I was excited to be at this year's the Future of Web Apps summit. This two days conference has gathered many great speakers to look at some of the web's most successful sites and applications and practical advices on creating your own web app.
Here are some highlights from the first day.
Dick Hardt from Sxip take about identity 2.0. He's points about identity is based on past history, which in turn predict future behavior is well taken. He later demonstrated logging on to websites using different protocol such as OpenID, i-names and Infocard. Since all discussions remained at high level, it is not obvious to the uninitiated to understand what is the magic behind these new technology.
Kevin Rose of digg recounted an interesting anecdote that the first version of digg was built with a budget of $2000. He has contracted a programmer through elance who later became a shareholder.
Tom Coates from Yahoo has examined social software, what it is and what makes it works. Two points are especially noteworthy.
He noted there are two models of social software. The consensus model, represented by wikipedia, presents one complete version of information created by many contributors. On the other hand the polyphony model, represented by flickr, presents many different versions all at once (e.g. many different photos for any give tag). He believes consensus is difficult to achieve and the success of wikipedia is more of an exception. People would be better off focusing on the polyphony model.
Secondly he cautioned about rewarding user, either using virtual points or worst of all, actual money. He believe an imperfectly designed reward system would easily skew user behavior or even unravel the entire community.
Tantek Çelik from Technorati gave a good introduction on microformat, which allow us to embed structured data in HTML. It so simple that I have updated my about page right away to include a hCard and a link to add my contact to visitor's address book.
Steve Olechowski of Feedburner gave us an interesting tidbit. He said adding contextual ad on RSS feed does not perform at all. He explained that ads network like Google AdSense or YPN are geared toward offering product to people searching for something. For feed readers they are not really looking for anything specific but just interested in what you have to say. Since feed subscribers are people who come back daily, he suggest a brand awareness campaign would work well in this media.
Carl Sjogreen of Google told the story behind Google Calendar. He talked about how hard they work to design the UI that is really easy to use. Things like quick add box (natural language input box) and in-place editing has made it a much more fluid user experience.
More on day 2.
2006.09.13 comments -