidelines to keep in mind as you build the next wave of mobile and touch apps.

    At 1:25pm to 2:20pm, Friday 13th May

    Coverage slide deck

  • Designing for the 10 foot UI

    by Daniels Lee

    The web platform has already taken a center role in our desktop and mobile computing lives. The next space for the web platform to take over is the biggest screen in your house — the TV in your living room. However, designing for television has its own set of demands, different than designing for desktop and mobile implementations. This talk outlines the most important best practices to keep in mind when designing web applications for TV. We’ll cover issues like directional pad navigation, user interface design for TV, color issues, and zooming, as well as discussing some unique opportunities for TV applications.

    At 2:25pm to 3:20pm, Friday 13th May

  • HTML5 Graphics — Canvas Deep Dive

    by Dave Balmer

    The Canvas tag has been around for a while, and HTML5 has given it more visibility. It’s now finding its way into most mobile browsers, and even a majority of desktop browsers. This talk will give a solid overview of what the canvas tag is, what it can do, and how it compares with other technologies like SVG and Flash. Several practical code examples will show how you can use it along with CSS3 and other HTML5 goodies to make your web apps more featured, efficient and downright cool.

    At 2:25pm to 3:20pm, Friday 13th May

    Coverage slide deck

  • The Dos and Don’ts of Mobile Web Development

    by Matthew Staikos

    Thinking of taking your Web site or Web application mobile? This session is designed to highlight good practices as well as common pitfalls often encountered by Web designers when targeting mobile platforms such as phones and tablets. You will learn what generally works well on mobile and what does not, as well as techniques to use to maximize performance for WebKit-based browsers given engine design quirks and platform/ hardware restrictions.

    At 2:25pm to 3:20pm, Friday 13th May

  • Native is Easy. Mobile Web is Freaking Hard!

    by Jason Grigsby

    No one who advocates for the mobile web wants to admit it, but it is true. Native is easier.

    It’s easier to sell to stakeholders. Easier to monetize. And most importantly, easier to implement.

    Argue about programming languages, memory management and reach all you want. There is one undeniable disadvantage that the mobile web faces that native apps don’t–over a decade of legacy code, cruft and entrenched organizational politics.

    But the web is essential. Even companies whose businesses are centered on native apps need web pages to sell those apps. We can demonstrate time and again that a web-based approach is a smart investment.

    So how do we sell mobile web projects? How do we work with the systems we currently have to build compelling mobile web experiences?

    And most importantly, how should we be changing our web infrastructure, tools and workflow for the coming zombie apocalypse of devices.

    At 3:50pm to 4:50pm, Friday 13th May