WDANZ Auckland conference

I spoke at the WDANZ conference in Auckland last week, and thought I might share a few thoughts with the rest of the world.

It was an interesting event, and once again, I enjoyed the social side of things as much as I enjoyed listening to the speakers.

The highlights for me were...

Joe Stewart, Head of DIA, ANTI-SPAM Unit

Joe could hold his own as a stand-up comic if he ever gets bored with policing the spammers of New Zealand. His presentation was interesting, relevant, and the take-home lesson was that they are just enforcing common sense into New Zealand business.
I expressed some concern at the new anti-spam law in a recent blog post, but talking to Joe cleared up many of my questions.

His advice on the "tell a friend" feature of websites is: "If the user has to click a button to send the email, then it's probably ok".

Rowan Simpson of Xero, formerly TradeMe

Rowan seems to approach websites from a fairly strategic level, and his approach seems to be "how can we make this better / easier / faster". It's a good way to think, and TradeMe has certainly showed some nice usability advances over the years - nothing fancy, just subtle improvements. Rowan has some interesting reading on his blog too, well worth checking out.

John Martin from IBM

Who would have thought someone from IBM would take the time to talk to a little group of web developers? John put together a good presentation on cross site scripting (XSS) which looked like new material to many in the room. He illustrated the point that web security is no longer about getting the technical guys to put in firewalls, but it's now at the application level. Dodgy code = hacked server.
He also mentioned that they do 3rd party security audits of code, which is good to keep in mind. While I have known about XSS for a good while now, there are likely other vulnerabilities out there that I need to be more aware of.

Overall

Overall, another good event, and I'll be happy to attend the next one. Numbers were light, which is a shame, as the speakers were interesting, well rounded and respected members of the industry. The networking was good, and having a Telecom wireless hotspot at the venue was a nice bonus too.

The next conference I'll be attending will be Webstock in Wellington next year, with a number of big names from all round the world.
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Tags: wdanz