We also had a table where we gave demos of the Pedigree Viewer and the Life Browser (not yet linked to the labs site but coming very soon). I thought the responses to the demos and the FamilySearch Labs concept were interesting. People were very fond of the applications but were amazed (and pleased) at the level of openness on the labs site. One gentleman that stopped to talk commented how for years the Church would go dark and then just release something. He felt the labs concept a strong and refreshing break from this approach.
Several developers asked about the possibility of getting their hands on the code for the Pedigree Viewer. We're definitely open to that. We just need to work out the logistics.
There were a couple of really strong highlights for me this year. If you missed the workshop, you'll want to check these out when the presentations become available.
- Gordon Clarke's presentation at lunch about the FamilySearch Affiliates program, APIs, and building a community of developers. If you're a developer the content of this presentation will be refreshing news.
- The Millenium CD. A group of researchers at BYU have invented a CD that will store for a thousand years without the data turning to mush. They believe that within a few years these disks will be the same cost as regular CDs/DVDs. We may finally have a digital counterpart to paper for preservation.
- John Finlay, Neumont U., and phpGEDView (PGV). This was a great presentation about their efforts to add a collaborative research assistant to PGV. Very good work. I really, really like their approach. Their UI leaves much to be desired but their approach is very solid.