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Emerging Technologies for Enterprise 2011: Mobile as lesson in past, future of web

The sold out 2011 Emerging Technology for the Enterprise conference will finish up later this afternoon, but not before mobile took its stage. The conference, a locally-organized, two-day conference for high-level enterprise software development discussion and now in its sixth year, features tracks on various focuses, from infrastructure and languages to agility and frameworks. And, […]


The sold out 2011 Emerging Technology for the Enterprise conference will finish up later this afternoon, but not before mobile took its stage.
The conference, a locally-organized, two-day conference for high-level enterprise software development discussion and now in its sixth year, features tracks on various focuses, from infrastructure and languages to agility and frameworks. And, yes, mobile.
Last year, too, mobile was already a feature, but, says Tracey Welson-Rossman, a co-organizer of the event, the level of interest in mobile has intensified even faster than she expected. Welson-Rossman, who is the director of sales for Chariot Solutions, the Fort Washington consulting firm that organizes ETE, and a Philly Startup Leaders board member, says mobile’s growth has mirrored the success of the conference itself.
“When I talk to our panelists and speakers, they are sticking around to actually sit in on other sessions because most conferences don’t have the diversity that we’ve seen happen here,” she says, adding that presenters aren’t paid but are increasingly motivated by the reputation of ETE and those in attendance.

What the development world’s mobile focus should be started with keynote speaker Molly E. Holzschlag, a web standards guru with Opera. Her kickoff address Wednesday morning at the Sheraton Society Hill was a contextual history of the web’s creation and how that impacts its direction. Mobile was an inherent topic.
“The idea that the web was going to be mobile was already there from the very start,” she said, talking about the early conceptual development of the web at CERN. “Ideologically, it was never meant to be a separate standard… so it should always be embraced but we do not have device transcendence yet.”
Holzschlag, in her conversational style and self-deprecating humor had the several hundred attendees engaged, discussed the root principles of the web:

  • Location shouldn’t matter, despite income or resources, access should be granted.
  • Language should cut across cultures and countries, as the web should be global. Holzschlag spoke about the challenges proprietary options, like EOT fonts, have kept many government websites from taking on new technology without completely starting over. “When you build for one browser, you get stuck,” she said.
  • Ability to access, use, understand and move with the ‘fluidity of the web.’ As she said: “unless you are disabled, we are all only temporarily able.” She added that there are 150 different, distinct environments to develop in online, which creates the lack of ‘transcendence.’

Holzschlag also shared how the development world is moving beyond its roots, through standards-focus to pushing for an increasingly open and flexible web. Her open web core principles:
 

  • Transparency — share and support open standards
  • Connect-ability — Products, projects and work online needs to cut across all platforms, though developing standards first was important, she says. “Sometimes the limitations teach us how to be bigger than the limitations,” she says. “We hold great power as individuals in a way that we never have before.”
  • Open specifications — To applause, Holzschlag said she believes in a ‘patent-free web,’ and pushed on the nature of flexibility.
  • Freedom of Social Forms — “I am doing something that could also do good for something else,” she says, “and that’s a fundamental of the open web.” She says that means having a broader mindset of what good the work you do can have, like the handicap access ramp that can also be used for luggage or baby strollers
  • Tolerance of error — “Fundamentally we do not know what we’re doing, we’re making it up as we go along,” she says. “So treat mistakes like that, provided they are for the right reasons.”
  • Open discourse — All groups — Apple, Microsoft  and everyone in between — should come together to support open web.
  • Pay it forward — “Promote the social and ideological goodness of the web,” she said.

All told, in the hour-long keynote, often the concept of mobile’s inherent foundation in web principles, despite its new birth as new ground followed through.
Final sessions close today at 5 p.m. ETE was a major anchor event of the inaugural Philly Tech Week.
[Full Disclosure: Chariot Solutions is a former Technically Philly advertiser.]

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