We've returned tired and (reasonably) happy from Le Web, where we were manning a joint BT and Osmosoft stall for the two days. Given that we were manning a stall and presenting a product, rather than just attending sessions, it was quite a different experience to previous conferences we've attended - and lots of fun in very different ways. So here's a round up of what went down.
The product we were presenting - RippleRap - was being worked on right up until 2am on the morning of the conference! So you can imagine how pleased and relieved we were that the product worked as advertised throughout the event. People were sharing their conference notes throughout the whole two days without any problems - mostly BT people, but we can see from the server logs that plenty of other people were registering with the service and receiving everyone else's notes.
Part of the reason we developed RippleRap was to help us tell the BT open source story. It's all about behaving appropriately in the open source arena, recognising the value of the community and respecting the etiquette and social nuances that exist there. And about giving back more than we take. And I think we got this message across pretty well. Certainly people we talked to at the stall (maybe 150 people over the two days) gave us an enthusiastic reaction. Robert Scoble, arguably the most famous blogger of all, interviewed me (picture) and hopefully he'll publish this video soon. And we're watching the blogosphere now for word about Osmosoft and RippleRap.
There was a lot of interest around "Enterprise 2.0" at Le Web, particularly after a heated debate on the web last week. I'm confident that open source is the way to go. Most enterprises are facing similar problems (when it comes to e.g. collaboration, knowledge sharing, and so on). Why can't they club together to solve these problems using code based on open standards? We all stand to benefit from our collective knowledge and expertise, which vastly exceeds that of any start-up. Being able to keep control of the implementation is critical. TiddlyWiki is a great example of how it could work - a base product with solid out-of-the-box functionality, but also, critically, it's highly configurable with over 400 plugins. And it's easy to build your own plugins, and share these with the community who can help improve them for the benefit of everyone - which is exactly what we intend to do with RippleRap.
One of the most interesting aspects of the conference for me was the breadth of interest in what we were talking about. Some people were interested in RippleRap / TiddlyWiki, or our open source story, or the SDK, or the social changes at BT - but rarely more than one of these. I'm pleased to say that several people expressed an interest in using RippleRap code, some in academic circles, others for business, and others for conferences.
The highlights? Apart from the nerve-racking-but-exciting Robert Scoble experience, JP's talk on stage (picture) about how enterprises need to adapt was invigorating, and he was abley supported by Phil Hawksworth, one of our own Osmosoftonians. You can of course download RippleRap for the session notes! :-)
You can see several photos on my Flickr set.
I'd like to give props to the SDK guys who attended the session, Nigel Pepper and Robbie Clutton. There were a few technical problems during the conference, and they helped keep the wheels turning. Also a high five for Johan Euphrosine, a member of the French TiddlyWiki community, who was on hand to help explain RippleRap and TiddlyWiki to French visitors to the stall.
So, what now? As I've mentioned on the group forums, we're now going to try and package up RippleRap so other developers can more easily implement it, and the open source community can help to improve it. We're open to all and any ideas. And we're already planning to use it at the Blogtalk conference in Cork on 3-4 March 2008. No rest for the wicked!