Christian Heilmann

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Minified Metro, Sticky Event Handling and great new encounters – that was ParisWeb 2007

Sunday, November 18th, 2007

Minification is the process to remove all unnecessary whitepace (spaces, tabs, linebreaks) from a piece of code to make it weigh less when downloaded. During a strike in Paris this is exactly what happens to the public transport system:

overcrowded metro

I’ve spent the last three days at Paris Web – a three day conference about web standards and accessibility held in Paris, France. Just to sum it up: although travelling through the city to reach the two different locations was more of a nightmare that I’d ever imagined, the conference itself was an amazing experience and I am happy to have been a part of it.

Paris Web shows the hallmarks of a conference that is organized by people who are simply passionate about bringing the good ideas of standardization and accessibility to the people and not to line their pockets.

The two day conference pass held in an IBM building with a state-of-the-art auditorium (I am still geeking out about the remote control and having a monitor in the stage to see my slides) and a more than adequate supply of coffee and beverages was 100 Euro for two days. The workshops, sadly enough (because of the strike) held in a school on the other side of town set back attendees for only 10 Euros!

These prices meant that you were able to reach the folk you normally can’t as they are not able to afford the ticket for much pricier conferences. Pending me, the low price did not mean you didn’t get a line-up of impressive speakers and great presentations. The list of speakers read like a who-is-who of the francophone web scene and included people from WaSP, the W3C, IBM and members of the prototype team.

My presentation at the conference “Successful teams use web standards”

My own presentation was deliberately kept non-technical and explained the benefits of following a standard when you develop web sites:

My workshop on Unobtrusive JavaScript

I based the workshop on my seven principles of unobtrusive JavaScript and tried to apply them by enhancing a table of contents pointing to several content areas in a document. There will be a blow-by-blow description of the enhancement when I get time.

The room was not ideal for doing a workshop as it was a classroom crammed with computers and 19 inch CRT monitors which meant that you couldn’t see much of the people you are teaching something.

I’ve promised the group that by the end of the session the JavaScript savvy ones will have realized that a lot of time they code too much and that the JavaScript afraid participants will know how to work and communicate with JS developers (yes, that is possible).

Making the best of the room and following a whim I explained event handling and event delegation using real people:

Event Handling using Human Guinea Pigs

The first row were the links in the table of contents, behind the list items, then a UL to the left and Stephanie Booth on the left was the window object (I did not treat her as an object, do not start these rumours!). The lady sitting up front was the event listener and the sticky note in the hand of one of the links was the event object e. It is tricky to explain, I guess you had to be there.

I am currently still cleaning up the workshop files and will put them up on my server as soon as they are done. You will find them at later on today.

Will the show go on?

I’ve heard rumours that this would be the last Paris web, and I’d consider that a shame, as it is a conference that reached where it very much needs to and there are too many people to thank and mention. It was a great experience and it should go on.

There are lots of photos of the conference on flickr and the organizers told me that all the sessions will be available as creative commons videos on dailymotion later on.

Photos by
Raphael Goetter and Christophe Porteneuve