The speaker interviews – Cameron Adams

Cameron Adams – aka the Main in Blue – is the third of our speakers to be interviewed. He’s one of those renaissance people that the web seems to throw up, equally at home coding, designing and writing. And he vies with Russ Weakley for the least amount of sleep needed!

Webstock: How has the perception of javascript changed over the time you’ve been working in the web? Is it more accepted as a “real” language, rather than something for dilettantes?

Cameron: The perception of JavaScript has changed immensely in the past ten years. From its humble beginnings as something that you use for doing rollovers and cheesy animations, JavaScript has now become the future of computer applications.

People have realised that the advantages of the Internet — its interconnectedness, its mobility, its universality — trump the desktop. And JavaScript is really the only viable language to use inside a browser. Which isn’t such a bad thing, because people are also starting to realise that the actual JavaScript language is pretty neat — something that’s nice to tackle real problems in, not just animations.

I think these two things together are pushing forward the progress of JavaScript faster than any other language. Browsers are getting increasingly sophisticated with the engines they use for executing JavaScript (giving users and programmers more power), and the tools for programming have become highly developed. Libraries have come a long, long way since DHTML Lab’s flyout menus, and some people are even using JavaScript on the server-side!

Webstock: In 5 years time, do you think we’ll still be having “web conferences”? If so, what will we be talking about?

Cameron: I think we’ll definitely be having web conferences, but hopefully we won’t still be talking about CSS. Well … maybe CSS3, but I doubt it’ll be out by then.

From a technological perspective, I can see a fairly linear progression in our learning and discussion — HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript 2, WCAG2, Ajax accessibility. Those standards move prettttttttty slowly, so in five years I can see a lot more hands-on-this-is-how-it-works-in-browsers talks. Rather than the current gee-this-is-how-I-wish-they-would-work talks.

But what I find more exciting is what people will do with those technologies in the next five years, and that’s a lot harder to predict. Internet for your toilet? Democracy via Twitter? How Facebook collapsed? The most interesting things are the ones you don’t see coming, so my guess is as good as a dog’s.

Webstock: What can people look forward to in your javascript workshop?

Cameron: I’ve tried to make my workshops as fun and interesting as possible, so I’ve re-created exercises which I personally have found challenging and interesting during my exploration of JavaScript.

These exercises serve as a backdrop for learning about JavaScript best practices, the newest technologies (like Canvas and WAI-ARIA), and basically getting your feet wet in JavaScript development.

I like to use a lot of practical exercises so that attendees get to try out what they learn while I’m there, rather than when they get back to work and then have no idea what they’re doing. I find that people learn a lot more when they’re directly involved with coding. I’m there mainly to answer their questions and help them over their individual hurdles.

Webstock: Which speaker are you most excited about seeing at Webstock 09?

Cameron: That’s probably your hardest question; it’s like a smorgasboard of delectable Web speakers. I’d probably have to say that my favourite speaker would be some weird hybrid of Ze Frank and Jane McGonigal. That way you get laughs *and* learn about the latest in games design. (Which has always been way ahead of the general design curve, in my opinion).

Webstock: Thanks Cameron! We’re looking forward to having you here in February.