I was pretty excited to go to this bash, as I’ve been out of the conference circuit for a while and was eager to find out what web professionals are talking about these days. The last time I was in Boston and saw Zeldman speak was in early 2003, and most of the questions were about the mechanics of xhtml and css (“Do all attributes need to be quoted?”, “What’s better? Floats or absolute positioning?”).
This conference was mostly design-oriented and “inspirational” rather than code-focussed, which meant a lot of it was over my head. Does this mean that five years later, most designers or developers are entirely at ease with xhtml and css?
My gut feeling in still a “no”: A List Apart readers are the top echalons of web professionals; back in the trenches, as recently as a year ago I was training up a young, but nevertheless tables-n-spacers IE-only developer until she saw the light. It jibed well with comments that Zeldman made in the keynote about there being a dearth of really good courses that teach people Standards-based development. (<teaser>And you can expect a big announcement about that in a week or so. </teaser>)
It was groovy to be in a place where everyone had heard of Opera. The big question was “when will Opera be on the iPhone?”. I don’t know, but it can’t come too soon for me, either!
For me, conferences are all about the people. My first breakfast begain with a gentleman named Todd Libby who told me that I “saved his life” by teaching him Conditional Comments (shh, Todd … my new employers have disappeared previous employees into a fjord for just mentioning proprietory stuff).
It was top to meet luminaries like Kimberley Blessing, Ethan Marcotte and Christopher Schmitt (and thanks for treating us to a huge American meal, Christopher).
I drank way too many beers with Scott Fegette, who was pimpin’ his Dreamweaver while I pimped my Opera, and it’s always a delight to hook up with old mates like Zeldman, PPK and Eric Meyer. Millsy and I went to dinner with Eric on the closing night, where we were privileged to see the baby photos of Rebecca, his newest arrival.
It was over sushi that Eric inadvertently gave me the best joke of the conference by misunderstanding my crazy Limey pronunciation of the word “kudos” (as in my complimenting him “Kudos to you for such a good conference”) as “Q-DOS“, an ancient operating system. No wonder he looked so puzzled: “Crappy archaic O/S to you for such a good conference, Eric!”.
It wasn’t Q-DOS at all; it was well-organised, fun and enlightening.