Webmaster Jam Session – Day One

One word- sweet. The Dallas Webmaster Jam Session has been an awesome conference so far, I’m glad to hear this is the first of many more Jam Sessions to come. Eric Meyer’s keynote kicked off the day with a great history (from a well-travelled point of view, I might add) of the long crawl CSS has taken from a well-intentioned spec, to a wide morass of varying browser support around the turn of the century, to the current state of cross-browser CSS with IE7 close on the horizon.

Derek Featherstone and Ethan Marcotte’s session followed (unfortunately at the same time as Chris Wilson’s IE 7 preso, which I’ll have to gem up on afterwards), a great deep-dive on why standards are important, particularly from an accessibility perspective. Great slides, too (apparently Ethan was dressing ’em up just before the session, something I’ve been doing to my slides for tomorrow all day today!).

Ethan, Derek and I grabbed lunch after their session- and we caught up on all sorts of stuff- accessibility and Spry, why we’re all so busy lately, Derek’s Ironman training regimen (nice!). Nice to get a quiet conversation outside the big sessions, most definitely.

I’m currently in Bryan Veloso’s session, which is a great grab bag of tips, tricks, suggestions, and techniques on the venerable-yet-still-superhuman Photoshop. This man knows his stuff cold. I’ll be grabbing a quick coffee break before Jared Spool’s session on usability – ‘Good Content Must Suck’ – which should be a mandatory session, IMHO. Craig Clevenger (formerly the editorial counterpart to my webmaster role at now-defunct Santa Barbara software company MetaCreations, before he became a rock-star author) and I attended one of Jared’s workshops for UIE on web usability about 8 years ago to prep up for a major site redesign, and Mr. Spool doled out so much insight on the dirty truth of usability my head spun continuously for the next few years.

If today is any indication, you simply can’t miss the next Webmaster Jam Session, wherever it’s held. Fantastic speakers, great tracks and management, it’s definitely going to be one of my favorite cons this year (and after attending 2 Flashforwards and SXSW, that’s saying quite a lot). Kudos to all the guys at CoffeeCup Software (in particular, the organizational wizardry of J Cornelius) for such a kick-butt event so far!

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