During Buffalo WordCamp last weekend, co-organizer Ben Dunkle asked about what he said was one of the best conferences he ever attended — TOevolt. It prompted me to look up the photos I took and I discovered that it was 10 years ago today.
TOevolt was the Toronto version of an official evolt.org conference. Founded 16 years ago (1998), evolt.org was for years the de facto web site and mailing list for web developers to learn from one another. Without ever having any sponsors or corporate backers, we managed to successfully build a community where everyone seemed comfortable sharing. Looking at the names of active list members is like a who's-who of industry names today.
The same grassroots approach to everything evolt.org-related was behind TOevolt. Organized by Tara Cleveland, it was an impressive affair for having no financial support from a mother ship. It was also my first speaking gig and probably the only time I'll be on the same ticket at Dan Cederholm. The following is quoted from the announcement on the evolt.org site (a briefer announcement went to each mailing list):
We've got great speakers (Joe Clark, Jesse Hirsh, Dan Cederholm and Adrian Roselli) talking about everything from web accessibility and standards to the use of technology in politics.
I cannot find the slides from my talk on localization (I'm still looking), but I did find Joe Clark's, WCAG 2: All the sugar and twice the caffeine™
However, I do have photos from the event. Matthew Hoy's photos are missing, but his recap is still live. Javier Velasco's photos are still available, as are John Handelaar's photos. Dan Cederholm's event recap is also still online.
I really do miss the old days of evolt.org, even if it was slowly replaced with the advent of platforms like Stack Overflow, or the rise of blogging, or even near real-time support on the Twitters. Even today the evolt.org site still stands, but as a monument to those of us who cut our teeth in the early days of the web. Heck, without evolt.org, I never would have been able to get into the speaking and writing world, nominal though it is (even if I did recall yesterday my incorrect prediction for MNG as a popular file format) or met some truly awesome (and bizarre) people, let alone shared an elevator with many of them at SXSW in 2001.
Workers of the web (gone by), evolt!