Sharing Presentations with SlideShare

slideshare SlideShare, a new site for viewing, posting, and commenting on presentations (found via Ajaxian) gives me a warm fuzzy feeling inside! I’ve seen many presentations posted on blogs (heck, I do it) that point at either Microsoft .PPTs or PDFs. And good lord, how I hate pdf slides.

Its the YouTube for presentations, providing an easy way to browse and post presentations in a community-centric interface. In fact, the SlideShare interface is extremely similar to YouTube in its page structure and its sharable content features (embedding and linking). I dare-say its a copycat. But…a copy-cat that makes me happy. :)

I’ll be posting some example slides as soon as I can upload them!…Things seem a bit buggy at SlideShare right now. I’m hoping that they solve that stuff soon…a lot of broken pages/script timeouts. Chances are they weren’t prepared for the load that Ajaxian has given them.

UPDATE: Here’s the slides I posted a little while back from my database guest lecture.

The Ajax Experience: Plan of Attack

The Ajax Experience is next Monday (although I arrive Sunday afternoon) through Wednesday and I’ve prepared my plan of attack:


10:00am-11:30am: Leveraging Ajax for Enterprise Application Development – Conrad Damon
12:30pm-1:15pm: Keynote: Towards a Service-Oriented Applications Stack – Matt Quinn
1:30pm-3:00pm: Simplify Ajax development with Apache XAP – Bob Buffone
3:30pm-5:00pm: Ruining the User Experience – Aaron Gustafson
5:15pm-6:45pm: Scriptaculous – Justin Gehtland
8:00pm-9:30pm: Expert Panel Discussion


8:30am-10:00am: Intro to Dojo – Alex Russell
10:30am-12:00pm: Yahoo! Experiences with Accessibility, DHTML, and Ajax in Rich (Dunno what Rich is…probably the start of “Rich Internet Applications” [RIA], probably) – Nate Koechley
1:00pm-1:45pm: Keynote: Ajax from AOL’s Perspective – William Morris
2:00pm-3:30pm: RAD 2.0: Working with symfony (PHP) – Dustin Whittle
4:00pm-5:30pm: Markup & CSS for Developers: Empowering the Application Developer with Front End Magic – Molly Holzschlag
7:00pm-7:45pm: Keynote: The Once & Future Web – Chris Wilson
9:00pm-10:30pm: Expert Panel Discussion


9:30am-10:30am: Designing for Ajax – Bill Scott
11:00am-12:30pm: Dojo Cookbook – Dustin Machi

My schedule is subject to change based on buzz or sudden interest in other presentations. I look forward to seeing what they have to offer and will be blogging along the way!

The Ajax Experience

Well, it seems my application for one of the 5 scholarships to The Ajax Experience has gotten through! w00t!

The Ajax Experience is:

Ajaxian and NoFluffJustStuff Java Symposiums (NFJS) are pleased to announce The Ajax Experience 2006 Fall Edition – Boston. We had a great time at the spring event in San Francisco, so we decided to do another show on the east coast. This international event will take place October 23 – 25, 2006 at the brand new Westin Boston Waterfront in Boston, Massachusetts.

The Ajax Experience 2006: Boston show will feature sixty (60) technically focused ninety (90) minute sessions across three (3) full days spanning six (6) parallel tracks with over (40) forty speakers.

We encourage you to register as soon as possible because seating is limited and we anticipate a sold out show. Here is your opportunity to attend one event where you will find authors and industry notables in one place for the duration of The Ajax Experience Fall 2006 show. This is a unique event you should want to be a part of.

When I first heard about the conference last year, I was extremely excited…but had my hopes stomped when I brought the cost to my manager. Ajax was “too new” and the University could not justify the expense of the trip. I waited a year and once again had the eyebrow raised when I brought it up. Not necessarily my manager’s fault…but convincing the University System that they should do something is like convincing a rock it should get up and walk around.

When I saw the Scholarship Program for The Ajax Experience, I got to typing and sent in my application with crossed fingers and high hopes. My typing paid off. Here’s what I wrote:

My name is Matthew Batchelder, I run BorkWeb (, am a co-founder of MasterWish (, and am a web application developer at Plymouth State University (PSU) in Plymouth, NH. I’m close by yet so far away.

A few PSU co-workers and I have been steering web development at the university to include Ajax techniques to enhance the speed and usability of our applications on campus. Users have been pleased with the results and want more! But…PSU – being a state-run university – lacks funds to send all of their employees to conferences, especially conferences where the higher-ups [don’t know] what valuable information can be attained there – brains, networking, tips, etc. When mentioning this conference both last year and this year, I’ve been met with a handfull of negative responses: “No, we don’t have the resources” to “Ajax…isn’t that a cleaning product?.”

MasterWish – a one and a half year old brainchild of a couple of other developers and myself – has been my playground after work hours. I began my experimentation with Ajax using that site, as PSU tended to slap my hand when looking into Ajax at work. Through that experimentation, I began to understand the workings of Ajax and how it would work into the PHP/Templating environment I was so comfortable with. Once I had dug down, I promptly posted my “Ajax; Templating; and the Separation of Layout and Logic” article that Ajaxian blogged about, along with the follow-up article.

I am building. I am reading. I am experimenting. I am writing. There’s always more to learn and I’d love to see and hear what the Ajax leaders are doing to help guide my train of thought. Re-creating the wheel sucks and conferences are a great way to have a lot of information slammed into your skull and an even better way to network. Sadly, the price of The Ajax Experience admission is too great great a cost for me to fund myself, and PSU [doesn’t always] know what’s best for them and refuse to pay. I look to you for help.

Thank you for your consideration. If you need anything more from me, please let me know!

I look forward to picking brains, networking, sucking in as much information as I can get, and blogging it all :D So: I owe a HUGE thanks to the guys over at Ajaxian; and a big congrats to the other 4 that received a scholarship. I’ll see you all there!

Oh….and I look forward to the swag:

  • All Access Pass – The Ajax Experience
  • Branded iPOD Shuffle – The Ajax Experience
  • Two free books – Ajax Design Patterns & Java Script: The
    Definitive Guide, 5E
  • Free Access to Slides/Audio of The Ajax Experience 2006: San
    Francisco ($250 Value!!)
  • Custom Laptop Bags – The Ajax Experience
  • The Ajax Experience Shirt
  • The Ajax Experience Binder with handouts from sessions attended
  • CD with all presentations
  • Slides/audio/select videos of The Ajax Experience: Boston
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Breaks
  • The Ajax Experience Party
  • Great Giveaways including iPOD Nanos, iPOD Videos and XBOX 360s

Prototype Cheat Sheets

prototype.gifThe guys over at Ajaxian alerted me to this sweet resource. Jonathan Snook has created a graphical (and quite attractive) Prototype cheat sheet.

As I have stated in the past, I develop web applications for Plymouth State using the Scriptaculous which is built on top of Prototype Javascript Framework. I often find myself referring back to the Scriptaculous Wiki to simply help me remember a function name of a Prototype object. Well, the cheat sheet that Jonathan has created will now live on my wall for those quick references! If you are an avid user of Prototype, check these suckers out.

Thomas Fuchs of Ajaxian Podcast

Ajaxian has posted a podcast of their interview with Thomas Fuchs, the creator of Ajaxian summarizes the content that is discussed:

  • How was born out of a real project
  • Why Rails was chosen for Fluxiom
  • Where Rails shines with Ajax
  • The new RJS templates feature that makes Ajax even easier
  • The difference between Prototype and
  • How is available in Rails 1.0
  • Future plans for
  • When you should use the cool effects, and when you should not
  • About drag and drop and web usability
  • Challenges that Thomas has faced with his Ajax projects
  • Why you would choose an Ajax application versus using other technologies such as Flash
  • How hard it is to build a very rich Ajax application
  • How to handle browser differences
  • Experiences with DOM manipulation and innerHTML
  • How naming collisions are not as much of an issue in recent builds of Prototype

Here’s two tidbits of information that I’ll share with you that really stood out for me:

  • Fuchs summed up the reason for using Ajax over Flash nicely. Flash isn’t for developers…(and I hold that Flash isn’t very maintainable)
  • XML wrappers for objects passed from the server via Ajax is MUCH slower than simply passing JSON. It seems Zimbra has actially completely re-architected their product to utilize JSON over XML wrappers solely based on parsing performance! Regarding the use of XML wrappers, Fuchs says: “…its dog slow. Don’t do it.”

Its good to see someone whose work I respect have the same opinions as myself. Makes me feel like I’m doing something right.

Here’s the podcast.