SitePen recently returned from Beantown, the host city to this year’s Dojo Developer Day (DDD) and The Ajax Experience, the largest annual conference dedicated to Ajax development. SitePenners in attendance included Joe Walker, Kris Zyp, Tom Trenka, Peter Higgins, and Alex Russell, all of whom must be applauded for their great presentations at both events. Kudos to all!
We began our week of Dojo on Saturday night at Jacob Wirth, discussing all things Ajax over beer n’ brats at this famous Boston location. On Sunday morning, I kicked off more formal festivities at the 5th Dojo Developer Day, hosted by IBM in Cambridge. Peter Higgins (SitePen’s Support engineer and Dojo’s new Project Lead) and I did a quick recap of our progress, and discussed plans for the 1.3 release later this year, and preliminary plans for 1.4 and beyond.
Lunch was filled with an impressive round of a dozen lightning demos. The bar has been raised, with this year’s demos consisting of polished, impressive, feature-rich applications in production. In the afternoon, we split up into breakout sessions to discuss various topics and to hack on Dojo.
In the evening, we headed to the Cambridge Brewing Company. A few minutes after being seated, another wave of people arrived that looked a lot like Dojo developers, only slightly different: attendees from the jQuery conference. Great minds think alike as the venue was perfect for post-event food, drinks, and conversation. The proposed food fight never happened; as it turns out, the Dojo guys tend to be taller on average than the jQuery team!
Dojo Developer Day Dinner, Cambridge Brewing Company
This year’s conference featured a new concept: The Ajax Experience Framework Summit. As a supplement to the main conference, this free conference pre-event was co-sponsored by Adobe. Dojo, Prototype, and jQuery were each invited to host an event for five hours on Monday morning with tutorials, discussions, and more. Forward-thinking and liberal, we were given free reign to dominate a 5-hour mini-conference for users of Dojo and people interested in learning more about it. In typical SitePen & Dojo style, we crammed an amazing amount of content into our time slot and used every last minute to share as much information about Ajax and Dojo as possible.
Tom Trenka shares his passion for DojoX at the Dojo Framework Summit
As always, conferences provide us with the opportunity to chat with our clients, as well as new and veteran Dojo users and other members of the Ajax community and this was no different. It focused on the 100+ Dojo users and contributors in attendance telling us about how they use Dojo, asking great questions, and in general just getting to know each other. I think everyone is in agreement that great times were had by all.
Dojo Framework Summit, Group Pic
Once the actual conference kicked off, Peter-Paul Koch moderated a session with Andrew Dupont (Prototype), Chris Heilman (YUI), John Resig (jQuery), and I (Dojo) that involved answering questions about how our toolkits address cross-browser DOM issues. Most interesting is that we agree on at least 80% of the topics discussed. When the question was asked as to whether we would ever consider merging any of the toolkits, it was revealed that the thought had crossed our minds but that in general, we have differences of opinion (the other 20%) that are too strong to ignore at this point in time. Maybe tomorrow.
jQuery had significant buzz at this conference given the recent announcement by Microsoft but it wasn’t the only project getting buzz. Seeing the astoundingly impressive applications people are building with Dojo was even more exciting for us. Dojo is clearly leading the charge for development of larger applications and Dojo Base is very competitive in features and performance. The new Dojo 1.2 release only helps make this easier.
SitePen strongly values high quality conferences as a great opportunity to connect with users of Dojo, DWR, and other great open source projects. We also think that conferences without high-quality content won’t attract great attendees. As such, in addition to our efforts on the Dojo events, SitePen conducted seven conference talks over the next two days. Our slides are available below for all of these talks.
In the afternoon, Kris Zyp kicked things off with a talk on “SOA in Web Applications and Using Web Services in Dojo.” The talk was very engaging and demonstrated Kris’ tremendous work at SitePen in making JSON, SOA, and Dojo much improved.
SitePen’s Joe Walker then presented his well-known and highly-attended session on web application security. After the talk, comments such as “I’m never letting my wife use the internet again” let us know that the talk was an effective presentation on the very real security risks we face as web application developers. The talk covered standard security issues, but also included breaking security news on topics such as Clickjacking.
Joe Walker Discussing Web App Security, The Ajax Experience
SitePen invests heavily in the success of Dojo, DWR, Persevere, cometD, and other open source efforts. As a company, we take significant interest in security, data, performance, and other topics that are of particular interest to our current and future clients.
Wednesday featured five more SitePen talks! Alex Russell gave two Dojo talks, one covering DojoX’s Grid widget and the other focusing on Dojo Fundamentals.
Joe Walker gave his first DWR 3.0 talk. I say first because 3.0 is quickly approaching release of DWR expected before the end of the year. Joe’s talk featured a quick summary of changes since last year’s Ajax Experience, and then introduced the new DWR Dojo Data Store, support for JSON / JSONP / JSON-RPC, and more. (Plug: In addition to Dojo and cometD, SitePen also offers support and development services for DWR-based applications)
Kris and Joe wrapped up the conference, competing head-to-head with talks on Persevere and Comet.
This Ajax Experience (Boston, 2008) was a great conference. I have to agree with Kris, Ben and Dion never fail to gather the best of the Ajax community for speakers, and this makes for significant conversations amongst the innovators in this field. Various SitePenners discussed mitigating the latest security threat, clickjacking, strategies for shims for HTML5 in legacy browsers, emerging RESTful architectures and JSON techniques on the web, and much, much more. The conference is small enough (300-400 people) that attendees can easily engage with the speakers.
SitePen has participated in The Ajax Experience since the beginning and we’re consistently impressed with the calibre of developers and companies it always attracts. Thanks to everyone who came out to Dojo Developer Day and if you didn’t make it this time, we hope to see you at the next one!