Three Days in the Bay Area

July 11, 2012

I just returned from three busy days spent in the San Francisco Bay Area and thought I’d report back for those of you that follow what I do.

First, I can happily say that unlike [intlink id=”3212″ type=”post”]my trip to Istanbul[/intlink], I had no dramatic travel mishaps, getting there or back. Whohoo! In fact, on the flight from Washington, D.C. to San Francisco, I was able to get a fair bit of work done and do some reading. On the redeye back, I was even able to get some mediocre sleep, which, for me, is good. If you’re going to be frustrated when things go poorly (i.e., 49 hours to get to Istanbul), you ought to be appreciative when they go right.

I spent Wednesday and Thursday in Fremont, California at Ohlone College, doing training on JavaScript, jQuery, mobile Web design, and jQuery Mobile. Ohlone College puts on a week-long training event for regional community college instructors. There were about 90 various IT instructors there, from California, Nevada, Oregon, and even Hawaii. There were eight tracks as part of the event, ranging from Objective-C to cryptography to Cisco.

The course I was there for was geared towards designers and developers, helping instructors in those areas get familiar with key concepts and tools. The premise of that course is that employers are now expecting potential employees to have skills in both development and design, and thus the instructors need to be able to provide that range of information. For the first two days, people from Adobe discussed their software solutions (I wasn’t there for that part). During my two days, I walked through the aforementioned topics.

In my mind, JavaScript is a tool that very much bridges the development and design sides of the Web. When I started out 13 years ago, front-end design was graphics and HTML; back-end design was programming (likely PHP) and database applications. JavaScript, thanks to Ajax, now commonly runs on the client-side and interacts with the server-side, meaning we have to be comfortable with the whole picture. The class I presented to included about 20 people, with a handful of them design instructors, another handful development instructors, and the rest somewhere in the middle. It was a wonderful class of inquisitive, responsive people. One instructor has even been using my PHP books for years (thanks, Cindy!).

I think the class got the most out of the discussions of JavaScript theory, more so than the actual JavaScript code. The jQuery section went well, too, because, as most of us know by now, jQuery is pretty awesome. On Thursday afternoon, I covered the key approaches to mobile Web design:

  • Responsive Web Design
  • Mobile-First Responsive Web Design
  • Creating separate desktop and mobile Web sites

Then I introduced and demonstrated jQuery Mobile. Which, like jQuery, is pretty awesome.

The first three-fourths of the presentation (on JavaScript and jQuery) were from ancillary materials I created for my publisher to support the “Modern JavaScript: Develop and Design” book. These materials are owned by the publisher, who makes them available to educators, and so I can’t provide them publicly here. But I posted [intlink id=”3230″ type=”post”]my mobile Web design and jQuery Mobile presentation[/intlink] two days ago.

On Wednesday there was a social event for speakers and attendees, which was great, but I didn’t get to talk to enough people. Had a wonderful time with a couple of the participants, though.

On Thursday night, after I was done with my part of the training, I went out with a friend of mine (and co-author of three of my books) and his girlfriend. Great to see Marc again and meet his delightful girlfriend.

Friday was a bonus day I booked in order to see my publisher and some friends. In a surprising turn of events, I ran over to the headquarters of Stripe, a great payment system. It turns out that the CEO of Stripe read my first PHP book many years ago. I found this out by accident, as I was just using Stripe for a client. I had a very nice meeting with the people behind Stripe, and plan on writing about Stripe a lot more in the future. Good people, good product.

After meeting at Stripe, I headed across the bay to have lunch with a couple of people at my publisher, Peachpit Press. My brilliant editor, and the marketing guru, helped give me some tips to be a better, and better selling, writer. No new books are planned right now, but I’m sure we’ll come up with something for next year.

Then it was off to Cupertino, to meet a friend of mine that works at Apple. The Apple headquarters has its own store, with some items you can’t find elsewhere. Geeky, but good, souvenirs!

After a day of running all over the bay, I hit the airport for an 11pm flight home. Arrived home the next morning, safe and sound, although a little tired.

My thanks to everyone that made the trip so great. I have no more trips planned on the horizon, which is good, because I still need to finish this “PHP Advanced and Object-Oriented Programming: Visual QuickPro Guide” book!