My take on the DIBI conference

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A couple of weeks ago, I was lucky enough to get to attend the 2012 DIBI Conference.For those who have never heard of DIBI (Design It Build It), it is a two track web conference for those of the web design and developer persuasion held annually at The Sage conference centre in Gateshead. Having immensely enjoyed, and inspired by, the 2011 conference along with some of the other Upbeat folks, I was looking forward to tear myself away from the laptop/desk and get inspired all over again.


DIBI conference lego

Seb Lee-Delisle kick things off in an up-tempo, hyperactive kind of way talking about getting designers working with code , and developers thinking about visuals. Starting with a single line of C64 code to create some generative art. Seb  moved onto using Javascript and the canvas element to create some simple animated graphics, gradually making it more impressive and 'pretty'.

Cool stuff, indeed.

Being a two-track conference, you can choose to stick to either track. I like to flit between the two, which does unfortunately mean I had to miss a couple of talks I would have like to have seen. But as I like to mix things up a little, I wasn't disappointed in anyway. Where it comes to the web, even as someone who considers themselves as primarily being a developer,  being exposed to both 'camps' can only really be 'A Good Thing' (tm).

So the morning was spent firmly ensconced in the 'Build It' auditorium, and the afternoon in the 'Design It' track.

Kicking off the developers track was Tom Hughes-Croucher talking about using Node.js for web apps, something I've been thinking about having a play with, using a chat server as an example. Node.js allows you to create server side stuff written in Javascript. Not just any server side stuff, oh no. Fast, scalable stuff that’s perfect for data intensive, real-time applications. In Javascript!!! Sweet.

Following on was Brain LaRoux covering the perils of developing apps for the mobile web, basing it on his experience being a part of the PhoneGap project. With 8 different platforms to support, and often each having their own peculiarities, developing for the mobile web can  often be as much an exercise in pulling teeth. With a running commentary from Courage Wolf ,, Brian shows the way through the undergrowth, and points out the oitfalls to avoid.

After a lunch spent fighting with chopsticks, I should have opted for the plain old fork, but hey, it's good to try something different right? It was time to swap auditoriums.

First off in the afternoon stint, was Chris Mills and Bruce Lawson's highly entertaining, 'Angels vs Demons Inclusive vs Shiny' talk. I say talk, it was more a comedy show looking at how best to solve the age old question of how best to balance usability/accessibility needs with the desire for something visually impressive/flashy.

Fluffed lines aside, I may never get my head around the need to wonder ‘What would Cliff do?' (As in Cliff Richard.......)

Next up was Paul Boag, giving an impassioned talk about ‘Client Centric’ Web Design. We often shout from roof tops about designs and solutions which put the user first, but surely in providing a service to our clients, a more client centric approach should take the  stage front and centre.

Dan Rubin gave a thoughtful take on deja vu, wondering why we are still fighting the fight  for web standards, accessibility etc, instead of just doing.

And finally onto Cameron Moll’s keynote, ‘The Burden of Being Creative’.  In looking at what is creativity, what goes into it, and attempting to quantify it by way of an equation; Cameron’s talk was at once intriguing, inspiring and more than a little mind blowing.

With the day ended it was off to the Waterline for a post conference beer, and  some reflection on everything picked up from the day’s talks.

Thanks, and congratulations go to Oli Wood and the folks at codeworks for organising another, thought-provoking, inspiring and successful DIBI conference.

For links to slides, etc. see