Having spoken at the normal DDD community events in the UK I was looking forward to the combined nature of WebDD which was aimed at both developers and designers interested in web technologies. Similar to DDD Microsoft UK hosted the event in their UK headquarters in Reading, and provided a quality lunch and refreshments, and the excellent bonus of a fully licensed version of Expression Web for every attendee.
The hope for a 50/50 split between developers and designers wasn't quite achieved, developers did appear to outnumber designers. However, it's the first event, and with Scott Guthrie speaking in four out of the five time slots it was inevitable that developers would be quite keen to attend.
I have worked in broadcast television for over 15 years, and I'm very used to collaborating closely with graphics designers for on screen content. I can't wait for them to get closer to both web and application development (see Microsoft Expression highlight below), so that the programmers can stop designing user interfaces from hell. And I include myself in that group of programmers.
The most interesting development I saw was with Expression Design and Expression Blend, the new tools for creating designer lead applications, and the announcement of a new product Expression Media (previously iView MediaPro) for asset management and video encoding. When I saw demonstrations of Expression at TechEd 2006, I was stunned that anyone at Microsoft could believe it was a suitable product for graphic designers as it was clearly still a developer tool. Seeing the current versions clearly marks out Design and Blend as tools for graphic designers, and that these are applications aimed at creating Windows Applications for the initial releases. They will only target web applications when WPF/E is fully formed. I'll be blogging more detailed thoughts of the Expression product range in the next few days.
In summary, a very enjoyable day out and great to see some new faces among the usual suspects. Talking of which Guy Smith Ferrier took time out to record a pod cast on my opinion of WebDD so keep a lookout for that gem of modern broadcasting inflicted on an unsuspecting population. Hopefully my terrible cough didn't come across on the recording. Which reminds me, apologies to those who may have sat near me in any of the sessions if I had a coughing fit near you. Let's hope I didn't drown out any interesting parts of the sessions.
| posted on Monday, February 5, 2007 9:38 AM