a stroke of luck

BarCamp London 2!

I’m just back from BarCamp London 2. It was really good, lots of interesting talks and a chance to meet some cool people. It was great meeting Carlos (creator of the amazing PaperVision 3D project), Ricardo (creator of loads of cool PaperVision3D demos), Aral Balkan (founder of OSFlash), Graham King, Janette Girod, Niqui Merret, Dan Webb and all of the other great people whose names and URLs I’ve forgotten!

Two of the talks were particularly inspiring for me. The first was Carlos’ PaperVision 3D one (unfortunately it seemed like it clashed with another really popular presentation so not that many people came). I’ve been watching the project closely and haven’t managed to find time to play around with it yet but am constantly amazed by how cool it is and it was great to get some insight into the Maya > Collada > .swf workflow that Carlos has made so easy.

The other especially inspiring talk was by Rhys Jones about web2os. Web2os is a really clever solution to the problem of offline access to web apps. Necessity is the mother of invention and web2os was developed because of Rhys’ long train journeys between Wales and London. Basically a proxy sits on your computer between your browser and the internet and can be instructed to cache requests and results while you are online. Once you go offline it detects this and simulates the server’s response while storing any changes you have made in a local SQL Lite database. When it goes online again it can synchronise your changes. Rhys demonstrated this working perfectly with Google Calendar.

The advantage over other possible solutions (like Apollo, the Dojo offline toolkit and Firefox 3) is that it doesn’t require re-engineering of the website itself (in this case Google Calendar). Instead a little web2os script is written for each website you want it to work with… These scripts end up being surprisingly simple. Also, because the proxy can inject HTML and JS code into the rendered page it also introduces the concept of local mashups. Anyway – definitely a project to keep an eye on – you can check out Rhys’ presentation on slideshare.

I gave a little talk about Flashr. I just gave a quick introduction to the project and then went through the code for a sample application I built in the middle of last night. Then I gave some examples of some of the cool things people have built with Flashr. The slides from the presentation are available on SlideShare and the sourcecode of the “application” from the above URL.

All in all, it was a great weekend and I’m looking forward to BarCamp Brighton in the summer and the potential “FlashCamp” Aral was talking about organising :)

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