March 17, 2005

Etech day 4: Observations

So, day 4 of ETech and my brain is starting to feel uncomfortably full. There's a couple more sessions stilll to come which look good – Danny and Merlin on Lifehacks, and Ben Trott from SixApart on making web services personal. In the meantime, a few random points culled from all the presentations I've seen so far:-

  • If there's an emerging theme over the whole conference that seems relevant to us, it's social software. The assertion has come up many times that social or collaborative software is the Next Big Thing on the interweb. We're already doing things in this space – blogs, forums, even SiteBuilder when it's used collaboratively – and coming here has given us ideas on how to extend and improve in this area.

  • The actual tagline for the conference is remixing. We started out thinking that seemed a bit gimmicky and not hugely relevant to us, but by yesterday evening we were in fact starting to throw around ideas for reusing existing applications and content at Warwick in new contexts – remixing, in a word – so it turned out to be more valuable than we first anticipated.

Some sound-bites:-

  • Small things loosely joined is a great description of the way to build web applications from one of the early sessions.

  • Promote your best users to positions of greater responsibility.

  • Don't hinder recombination

  • Applications are ongoing services, and users are growing more comfortable, even starting to expect, that a steady stream of new features will be part of the user experience.

  • Make the acqusition of metadata a side-effect of participation.

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