I went to Open Web Vancouver 2009 last week. It's a two day, low-key conference about open technologies for developers, testers and others at that level of the business. It's a very well-run, well-attended and interesting conference, and very inexpensive.

The most interesting thing I heard about was PhoneGap. It's JavaScript that runs on all the major smart phones, so you have fewer cross-platform issues. And it gives web applications access to some of the functionality in the phone not normally accessible to a web application. On the iPhone, this means the current location and vibration.

There was a good workshop with City of Vancouver staff about their recent direction to open up the city's data, as well as moving to open standards and open source software. The first priority is the data. They're hoping that people will take the City's data and mash it up in useful ways. There's a Google Group about this at http://groups.google.com/group/vancouver-data.

18 months ago there was a lot of stuff about Ruby on Rails at this conference. This time the Drupal community was big. There was a presentation from Momentum magazine about how a volunteer built their website in Drupal. I thought they'd found money to have a professional develop the site, it's so good.

And Mozilla Messenging (i.e. Mozilla Thunderbird) is based in Vancouver. Who knew?