A look back at my first developers summit

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend ESRI’s Developers Summit in Palm Springs, CA. It’s a great chance for developers to hang out with ESRI employees, pick their brains, and come away with a little more inspiration regarding their work. It was the first time I’ve had the chance to go to something like this, and I must say it was really good. I’ve come away excited about programming, and limping from a scraped knee earned at their dodgeball tournament.

The theme for this year’s dev summit centered around usability. Of course, it helped that their keynote speaker was Jared Spool, a big name in UI/UX (user interface/ user experience) research. But a lot of the technical talks and demonstrations I attended had some sort of usability element, whether it was demonstrating the UI of a mobile app, or how they shrinky-dinked their Javascript API┬áto make adding a map on a website easier.

I won’t bore you with all the details, so I’ll hit you with some of the highlights via bullet-point:

  • Geoevents, which are supposed to be the next big thing, will come out in version 10.2 in June. Now, when your district’s tribute enters a danger zone at the Hunger Games, you can be notified by text.
  • I laughed a little too hard when I found out that ESRI built a JavaScript app for a client using mostly jQuery. For those that don’t know, ESRI’s JavaScript API is built on a completely different JavaScript framework called Dojo. Basically, if Dojo was a better framework, they wouldn’t have any need for jQuery. Just goes to show how much jQuery rocks, and Dojo doesn’t.
  • It’s weird when all their programming APIs are rated by how few lines of code it takes to get a map to show up.
  • Designers have no idea how to explain to developers how to be good designers. I think the best advice I heard was “go read a book”.
  • The jaw-dropping moment for me was watching a guy on an android tablet get instant driving directions for any location in California and Nevada, all while in airplane mode.
  • As primarily a JavaScript/Web developer, I’m a little surprised to say this, but I’m excited about developing android apps.
  • Great times. Learned a lot. Wish I could be so lucky as to attend another one of these again. Alas, I lost the 100 lines or less JavaScript competition, so it doesn’t look too likely. Congratulations to those who won.

There was a lot more, but I’ve been pecking away at this keyboard for long enough.