Plenty of people have been writing about the contents of individual panels and presentations from South by SouthWest. I thought it might be interesting to give a broader overview and take a look at some recurring themes.
Microformats were definitely buzzworthy. Partly that’s down to the great delivery by Eric and Tantek but I also got the feeling that people liked the rootsiness of it. There isn’t a spec and there isn’t a committee. It makes for a welcome respite from the Atom/RSS debacle. Microformats have a much more calming, zen-like process of evolution.
Jason F-bomb Fried got a lot of people excited when he talked about working in small teams. I think a lot of that excitement had been building since the Building of Basecamp workshop hit the road. It’s certainly exciting to see what can be achieved with a quick, almost haphazard methodology.
That said, I’m not sure the same process can be applied to every kind of project. Basecamp, for instance, is a centralised application that is effectively a closed box. If you were writing an application and an API, you’d almost certainly want to do plenty of planning right from the start. Starting over from scratch won’t be an option once the API is out there being used.
Then there’s CSS. There’s still a lot of interest in CSS but at this stage, it’s less about evangelising the benefits and more about fine-tuning and best practices. This is a good thing. It’s heartening to see that table-based design has become very, very uncool.