It's Been A Long Time...

But I’ve not just been sitting on my arse playing GTA IV, oh no. Well, not all the time anyway. The reason I’ve not posted anything (or been particularly active on the web in general) is that I’ve been damn busy. Most importantly, Catherine kindly gave birth to our first son, Max, back in March which has been quite a change and sapped a lot of my hacking time. I have to say though, despite the horror stories that many veteran parents like to feed you, our experience has only been good. In fact, not good, great. I recommend this reproducing lark.

Secondly, I’ve been hacking away nearly full time on one of my favourite projects to date, Peoples Music Store with LRUG stalwart and renowned anarchist, James ‘Bringing London To Its Very Knees’ Darling which is maturing nicely under private beta as we speak. Peoples Music Store is a great idea from some of the guys behind whereby users can construct and customise their very own download store from the music they love then get free music themselves if people buy from their store. It’s a great way to both promote and show off you’re own music taste or in depth genre knowledge and find new music from stores you trust while getting some free digital swag along the way. I’m probably not explaining it well so just drop me a line if you want and invite and the site will explain itself. Public launch is coming in a month or so.

Building Peoples Music Store has been a great learning experience. We run the site on a cloud computing platform and from content ingestion to audio preview delivery to application servers to download packaging and delivery everything has been designed to scale horizontally – and I’m pretty proud of it. Thin, Rack, Sphinx, God, Starling and a whole load more cool open source gear is all running in there. I really need to get to blogging some of what I’ve discovered about working with Rack. It simply is the dog’s bollocks.

So, enough of the excuses. What’s on the horizon?

Speaking and Conferences

I’ve taken some time of speaking and conferencing in general so as to spend lots of time with Catherine and Max but come September I’m restarting the conference trail. Firstly, I’m doing a presentation and a tutorial (with Jarkko Laine) at RailsConf Europe all about JavaScript related Rails stuff and I’m likely to have a slot at @media Ajax as well. Also, I’ll be heading to dConstruct as is the tradition.

Hacking and Open Source Business

Although I’ve not commited to Low Pro or Low Pro JQ for a good while now they are both very much alive. I’ve simply not come across anything that I’ve felt the need to add for a while. If you have any suggestions or patches do let me know. I’ve actually got time to commit them at the moment. Another little project that I’m hoping to get off the ground is called Evil which is going to contain lots of Merb/Rack goodness. The first by-product of which is the merb_openid gem for consuming OpenID in Merb apps (it’s still not quite production ready though so don’t go using it just yet). I’ll let you know what Evil actually does when (or if) I actually get something working.

So, that’s all for now. Just a bit of a status report. I promise I’ll get some useful content written that you actually care about very soon.

@media Ajax

Well, that turned out rather nicely I must say. Really high quality presentations and great attendees – I really hope that Patrick makes it happen again. Here are the slides from my presentation: Metaprogramming JavaScript.

In other news, Low Pro 0.5 is nearly ready to rock. The new version is quite a lot smaller as Prototype 1.6 has solved so many of the things I used to fix with Low Pro. It does however have a few nice new features. Watch this space.

@media Ajax Is Scarily Good

@media Ajax It seems that the @media Ajax site has just been updated. I was looking forward to it before but more speakers have been added including Brendan Eich who, according the abstract, will be demonstrating a working version of Tamarin in Firefox!

Also, Dojo’s Alex Russell, jQuery’s John Resig, YUI’s Douglas Crockford and Prototype’s erm, me will be representing the major libraries and then there’s the Ajaxians, Ben and Dion stepping up for a keynote. Finally, Mr Jeremy Keith will be hosting the hot topics panel in the traditional @media style – Hot Topics panel + JavaScript people should be quite explosive. As it was put in the Prototype Core Campfire the other day, “The JavaScript community is not so much of a community, more of a debating society” It’s going to be excellent. Of course, as it’s in London town you know we’ll be sinking a good few pints after. It will be a rare chance to get together with fellow scriptie types this side of the pond and the only pub conversation you’ll ever be allowed to mention closures in….surely that’s a good thing?

There are still early bird tickets left until the end of august so get your arse down to the site and sign up.

My presentation, Metaprogramming JavaScript, is for all those people who moan that they never learn things at conferences. It’s journey into the deep innards of JavaScript and I’ll be explaining the some of the metaprogramming techniques used in YUI, Prototype and Low Pro along with really getting into advanced JavaScript concepts like prototype inheritance, functional programming and closures. I defy you to turn up and not learn something new.

@media 2007 Europe Over, @media Ajax Announced

Dan Webb presenting at @media Yep, well that was that. @media Europe went off in the usual excellent fashion and it was an excellent few days. This years highlight was definitely the quality of the presentations…I learnt really quite a lot of new stuff and usually I learn next to nothing at conferences. Did you know that having more than two asset hosts can have a detrimental effect on download speed? Freaky. Håkon Wium Lie did a hugely informational presentation about CSS3 as well.

My presentation seemed to go down reasonably considering I was up against Andy Clarke’s traditional end of conference slot and that myself and Mark Boulton had an unfortunate clash of presentation analogies (his presentation likened typography to martial arts). The slides are on slideshare so feel free to check them out.

Finally, Patrick announced @media Ajax which I’ve been really excited about for a while. It’s a whole conference in London dedicated to DOM Scripting and Ajax which I’m really happy to be speaking at. I’m going to be presenting on a much more hardcore topic there: Metaprogramming in JavaScript.

And with that the conference season is over and I’ll be blogging about proper stuff again. In fact, this week I’ve got some fairly important stuff to talk about. Keep your RSS readers peeled.

Photo by Drew McLellan.

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