This week, I attended Over The Air mobile development conference at Imperial University, London. It was immense, as it was the first time I went in 2008. I loved that it was free, especially since I am no longer working for a mobile company and can’t get work to stump the fee, however missed the free stuff 🙂

The first keynote speech by Aral Balkan was really inspiring. As a backend developer, I’ve often been guilty of limiting user interface design with backend architecture and functionality constraints. His main point was that the user experience should in fact be designed first without no constraint in mind. He was very clear in the fact that this approach will cause developers more problems, but also quite rightly said that this, in fact, is our job. We are hired/requested/have a duty to solve these problems to create an application that is user friendly and have no weak links to avoid user drop off. Although I still maintain that I prefer the programming/serverside of development, I definitely have another depth to my problem solving skills now. A brilliant start.

With regards to mobile web, this year’s talks were predominantly HTML5 and CSS3 based. I went to a talk with Bruce Lawson from Opera, and it was really interesting to see the new things that we can do. I did however have some concerns about mark up consistancy. Not everyone has a smart phone that is capable, and while you can download opera mini, a large number of people will be sticking with the handset’s native browser. I’m not entirely sure I want to return to the days of using WALL4PHP……

The next day, we had two keynote speeches. The first was from Nokia’s Pawan Ghandi. Thanks to a bit of a hangover from the evening before, I was a tiny tiny bit late for this but immediately got a bit confused with the immense amount of graphs and thanks to a hearing disability, I couldn’t really understand him very well. He did however show a video to enhance his keynote speech that should have been his whole speech in my opinion.

The second speech (and highlight of the conference) was a keynote by none other than Sir Tim Berners Lee. This was a truly awesome speech that actually highlighted just how clever this guy is. Semantic web looks extremely interesting and I shall now be looking into RDF a whole lot more. I wonder sometimes if this is actually the way forward and wonder how the likes of Google will adapt….. I have way more research to do on this before I talk about this properly. Its a whole other post!!!! I was so close to the guy however, that I could’ve ruffled his hair haha! A free conference I remind you. Once in a lifetime opportunity I think!

It was a fantastic conference and I really recommend booking a place next year. I really enjoyed catching up on what’s happening in the world of mobile development and some motivation to kick off my ideas again.