New Singularity site: status update

This past week has seen yet another week of heavy development on the new Singularity web conference site.

A lot of what we're doing this year is building infrastructure. Singularity is a new breed of conference and we are doing a lot of work behind the scenes to ensure that we have the solid foundations we need not just to run it this year but to build upon for future years. My friends and fellow team members will probably tire of hearing the worlds "focus", "form follows function", and "solid foundations" over the course of the next few months if they haven't already. Our focus is on building a stable, functional platform to host global conferences on. There won't be any frivolous bells and whistles and whizz-bang eye-candy. Instead, we are building a minimalist, accessible social site and a stable and functional conference application. As I keep telling myself and everyone around me: focus, focus, focus!

Last week also saw the release of yet another Singularity-contributed project: the European VAT Number Validation API. This new API joins Open Country Codes and the GAE SWF Project on the list of Singularity-contributed projects to the community as part of Singularity's focus on openness.

It would be an understatement to say that I'm working feverishly to get the site ready for release and ticket sales started for Singularity. Originally planned for July 1st, I delayed things for a week to give us some more time to test and refine the site and, thanks to a last-minute change in how we're handling VAT, I'm going to push things further by another week as I don't feel comfortable releasing the site tomorrow. The new date for ticket sales is July 14th. Which, coincidentally, is my wonderful girlfriend's birthday, so it will be cause for a double celebration at Singularity HQ.

VAT, or Value Added Tax for those of you blissful enough to not have to deal with it, is a hugely complex issue that plagues companies in the UK and the EU, especially those selling goods and services online. Different rules exists depending on the location of your customers and where your services are consumed. Almost no one has a solid understanding of the rules. Accountants even tiptoe around the subject. My accountant, who is a partner in her firm, for example, was hesitant to offer me advice, preferring to refer me to their dedicated VAT specialist instead.

Hopefully, the additional week will also mean that we will the content from the existing site completely transferred to the new site and our speakers have already begun to add their session descriptions so there will be new content there too when the site launches.

Following the launch, I will be adding features to the site constantly as it evolves to become a community site that supports and compliments the conference.

We also have really cool list of confirmed yet unannounced speakers and I look forward to making it public following the launch of the new site.

Finally, we are working with Ayo Binitie and Influxis on the Flex, Flash, and Flash Media Interactive Server-based conference application itself and I'll be updating my design diary on InsideRIA very soon and asking Ayo to contribute an article there to detail our approach and give you some insight into the architecture of the conference application.

So hang in there for a little longer. The new site and ticket sales are coming.

_scuttles off to code_