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I've been online since 1971 and I like to smoothe the way for everyone else. Among other things I co-founded Sympatico, the world's first easy-to-use Internet service (and Canada's largest).

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Sunday, May 21, 2006

mesh conference

Last Monday and Tuesday I attended the excellent mesh conference here in Toronto, Canada’s first Web 2.0 conference. The organizers did an amazing job of putting it together in only 9 weeks!

During the panel session “Is Web 2.0 Changing the Software Industry?”, panelist Stowe Boyd made a comment that I often hear these days:  that software is now much easier to develop than it used to be, thanks to things like Ruby on Rails. Well, I think that’s completely wrong. Fortunately other panelist Matt Mullenweg disagreed with Stowe and pushed back on this, pointing out that ASP is equivalent to Ruby on Rails — and has been around for a while. He said that what’s changed is other things, like broadband penetration and a greater willingness to try new things. The other panelist, Chris Messina, also added something in support.

At the end of the session I thanked Matt for having spoken up about this common misconception, and mentioned that I’d been doing what would now be called agile software development back in the 1970s. He was interested, and not surprised. Two other attendees, Jonathan Belisle and Jean-Philippe Cyr of Diesel Marketing in Montréal, were quite taken by my comments and came up to me afterwards, and Jonathan asked me to blog about this. So I am. The following post gives my thoughts.

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