I Wonder What They Thought About My Session?

6 08 2009

I mentioned previously how we assigned  a two character code for the plenary talks (P0-P8) and for the parallel sessions (A1-A9, B1-B4 and C1-C5). We suggested that Twitter users may wish to use these code when tweeting about a particular session.

As I described on the UK Web Focus blog these tags appeared to be well-used, with over 34% of the tweets containing the event tag (#iwmw2009) and an additional tag.

Twitter search engines, such as Tweetzi, Twazzup and Twitter Search, can now be used to find tweets related to a particular talk or parallel session.  As an example you can view the tweets for:

We have updated pages on the IWMW 2009 Web site so that the details of the plenary talks and workshop sessions contain links to these three Twitter search tools. We hope that this will help the speakers and facilitators to get an idea of what the audience was thinking.  We hope the findings aren’t too shocking 🙂

What’s the default browser on your network?

3 08 2009

A post from Tony Hirst on why last weeks IWMW has led him to set up a survey looking at what’s the default browser on your university staff network?


Whilst at IWMW last week, I noticed that a web application I wanted to demo didn’t work on the IE6 default browser on the local Essex machines. Bearing in mind that many developers on programmes such as the JISC Rapid Innovation strand (#jiscri) are likely to make use of frameworks and libraries that exploit the power of current generation browsers (IE7, FF 2.*) and assume standards compliance, the assumption that support for IE6 will not be required is one that many developers may take, either explicitly or implicitly (e.g. as result of developers not using machines that run IE6).

That is, for rapid innovation and development to work, developers are likely to use contemporary tools. But there’s a problem – if JISC are funding the development of tools and apps for use in HE, they need to run on the installed base of web browsers – hence the poll. If a lot of HEIs are running IE6, and a lot of HE staff use IE6 as their browser, developers creating apps for use by staff are going to have to check that their apps run on IE6. For some, this is going to be non-trivial and time spent tryijng to support IE6 will make the projects non-viable.

Maybe JISC needs to start innovating on behalf on the HE community, and finding ways of putting pressure on HEIs so that they adopt browsers that can run apps developed rapidly for modern browsers? Maybe in some programme strands, JISC needs to tell the HE community that they are holding (rapid) innovation back by not adopting current browsers? IMHO, of course…

Why not have a go at the survey.

Tony Hirst, Open University

Miles Banbery on Twitter

29 07 2009

Miles Banbery shares his new found enthusiasm for Twitter with us…

RSS Feeds For IWMW 2009

26 07 2009

A number of RSS feeds are provided on the IWMW 2009 Web site. As might be expected the news page has a corresponding news feed. But in addition for use with news alerts RSS feeds have been created to allow or the syndication and reuse of various structured lists of resources. These include:

  • Information about the plenary talks is available as an RSS file. The file contains the title of the talk, a link to a page about the talk, a description of the talk and the date and time of the start of the talk.
  • Information about the workshop sessions is available as an RSS file. The file has a similar structure to that for the plenary talks.
  • Information about the plenary speakers and event organisers is available as an RSS file. The file contains the speaker’s name, biographical details and, for speakers based at a higher educational institution, the location of the institution.
  • Information about the workshop facilitators is available as an RSS file. The file should contain similar information to that provided for the speakers, although at the time of writing this may not yet be complete.

As this information is available as HTML pages you may wonder what the point of providing the information in RSS is. Well RSS is a more interoperable format, which can be processed by software, as opposed to HTML which, is better suited for processing and display for humans. To illustrate how these RSS resources can be used have a look at the location map for the plenary speakers and organisers at this year’s event and a similar map of the workshop facilitators. The thing that strikes me is that although the former map show representations from the north and south of England together with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the workshop facilitators are all from the south of England, with the sole exception of one session which has two facilitators from Bradford. Why is this, I wonder? (Note that for consistency with previous years location details have – mostly- only been provided for those based at higher educational institutions).

A similar set of RSS feeds have been provided for the past few years of IWMW events. Might these RSS resources be of interest to the developers at IWMW 2009, I wonder?

Use of Twitter at IWMW 2009

26 07 2009

We’ll be encouraging use of Twitter at IWMW 2009 in order to enrich discussions of the plenary talks and to help delegates to get to know each other. In addition Kirsty McGill will act as the official live blogger, keeping a record of the plenary talks. We feel this may be particularly useful for the remote audience watching the talks on the video streaming.

The hashtag for the event is “#iwmw2009”.  Twitter posts with this tag will be integrated with the official IWMWlive blog posts (which will be published by the iwmwlive Twitter account). In addition the IWMW Twitter account will be used for admin purposes – so if we find a set of keys, as happened last year, we are likely to announce this on the IWMW Twitter channel.

If you wish to refer to a specific plenary talk or workshop session, we have defined a hashtag for each of the plenary talks (#p1 to #p9) and workshop session (#a1-#a9, #b1-#b4 and #c1 to #c5). These are listed on the list of plenary talks and workshop sessions. We appreciate that this may appear over-complicated, but note that use of these hashtags are optional; they have been provided as a means of disambiguating tweets if this is felt to be useful.

There is one plenary talk in which the Twitter channel will form a essential component of the talk.  James Currall, in his talk on “What is the Web?” wishes to include a live display of tweets related to his talk. In order to ensure that this live display isn’t cluttered up with other comments, the tag “#iwmw-p4” should be used if you want your tweets to appear on the display. Note if you have space you could also use the “#iwmw2009” tag to ensure your tweet is included with other event tweets.

Twitterwall display of iwmw tweetsWe intend to use the Twitterfall service to display tweets containing this tag.  An example of this service is illustrated.

Also note that we intend to archive the various posts containing the “#iwmw2009” tag as well as the tweets from the iwmw and iwmwlive Twitter accounts. We are using a number of services to do this, including the backupmytweets service which stores the tweets in HTML, XML and JSON formats. We will be happy to make this data freely available if any developers would like to use this data in any creative way!

Developer’s Lounge at IWMW 2009

24 07 2009

Mike Nolan will be facilitating the Developer Lounge Show and Tell session on the final morning of IWMW 2009. Tony Hirst has already encouraged developers at the event to engage in half-hour hacking sessions? Will there be another song and dance routine? After all, the precedent was  set last year. Let’s hear from Mike.

You know how much Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer loves developers, right? In case you don’t, this is how much he loves them…

That was just one of Steve’s performances which went viral a couple of years ago, even spawning music videos. I’m thinking of introducing the day 3 morning session by jumping around on stage like a monkey and shouting “I LOVE THE IWMW”! On second thoughts, maybe that’s not the best idea the morning after the drinks reception!

I have the honour of chairing a session dedicated to giving a bit of love to the oft-misunderstood developers. First up there’s a plenary talk by Michael Smethurst and Matthew Wood from the BBC. It probably won’t surprise anyone that we (as I’m sure is the case with most other HEIs) often look to the Beeb for inspiration and to lead the way on technologies that are ready to adopt for the masses.

Then before you’re allowed to inject any more caffeine, there is the developers lounge show and tell. The hope is that this will give the opportunity to demonstrate to managers all the cool stuff that would be possible if only they didn’t have developers to work on all that boring stuff they’re forced to do.

My hope is that after all this, you’ll be inspired to go back to work, tell your developers how much you love them and really push what you make for the web!

Mike Nolan is Head of Web Services at Edge Hill University where he is responsible for development of external Web sites and a portal service for staff and students.

Michael regularly posts about HE web development topics on the Edge Hill Web Services blog and is a regular participant (and hence speaker!) at BarCamps around the country.

Mike can be contacted using Michael.Nolan@edgehill.ac.uk. His Twitter id is MikeNolan.