DIBI is a two track Web Conference that this year was held over the 7th and 8th June 2011 at The Sage, Gateshead. I’d been looking forward to it for ages, having attended last year’s inaugral event and, as good as DIBI was last year, this year it was even better.
New to this year’s event was the Afternoon with…Startups over at the Live Theatre, held the afternoon before the main conference. The venue was good, all the talks were really interesting and insightful - particularly those from Kevin Mann, Roan Lavery and Bobby Paterson - and I came away from it with plenty of new ideas and inspiration.
The next day was the main two track conference. The first talk of the day for me was Jake Archibald with @font-face - Good vs Legal. This was easily one of the highlights of the day. It was a brilliant talk with a brilliant slide deck brilliantly delivered (I would highly recommend watch the video of the talk when they’re published shortly). He even used a Wii remote to change move onto the next slide :)
I stayed on the Build It track for the rest of the morning. Bradley Wright gave an insightful look into Programming the Real-Time Web. He covered the various ways that real time info can be sent and displayed in the browser, from the forever iframe approach to newer methods such as those provided by WebSockets and Socket.IO, and also how you can keep your real time web app accessible by using WAI-ARIA attributes.
Rounding out the morning session was Rich Thornett on Using NoSQL with Yo’SQL. It was an interesting look at how Dribbble makes use of MongoDB, where they’ve favoured it over relational databases and on how it can be used to eliminate N + 1 queries to help boost your site’s performance.
First up after lunch was Corey Donohoe, with another one of the day’s highlights for me. It was a fascinating talk on all the metrics they use at GitHub to help them deploy changes to their site really, really quickly. Front-end behaviour, back-end behaviour, performance and failure rates are all monitored using a variety of tools. Plus there was plenty on the awesomeness that is Hubot!
Next I hopped over to the Design It track for Jeremy Keith and his One Web talk. It was probably the most inspiring talks of the day. It focused on how the “mobile web” is a misnomer and shouldn’t be treated as a separate entity, but instead by adopting a content first approach and focusing on universal access to the web from any device, you can end up with a much better, scalable and richer user experience.
After an exceptionally well timed Red Bull break, I headed back to Build It to catch Blaine Cook talk about Building the Social Kaleidoscope. It featured a really interesting look at Webfinger, what it is, how it works and how it can help to solve the problems identifying users on the Web when they’re details are stored in multiple places and walled gardens.
The final talk of the day was the keynote from none other than Jeffrey Zeldman. Entitled What Every Web Designer Should Know, it was a very entertaining talk on the importance of designing from the content out, defining the problem before you try and solve it and, in a similar vein to Jeremy Keith, on how designing for mobile devices first can help you focus on what the user wants to do.
Overall DIBI was a fantastic conference, all the speakers were great and I came away feeling like I learnt a lot. Huge plaudits must go to Gavin Elliot and the team for all their hard work. Already I’m really looking forward to DIBI 2012. *[DIBI]: Design It Build It *[WAI-ARIA]: Web Accessibility Initiative - Accessible Rich Internet Applications