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Post ReMix thoughts

So how was ReMix? well a bit like last year not earth shattering, but what can you expect. We have PDC in a month so there is going to be no major announcements, also this is a rerun event from the US MIX conference, again reducing the chances of anything new.

So if you are a developer and been to TechEd or just to local community events (and as Andy Westgarth said we are very lucky at the quality and number of community events and speakers in the UK) you will have heard nothing new about Silverlight etal. Though it is far to say that this may not be true for designers, and I felt the development track was pitched at this level.

It is with design where I think ReMix was different this year; there were noticeably more designers present and I thought the design track a lot stronger. As I had seen most of the developer track elsewhere I spent a good while in designer sessions, and as usual when going beyond your normal bounds it makes you think.

What has been bubbling in my mind is how does the design process fit into agile processes? Bill Buxton in his sessions (and new book) spoke about how it was important for the designer to provide a variety of concepts for the client/project and not invest all their effort in a single design, thus removing choice form the 'client' . It got me think should the same apply to the developers/architect? Is this even possible? At the grossest sense it would mean developers would propose (prototype?) versions of a product in PHP, Java, Flash ASP.NET, Silverlight etc. Now we all know this does not happen, early in a project a hopefully informed choice will made as to the technology to use (often this choice is made in the choice of who gets the business – a PHP house or a Microsoft house), and it is rare a change will be made in base technology once the choice is made. Even though a project is agile there are limits as to how major a change of direction could be,

So is this a difference between design and development, in web design we can ask the client how it should look, you still need to provide quality design with sane user interactions, but the client can have some choice e.g. 'I like  a more cartoon style', 'I want just like that but in red'. You are not going to get the same interaction from the bulk of clients for development and architecture, it is rare you hear 'Just like that but can you use SOAP'. Development constrains tend to be just that, things that must be done to meet a standard, not something open to choice at the non specialist level.

So ReMix was an interesting event, and good to see many friend from the community. And if it opened my mind to something new it must have been worth attending.