Introducing a2div web development user group

I’ve been interested in doing cool stuff with web technology for a long time. I still think that web development is harder than it should be, but new tools, processes and ideas come along all the time to make it easier and more fun.

Many people probably view me as a “Python guy”. Sure, I’ve done a good deal of work with Python over the past few years. But, there are many, many good ideas on the server side that come from places other than Python.

And, the browser as a platform is an entirely different thing than it was a few years ago, particularly when you restrict yourself to “modern browsers”, as we do on Bespin. The performance difference between today’s browsers and those from a couple years back is huge, and that new performance opens the door for all kinds of new applications and toolkits to help us build those apps.

I want to learn firsthand from people using modern tools to make development faster and more fun. I haven’t seen a group here in Ann Arbor that is devoted to the broad range of web development topics, so I decided to get one going. It turns out that Majd Taby sent a message to the a2geeks mailing list in April about starting a web dev group, but I somehow missed that. Majd and I exchanged some email this week and worked out the details of the new group.

The new group is called a2 <div> (or just a2div) because it has the same topic focus as cu <div> and I liked the idea of joining forces in some sense with a similarly minded group. cu <div> has a bit of a student focus that a2 <div> does not (it’s been a long time since I was a student). Thanks to Cameron from cu <div> for giving us the go-ahead to start an Ann Arbor offshoot. Thanks also to Dug Song for passing along the link to cu <div> and connecting me with Majd.

a2 <div> will be a loosely organized group as MichiPUG is… bringing the right people together for good discussion is far more important than creating a formal organization. Meetings are free. Our meeting format will likely be something along the lines of 1 hour presentation/demo followed by lightning talks and discussion.

An important aspect of a2 <div> is that’s non-denominational. Are you doing client and server in Java (for example, with GWT)? Neat. How about in Python (with Pyjamas)? Groovy. Doing the server in Lift and the client side with Cappuccino? How about PHP+Dojo? SproutCore+WebObjects? Using ASP.NET MVC with jQuery? Do you use Cucumber to test your apps? All are welcome, all are interesting.

Our meetings will be at the SRT Solutions office in downtown Ann Arbor. This is a great space to meet at (projector, whiteboards, flexible table arrangement), and the location is nice because it’s easy to walk out for drinks and food afterwards. Thanks to Dianne Marsh for letting us use their office!

Meetings will be on the 3rd Wednesday 4th Thursday of each month at 7pm. That means our first meeting will be on September 16th 24th (less than two weeks away). You can subscribe to our calendar in XML or ical formats.

The first meeting topic is not fully decided yet. Please join the a2div googlegroup and let us know what you might want to hear about or talk about!

If you’re near Ann Arbor on September 16th, join us at SRT Solutions for engaging discussion on all webdev-related topics! See you there!

Update: Date tentatively changed to the 4th Thursday based on conflicts on the 3rd Wednesday.

One thought on “Introducing a2div web development user group”

  1. Another great thing about todays Browers apart from greater performance is, that IE is now closer to Firefox.
    Unlike the past where stuff you did on Firefox eventually didn’t work on IE without much extra work.

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