Google Developer Day 2011 Prague

This year I had the possibility to participate at the Google Developer Day in Prague, Czech Republic. I’ve been in Prague, and at a GDD before, so I knew how great this would get. Luckily my friend Steve was invited too, so nothing stood in between us and some awzum days in Praha.

We arrived just in time for a lazy Sunday afternoon at the Vltava riverside, followed by a traditional beer degustation in the city. Conclusion: Czech beer is still delicious!

On Monday we went on a sightseeing tour, including the Petřín Lookout TowerHradčany, St. Vitus Cathedral, Charles Bridge and the Old Town Square. Btw, the evening beer degustation came to the same conclusion as the one on Sunday.

The Google Developer Day in general

Funny story: we wanted to get the directions from our hotel in Praha 1 to the Clarion Congress Hotel in Praha 9 from the Google Maps Android App. But we couln’t believe, that it would take us 43 minutes to get there with public transportation. So after a small flirt with the young lady at the reception, we knew what to do: walk 200 meters to the next metro station get in and ~20 minutes later we were at the Developer Day – punctually at 0800!

So we had a enough time to chat with Brad Abrams about the GDD, the upcoming keynote, his work at Google and about our thoughts of the future in web and mobile applications. It was a pleasure to meet him personally but I still hope he was just joking, when he said “SEO.. what do you mean by SEO? Ohhh Search Engine Optimization.. Yeah, looks like we changed the focus a bit.“.

These are the sessions we went to, mostly regarding HTML5 and modern web apps:

These Aren’t the Sites You’re Looking For: Modern HTML5 Web Apps

In this session, Ilmari Heikkinen talked about new techniques for modern web applications. Modern web apps shouldn’t be passive anymore, but active in order to motivate users to interact. Features like HTML5 AppCache, speech to text and on page file system browsing will not only increase the usability of a web app, but also push the development and the support of new technologies.
The slides can be found here.

Displaying Large Geographic Datasets: Google Fusion Tables

This session was held by Mano Marks, senior developer advocate for Google Maps. Main topic were Googles Fusion Tables, which allow you to upload, store and query large amounts of geographic data, and provide easy and powerful methods to implement this data in your Google Maps V3 API applications.
Manos slides are here.

Working Off the Grid: HTML5 Offline

Another session by Ilmari, this time about the offline features of HTML5 and its benefits. In the session we discussed advanced offline capabilities like IndexedDB, FileSystem, AppCache, WebSQL, and online events for building modern web apps, which work online and offline.
Ilmari used a modified version of these slides.

Enter the Third Dimension: Hardware Accelerated Graphics for the Web with WebGL

Ilmari again – in this session he was talking about hardware accelerated graphics for web browser, using WebGL. With WebGL, 2D and 3D graphics get a better performance by leveraging the graphics processor.
The slides.

Bleeding Edge HTML5

Out with Ilmari, in with Paul Kinlan, who was talking about great new features in HTML5, such as RTC, performance, system integration, WebSockets, messaging and rich media APIs. A very interesting session, great examples and very useful information.
Pauls slides: voilà.

DevTools Tips and Tricks

Here we go again – another session with Paul Kinlan, this time giving a great insight into the new and/or not-so-known features of (as they call them) “a web app developers best friend, the Chrome Dev Tools“. And indeed, they are good friends of mine too, but some of this features I was really missing or I haven’t yet discovered them (JS prettyfier, XHR log in the console, breakpoints on everything etc.).
And the slides are here.

After the last session and the wrap up we had the chance to talk to Paul about his sessions and how he ended up working for Google. I’m pretty sure his wife isn’t mad at him anymore, since he’s got such a great job at Google..

A few beers and lots of delicious sweets later, we headed back to Caesars Palace, packing our bags and getting some sleep for the journey back home on the next day.
Overall it was a great trip to Prag, a great GDD and a lot of fun to goof around all day long.
Thanks to Steve for his patience and to Google for an amazing Developer Day. And await my registration for the 2012 edition!

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