This well-attended event in the Ether Conference Centre got off to a slightly sticky start when it was discovered that neither the wired nor wireless Internet connectivity were working in the spacious 15th floor conference room... but the views over central Melbourne were spectacular! Poor Eddy Kleinjan, presenting via webinar link, and for whom it was very late at night - or very early in the morning - in Holland, had a tricky time coping with the limited bandwidth offered by a mobile-phone dongle plugged into a laptop.
For the afternoon session we moved down 16 floors to a basement training room - much cosier and with no view, but with a functional InterWeb! It was there, just after a prize-draw had netted a lucky attendee an iPad2, that we heard the sad news: Steve Jobs - RIP.
The remaining two days proceedings were held in the 14th floor conference room: good connectivity, plenty of space and views nearly as grand as the floor above - Eddys second presentation went much more smoothly. Several of the remote presenters became confused about the time differences between where they were and where we were - 9 hours ahead of Europe, 10 for the UK, 15 for Miami and 18 for California - resulting in some last-minute rescheduling (one even got the day wrong... but I wouldnt want to rat on my good friend Sture!), however it all just added to the fun of the fair in a very relaxed atmosphere.
An extensive list of overseas speakers - Chip Casanave, CEO of Data Access Worldwide, and I were present in the flesh, while John Tuohy, Eddy Kleinjan, Vincent Oorsprong, Stephen Meeley (all Data Access), Sture Andersen, Riaz Merchant and Dan Levine all delivered their contributions remotely - supplemented a wealth of local talent to provide an agenda packed with technical depth across topics as diverse as virtualisation, jQuery development, version control and iPad integration - a far richer mix than one would have guessed for such a distant outpost of a vanished empire!
Most impressive was a seamlessly integrated double-handed update on the Visual DataFlex Roadmap from John and Steve - youd never have guessed that they were delivering their respective pieces from opposite sides of a continent (California and Florida respectively).
The overall thrust of that Roadmap presentation was that, as had already been revealed, Data Access now view the Windows desktop product as essentially complete (at least for the foreseeable future) and that their development will now focus on the web.
Here they are working on creating a solution that will allow developers to build Ajax/Web software entirely within their Visual DataFlex code, which will then manage, together with an extended and enhanced Ajax Library, the dynamic generation of the required user interface elements to be delivered into the users browser.
Although a visual "Web App Builder" capability is not expected to be available any time soon, a one-click "preview" facility will be provided so that the programmer can at least see the shape their user interface is taking as it develops.
Look forward to seeing these features in VDF 17 and 17.1, work towards both of which is already well underway. Summer 2012 was the date hinted at for delivery of those things in the current plan, although elements of it may be in our hands sooner.
The conference ambience was every bit the match of the content, with a friendly, convivial welcome being extended to all amid generous helpings of beer, wine - and the distinctly dangerous Bundaberg Rum! - on a series of diverse nights out.
All-in-all a cracking conference Gromit! (And I got to see fruit bats and a possum in Treasury Gardens! Thanks Linda!)
Mikes presentation is available from the Corroboree 2011 Event page. If you would like to know more about the presentations at the conference or about the training that Mike presented, please email us at email@example.com or phone 0118 988 8709.