Christian Heilmann

Edgeconf – a thoroughly enjoyable day of bleeding edge web information

Monday, February 11th, 2013 at 12:53 am

Yesterday Edgeconf attracted about 150 (my guess) bleeding edge web technology enthusiasts to come to the Facebook offices in London, England and listen to seven panels of experts.

Over the day we covered Offline storage, Network detection and optimisation, Performance, Responsive Layout, Input formats, Privileged access to hardware and Testing and Tooling. The format was slightly different than other conferences. Each panel consisted of experts from various companies heavily involved in the subject matter and the audience and people not attending the conference could submit questions beforehand that were selected and collated by an expert moderator. The panels had a ten minute presentation easing the audience into the subject matter and then it was free Q&A using the submitted questions and audience participation.

Jake Archibald presenting

The weapon of choice for all this was Google Moderator, a tool built for that purpose and heavily used inside Google. All in all the message of the conference was to go deep and detailed on a subject matter and to stay as brief as possible – 30 to 60 seconds answers at the most.

The conference was jam-packed with very detailed information and the attendees had a good chance for the low price of 50 GBP to meet experts and get their questions answered. Break-out rooms also allowed for unconference-style impromptu sessions but I am not sure how much they were used.

All the sessions got video recorded, transcribed and the videos will be available with time-stamped transcription for easy access to the sections that interest you.

All the coverage of the event will be published on the conference hub page.

I was very impressed with how the conference was organised and run. Andrew Betts and team are incredibly detailed and there was no question from me how my session would go or how to contact the panelists. All the communication and collaboration happened painlessly over email and collaborative web tools and the day ran like clockwork. This is of course also very much thanks to Facebook offering the location and Google the filming and transcribing.

Shadow with her own nametag - she's a girl

A nice little touch was that at the end of the conference there was a full disclosure how much money was made and what it was spent on. The 3000 GBP extra were donated to Codeclub.

Edgeconf was very much value for money with the incoming funds going into recording and making the results of the show available to everyone, food and travel for the experts. There was no merchandise, no overly aggressive marketing or obvious sponsorship. Everybody involved was an expert who needed to be there. I very much enjoyed that and it was refreshingly different to bigger shows that run on more traditional concepts of marketing and sponsorship.

It was a very intense day of detailed information and there was no lull in the whole show. For a one day conference this is perfect and I am sure that there will be more sequels to come. I have to congratulate everyone involved for putting on an impressive show and getting everybody organised without much hassle.

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