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Daniel Doubrovkine

aka dB., @awscloud, former CTO @artsy, +@vestris, NYC

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EdgeConf 2013, an invitation-mostly conference, got perfectly illustrated in that moment where a Microsoft developer argued that the reason Windows XP and IE6 were still being used was that MSFT took care of the legacy, and @slightlylate, of chrome frame fame, interjected that it’s him, not Microsoft, that we must thank for that. Yes, this is a conference where the audience takes the microphone and the panel on stage answers questions and manages the debate. It’s also important to note that you’re trapped for the entire day inside Google’s Chelsea labyrinth, in an auditorium without windows, escorted outside for a smoke and handheld to go pee. For the record, I did manage most of those things without being accompanied - a bit of background in security, observation, social engineering and the fact that most security are occasional task rabbits, totally helps.

On the Microsoft topic, I strongly recommend reading David Bank’s Breaking Windows. Also, thanks Steve for killing Netdocs. How many more HTML rendering engines and XML parsers would we have today?

Back to EdgeConf. The most interesting talk for me was about about responsive images. The divide between theorists and practitioners was very clear: one group wanted a complex declarative way of specifying the many image sizes available and another wanted responsive JPEGs. Do I have an opinion? Do we deal with images at Artsy? Jokes aside I am in the camp where a progressive JPEG could be wonderful, as long as we can control the quality of the image, color profiles and other transformations. It’s also worth mentioning that in our domain it’s not OK to serve a crappy image of an artwork just because your phone is on a slow connection – we’d rather not serve the image at all. I realize that this is unlike most image-related problems. I also believe that we cannot do server-side processing on-the-fly: we deal with images that are tens of megabytes each, that need to be watermarked, etc. But it is an implementation detail of image processing services. Finally, a lot of discussions revolved around publishing where you can restrict source images to certain quality and type: we have JPEGs and TIFFs with color profiles done by professional photographers that convert into psychedelic thumbnails if you don’t pay attention. Also, why aren’t we talking about animated GIFs?!

The rest of the discussions were very good, too, and I can relate to many. Everything is on Youtube now, recommended.