Craig Rowe

Techlead / Developer

21st March 2010

SXSW - In Reflection

Having seen (or at least made notes on) 17 talks at last year's 'South By', coupled with the fact that this year pretty much the entire Headscape team were heading out to Austin I felt sure that my 'talk total' would be much lower. However I somehow managed to make it out to 21 different talks, panels and/or podcast recordings!

Unfortunately I didn't find the time to write up these notes during the conference. But I will do so over the coming days (and backdate them within this blog).

For me, this year had quite a different feel to it. Knowing 11 rather than just 3 people from the outset leant itself to more of a family holiday feel than a networking event...

The Talks

In terms of the talks there seemed to be a theme of design and persuasion with less technical technique oriented items on the schedule. However as I've said before technique 'takeaways' are few and far between at large scale conferences. In fact it is perhaps more beneficial to dip into some sessions that won't necessarily have a direct impact on your role. Instead they will enrich it with insight into some other aspect of web design/development work. This is useful particularly within small agencies where roles are often blurred. For me this included talks on psychology, design and interfaces.

Looking back at last year I spent a lot of time checking out Flash and iPhone based talks which this year seem to have been replaced by Javascript/HTML5, or geo/location based talks. To me this matches the movemement in the industry away from flash (due to devices like the iPhone driving it out) and away from 'device features' to 'applications that can be based on device features' e.g. "OK, your device has access to GPS, what can I now actually make with that".


It's interesting to note that last year I was listening to Microsoft Rep's discussing IE8's intended CSS capabilities and during this years SXSW IE9 was being announced/discussed at Microsoft MIX. With talk of SVG, CSS3 and GPU powered graphics. They really seem to be ramping up their versions now in competition with Mozilla, Apple, Google and Opera (after their 5 year IE6/7 gap), with some promising stuff coming out of redmond.

Overall SXSW was definitely worth reattending. I've returned once again enthused about the industry and getting stuck into some interesting projects, although it would be interesting to take some time to attend more workshop based events in the UK in the future.

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