Web09 to bring digital leaders to Auckland

Conference about creating great user experiences on the web, says organiser

The Web09 conference, in Auckland on 17 and 18 of April, is bringing leaders of web technology to Auckland at what organiser John Ballinger says is a “perfect time to brush up on your skills”.

The formal conference will be preceded by a day of workshops on the 16th offering a deep-dive into Silverlight 3, HTML 5 and CSS 3, Rapid Interface Prototyping and designer tips and tricks for creating grid systems and colour pallets.

“Web09 is a conference about creating great user experiences on the web,” Ballinger says. “It focuses on how to use different technologies to create rich user experiences, whether these are HTML, Javascript, Flash or Silverlight.”

Ballinger runs the Auckland Web Meetup, a beer and pizza evening that sees up to 200 designers and developers attending. They sometimes refer to themselves as “deviners”.

Ballinger says in launching Web09 he wanted to create an opportunity for these local developers and designers to meet and hear from leaders in the rich internet space. This year those leaders include Tumblr founder David Karp and Dylan Schiemann, CEO of SitePen and co-founder of the Dojo Java toolkit.

Ballinger says the Karp presentation is one he is looking forward to. Karp’s Tumblr features an extremely simple system for sharing music, photos, quotes, files and thoughts online, he says.

“David Karp, now 22, started his first company at 17. He is so young and has achieved so much,” Ballinger says.

Another is entrepreneur and interface design expert Steve Smith, who will talk about how to make websites more streamlined and usable.

“He has some great tips for making websites far more interactive by using jQuery,” Ballinger says.

Adobe’s Flash guru Ryan Stewart and Microsoft’s Silverlight programme manager Tim Heuer are also speaking.

Ballinger says Web09 will also highlight emerging trends, such as developing for the iPhone and Android platform.

Prominent local developers are also on the agenda. Ballinger says Jarred Bishop is a “very exciting designer” who uses recent technologies such as Google App Engine, Javascript and Flash to create cool applications like Hypetape.

Philip Fierlinger, head of design at Xero, is also speaking, as is local iPhone app developer Karl von Randow, from design and development studio Cactuslab.

Ballinger says getting the conference up and running has not been easy in a tough economy.

“We have definitely had to make some changes to it and adapt the format and costs to the economy.”

Planning for the event started 18 months ago. Ballinger says learning new skills now will help designers and their employers win work when the economy picks up again.

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