No Bar @ BarCamp Delhi

| March 8th, 2006

BarCamp Delhi was quite an experience. I had never been to any meet as such…a first timer at BarCamp. I had heard/read a lot about the BarCamps held at US and was very much excited about its first foray into Asia especially India. BarCamp has quite a history about how it started and its connections with FooCamp. No moderation , no restrictions whatsoever was unique to BarCamp. The attendees ranged from entrepreneurs, CEOs to developers and even students. Everyone shared a single platform and participated in some way or the other. Every session consisted of a presentation follwed by an open discussion allowing free flow of ideas.

The theme “Next Generation Internet: Web 2.0, mobile computing, and other cool stuff” was quite apt wrt the current scenario of the web.

A quick summary of the sessions I attended:

  • Agile Web Development with Ruby on Rails by Manik Juneja: Quite an eye-opener for web developers giving them an insight of how powerful Ruby on Rails is.
  • Rich Internet Applications and Flex by Ramanarayanan K and Manish Jethani: An introduction to Macromedia RIA’s was given followed by a live demostartion by Manish where he built a YouTube player using Flex. Flex proved to be quite promising due to its ease and platform independence.
  • Making AJAX applications faster by Jonathan Boutelle: IMHO one of the most impressive presentations. Jonathan introduced us to the concepts of prefetching/preloading in terms of making AJAX applications faster. He pointed out that the decision of the amount of data to prefetch was purely heuristic and application specific.
  • Can we trust next generation web applications by Kapil Bhatia: Kapil brought out some subtle points regarding trust in the current web scenario. This led to open discussions about reliability of some trusted web applications and whether we could trust them with our data. We also discussed about the sustainability of mash-ups coming to the conclusion that in the mashup ecosystem the data owner is the boss.
  • How Bloggers Make Money by Amit Agarwal ‘ProBlogger’: Quick tips by a professional blogger from Agra on how to monetize your blogs and tyurn it into a cash cow. He compared various monetizing tools like Google AdSense, Chitika and shared his experiences regarding the same. He let out the tricks for search engine optimization of blog posts.
  • Blogging Network – None of us are as smart as all of us by Ajay Sanghani: Ajay, from, introduced us to his blogging network ITVIDYA. He brought across a very valid point that wealth earned through blogs not only consisted of the dollars from cpc but also of the social/business networking that may result.
  • Web 2.0 & Power of Default by Prashant: Survival strategies of the Default were discussed concluding that the Default is the way and its here to stay. Paticipants debated on the revenue models for the Web 2.0 concluding that advertising was not the only alternative (37Signals being one of the Web2.0 companys which has a concrete revenue model other than advertising).
  • Knowledge Management 2.0 – Applying structured blogging to knowledge management by Manish Dhingra: The core of the presentation was to familarise all with the concept of structured blogging. Manish also revealed WordPress and Movable Type plugins to facilitate structured blogging. One advantage of structured blogging was to clearly differentiate between normal posts and special posts like reviews etc. This would ease the machine readability of such posts. He emphasised on Knowledge Management at the corporate level talking about the corporate-level blogs and the driving force behind them.
  • Elements of Web 2.0 – Micro-content, Mobiles and Communities by VeerChand Bothra: One of the lone presentations which spoke about Mobile 2.0. Veer elaborated on the concept of MoBlogs and generation of micro-content which is independent of the platform be it th web or the mobile. He also gave the first public demo of his project MyToday. At the first glance MyToday looks like any other feed aggregator. But the twist lies in the fact that it aggregates news based on sources rather than on the content of the posts (complementary to what Google News does).
  • Developing MVC based AJAX applications by Kapil Mohan: The use of MVC design pattern on the client-side was quite innovative. Advantages of it were quite evident, reorganising sloppy javascript code into a modularised, manageable code. The Model-View-Controller architecture facilitates pin pointing errors making javascript debugging a lot more easier.
  • Open source Web application testing with WATiR by Angrez Singh: Another interesting presentation for all the Ruby geeks. Angrez presented the easiness with which web applications could be tested using WATiR. He pointed out its advantages over other commercial testing tools which are ‘record and play’ based. He also exhibhited the extension they had developed at Persistent Systems to extend WATiR for Firefox (currently WATiR works only with IE).

The success of BarCamp Delhi will eventually trigger other BarCamps throughout India. Atleast I know that BarCamp Pune is on the charts. Anyone interested?