Life has returned to normality, after 3 packed days at Web Essentials 05. So what did I learn?
The biggest lesson was that for the most part, I'm approaching web development the same way as many of my peers.
Jeffrey Veen's full day workshop the day before WE05 started was a fantastic way to kick off the conference. Jeffrey covered everything from 'knowing your audience', 'prioritising new features' to 'Ajax enabling your web applications'. If you ever get the chance to see Jeffrey talk I highly recommend you do so. He is a highly motivated and passionate speaker - and well, darn funny.
Eric Meyer's presentations showed a work flow and approach to CSS almost identical to my own. The presentation went through a step by step demonstration on turning a final visual design into working CSS. It was a great presentation but I would of loved to see Eric tackle more cutting-edge topics. However for those not living and breathing CSS on a daily basis, his presentations would have invaluable.
Derek Featherstone's presentation on accessible forms showed me WHY I was going to the effort in the first place to make accessible forms. Derek's presentation was one of those presentations that 'made things click' - and I suspect from the audience reaction I was not the only one who realised this.
It was timely as well, Tantek Çelik's excellent presentation on 'html compounds', really set the scene for many of the Derek's examples. Tantek is a fantastic speaker and if I had to pick 'best-of-show' my vote would go to his presentation on microformats.
At the end of each day Web Essentials provided drinks upstairs for everyone. It was a great opportunity to not only talk to other delegates, but the presenters as well - all of whom were unbelievably down to earth and friendly.
If you didn't manage to get there, listen to the podcasts and download the presentations - and plan for next year.
The only negative thing? What was up with the wireless!
I know Kay managed on the last day to utilise it, after a lot of mucking around - but seriously - nothing needs to be that awkward! Hopefully that is sorted out next year, as the lack of any serious Internet connection was a real issue for me.
Overall next year I would hope to see more in-depth technical presentations, perhaps even a full day workshop with Tantek (hint). It was a fantastic 3 days and I am looking forward to next year already.