Web 2.0 Expo 2009 San Francisco

07 Apr, 2009
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San Francisco 31 March – 3 April: Web 2.0 Expo brought together people with diverse professional backgrounds, having interest in Web 2.0, at Mascone Centre in San Francisco. San Francisco Bay Area, also known as Silicon Valley boasts of high concentration of information technology companies of all sizes ranging from biggies like Intel Corporation to numerous start ups trying to make it big.

At the expo Twitter was hot and so were the social networking or the social effects of web 2.0 to drive economy and business. Power of less was the new phrase in vogue which also reflected the mood of participants hearing the news of US jobs losses real time as this four day long event progressed.
Making web work to search local information could be a new mantra to help people who are seeking local information such as price of a watch in nearby stores. As mobile internet becomes more popular, these searches can influence consumers’ behavior when he is looking for a product in the high street. For example, consider Google search where it figures out a possible local context from a search term and displays the local results on the top. Nokia hinted at making location aware mobile devices integrated with smart camera phones that can take advantage of internet to pull the information about a landmark from Wikipedia that you are trying to shoot.
Probably every participant in the Expo was using Twitter or Facebook. Alex Payne of Twitter explained why they have chosen Scala to solve scalability problem in their backend queuing system. He said because of Scala they have an API test suite that helps them sleep.
User Interaction design grabbed good attention during a demo of Adobe Flex Catalyst in a keynote session that demonstrated how graphic design can be converted in to a Flex application with some cool transition effects using Catalyst. An interesting session was on user experience and software development Can’t We Just All Get Along? Human-centered Design Meets Agile Development by Maria Giudice who moderated a panel of four other people having software development and user experience design background. The panel covered the challenges in combining the short iterative nature of Agile projects with creative user experience design activity that creates conflict.
As the funding for new ventures dries up there is a remarkable increased in Agile awareness and adoption in the Web 2.0 community. Eric Ries, who is a popular author and speaker and publishes a blog titled Start up Lessons Learned, delivered a talk titled Lean Startup. In a jam packed hall, he suggested that a lean startup company should quickly iterate from ideas to code to data collection. Eric Ries ideas encapsulate various Agile practices in an iterative cycle and provide an overall big picture that many popular Agile methodologies seem to be lacking.
Some of the key take aways from this events are as follows:
1. Agile is at the point of becoming mainstream way of software development
2. Mobile Internet and Geo Location APIs will drive application development in coming years
3. User experience and new ways of Human Computer Interaction will drive application development as demonstrated by Wii and iPhone
4. Value of social network grows geometrically as number of users increase
5. Web 2.0 technologies are making their inroads behind Enterprise firewall
6. Public API makes integrating content easier which amplifies the network effect of a social platform
Adobe Systems, IBM,, Nokia and Microsoft were the major vendors who participated in this event as exhibitors.
Keynote presentations including very inspiring lectures from Tim O’Reilly and John Maeda are available on

Anurag Shrivastava
Started as a C and Visual Basic programmer in 1993 in India. Worked as a consultant in software implementation and software development projects in Europe before moving to India in 2006 to setup Xebia office in Gurgaon.

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