An Event Apart

by Fred Showker

An Event Apart

Nick Sergeant and Pete Karl, designed and developed an application during the two-day conference, An Event Apart Boston, and took it live during the event. The application, A Feed Apart, was created using Django, django-syncr, and the Twitter and Flickr APIs in order to aggregate all attendee-posted information in one place.

Sergeant, a front-end web developer from Rochester, New York, works for Dumbwaiter Design as the sole developer, wearing many and all the hats at the company. He worked directly with Pete Karl II, an engineer, who works in social media marketing at Digital Influence Group in Boston. Both Karl and Sergeant work together at Lion Burger, a side project, whose motto is "Rare web apps, well done."

Eric Meyer "Word spread of a newly-built site called A Feed Apart while we were onsite in Boston," said Eric Meyer, co-founder of An Event Apart. "It turned out to be the work of two of our attendees. Although it came out of the blue, so to speak, it wasn't entirely a surprise; we already knew our attendees are creative, brilliant folks. Eager to learn more, we contacted them after the show to gather the details and share their work and experience creating A Feed Apart."

Nick Sergeant"The excitement the A Feed Apart app generated was the fuel that kept us going. In the beginning, we thought it was just a simple little app that a few folks would really enjoy and use," said Nick Sergeant. "By the end of the first conference day, so many folks were using it that we focused almost entirely on fixing the bugs, cleaning up the code, and building new features to make A Feed Apart (AFA) more useful for everyone. By the end of day two, we'd served 140,000 updates to AFA users."

"Once we had Tweets flowing into the A Feed Apart app, we saw opportunities for different ways people could interact with the site. Rather than just aggregating Tweets, we'd like to see links to live blogs, posts related to sessions, and maybe some instructions on how folks can contribute to the social media atmosphere of the conference - that is official photo pools, maybe a aggregator, that kind of thing," said Pete Karl. "We'd really love to give An Event Apart attendees the opportunity to contribute information directly to the site in the form of links, photos, or on-the-fly feedback. We're definitely going to rework it for An Event Apart Chicago!"

The creators of An Event Apart, Jeffrey Zeldman and Eric Meyer, believe that A Feed Apart is the kind of positive outcome that occurs when you create a community that recognizes and champions great web design and development. "The evolution of open tools, APIs, and web standards means that smart and creative people, the kind of people who attend An Event Apart, can and will create when inspiration strikes," says Eric Meyer. "We love that the Boston show provided the inspiration that launched Nick and Pete's project."

The entire interview with Sergeant and Karl detailing A Feed Apart is available online with live links to other applications Lion Burger has created and details on how the AFA application was built. A Feed Apart supports the conference series, An Event Apart, which delivers two days of the greatest minds and hottest talents in web design today. Speakers cover creating the right content and features for your audience, designing pages that are a pleasure to read and use, and beating browsers and web gadgets into submission. Both An Event Apart and its presenters are gung-ho about web design and development. Each speaker has made genuine contributions to the industry and each is a star.

An Event Apart takes place in Chicago, October 12-13, and finishes the year in San Francisco, December 7-8, 2009. These two-day events all take place in one room, one track, for a shared and concentrated learning experience multi-track events cannot deliver. To register for the conference, visit the website.

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From the makers of A List Apart, An Event Apart is an intensely educational two-day conference for passionate practitioners of standards-based web design. If you care about code as well as content, usability as well as design, An Event Apart is the conference you've been waiting for. Founded by web visionaries Eric Meyer and Jeffrey Zeldman, and dedicated to the proposition that the creators of great web experiences deserve a great learning experience, An Event Apart brings together twelve of the leading minds in web design for two days of non-stop inspiration and enlightenment. An Event Apart receives support from A List Apart, Happy Cog, GoodBarry, and Media Temple.

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