Overarching themes at Web2Expo

At O’Reilly’s conference on emerging web technologies in San Francisco last week, several of the hit topics from last year’s conference have become full-blown tracks this time around, reflecting how quickly a niche topic like the Facebook Query Language or the mobile web become mainstream.

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Another key trend is the move away from traditional web-based interfaces to alternate ways of interacting with applications, from SMS or instant messenger to e-mail. Brady Forrest, co-chair of the event for O’Reilly Media, also listed personal analytics as a growing theme at the conference, citing applications like Socialistics that provide “lots of info porn on your network.”

While much of the event’s content revolves around the practice of running sites, there are a growing number of sessions on how to manage user communities, design interfaces, develop SEO-friendly applications, and include gameplay in sites. “We’ve done a really good job of making this a place where people can learn from those who are defining the future of the web,” said Forrest.

It’s a reflection that the job of web operations, which used to involve hardware, is now as much about managing analytics, communities, content, and legality.