Fronteers 2014 Jam Session

Indeed! For the fifth year in a row, we organised the Fronteers Jam Session! Started in 2010 by Anne van Kesteren and Koen Willems, and since inspired loads of likewise events at other conferences around the world. Of course we were back this year!

Like the last four times, we rented a bar (up and downstairs), a projector and a screen, and we paid the bill afterwards. We had the most informal setting you could think of. We asked our attendees to come up with a talk proposal to fill up the evening with interesting topics. Each presentation lasted for a maximum of 10 minutes.

We received a lot of good proposals and selected the following sessions and speakers. Thanks to all of you who made the 2014 Jam Session a success!

The 2014 Jams

Time Talk Speaker
20:30–20:33 Introduction by MC Koen, Anne-stand-in Krijn & TechAssist Thijs
20:33–20:48 And one day we will be your friend... Sanne Stevens
20:50–21:00 The Pareto Principle in Responsive Web Design Development Marc Hinse
21:02–21:12 Login failed. Retry? – Website authentication and UX Frederic Hemberger
21:14–21:24 Ceci n'est pas une pipe Wilfred Nas
21:26–21:36 A call to armss Maaike de Laat
21:36–21:46 Break
21:46–22:01 Solving espionage Brenno de Winter
22:03–22:13 Improving Smashing Magazine's Performance, A Case-Study Vitaly Friedman
22:15–22:25 Ten fucking annoying social media habits that in any sane
and just world would be instantly punishable by death
Bruce Lawson
22:27–22:37 Useless websites or internet art? The art of the webfolly Hay Kranen
22:37–22:47 Break
22:47–22:57 Everything You Always Wanted To Know About
Creating Books With CSS But Were Afraid To Ask
Jan van Hellemond
22:59–23:09 Functional Testing for Dummies Menno van Slooten
23:11–23:21 With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility Roy Tomeij
23:23–23:45 Break
23:45–23:55 RemoteDebug everything! Kenneth Auchenberg
23:57–00:07 Front-end Components Based Prototyping Robert Haritonov
00:09–00:19 Accessible graphs and charts as easy as pie Jules Ernst
00:21–00:31 Colors and Shapes: Ideas for work with JavaScript syntax Sergey Berezhnoy
00:33–00:43 New Developments in Web Accessibility Eric Eggert

Keynote: “And one day we will be your friend...” by Sanne Stevens

A short story about both cunning and clumsy digital attacks by shady regimes.

The internet has been heralded over and over again as a liberating low threshold medium for critical voices in repressive environments worldwide. The perfect free-space - outside the control of power-hungry totalitarian censorship regimes. But alas - where resistance flourishes repression steps up. Regimes worldwide have discovered the potential of the medium for repression. And it turns out that the same characteristics that makes it such an attractive place for freedom of expression - the anonymity, the low threshold, the reach - serve these regimes just as well to censor, identify, track down and attack dissidents. These digital attacks are getting both more common and though in some environments the methods are crude and clumsy - over all they are getting more sophisticated. A short story about the digital threats in repressive environments, and examples of the cunning ways present day regimes in found to use the internet to weave a digital web of repression.

Sanne Stevens works for the Digital Defenders Partnership, that was established to increase and better coordinate emergency support for the internet’s critical users, such as bloggers, cyber activists, journalists and human rights defenders, whenever and wherever they are under threat.

Solving espionage” by Brenno de Winter

Talk description wasn't available.

Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Creating Books With CSS But Were Afraid To Ask” by Jan van Hellemond

Creating books (and even e-books) with HTML and CSS. A talk about The various CSS Paged Media modules. Don't worry, it'll be exciting and fun.

The Pareto Principle in Responsive Web Design Development” by Marc Hinse

The Pareto Principle, originated and first observed in fields of economics, can also be adapted to the process of developing a responsive website. This talk shows how to apply the Principle and which preliminary thoughts are necessary for your project.

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility” by Roy Tomeij

CSS has its limitations, and we try to work around them with pre-processors like Sass. With such a powerful tool comes great responsibility, which is often neglected. This leads to needlessly complex code, bad practices and developer unhappiness. Let’s investigate how to use Sass in real world situations, and maybe even more importantly: how not to.
This talk proposal may surprise some, since I'm a Sass evangelist. In working with Sass for over 7 years I've seen a lot of good things happen, but also a lot of bad things that make others resistant of using a CSS pre-processor at all. Let's stop doing that :-)

Ten fucking annoying social media habits that in any sane and just world would be instantly punishable by death” by Bruce Lawson

I list the most egregious social media crimes.

Login failed. Retry? – Website authentication and UX” by Frederic Hemberger

Website authentication can become quite peculiar at times, both from a technical and user experience view. Addressing some of the bad practices, I present a few suggestions to improve the situation and make it easier for your users to login with your site.

Functional Testing for Dummies” by Menno van Slooten

Automating functional tests for websites is a pain in the ass. Tests often end up being brittle, hard to write and don't accurately simulate user behavior.
DummyJS is here to change that. It is intended for web developers that want to spend less time on writing, running and maintaining E2E tests. It's not meant as a replacement of tools like CasperJS and Selenium but as an alternative that does 80% of what they do in 20% of the time.

“Improving Smashing Magazine's Performance, A Case-Study” by Vitaly Friedman

This session will provide some insights into the front-end work we did at Smashing Magazine to improve performance of the site and a few dirty little tricks and strategies we used along the way.

“Ceci n'est pas une pipe” by Wilfred Nas

I will be talking about proper names for CSS selectors and why you should bother with them. I also will cover a bit of CSS3 selectors that can help you with working with these names and namespaces.

RemoteDebug everything!” by Kenneth Auchenberg

The future of web tooling is powered by remote debugging. RemoteDebug everything!

Front-end Components Based Prototyping” by Robert Haritonov

As modern web designers start to do more design and prototyping in the browser, it's time to connect two worlds of modular front-end development and web based UI tools for site creation. In combination with Living Style Guides, front-end development teams could have the ultimate tool bundle for rapid prototyping and new page creation based on their own code block library (or web components). I will show demos of our prototyping tool and give some insights of how it works.

New Developments in Web Accessibility” by Eric Eggert

In my new role as a W3C Web Accessibility Specialist (;-), I will give another update on the state of web accessibility, where we succeeded and where we failed, and where to get all the information you never asked for in terms of web accessibility. I’ll also present the new™ W3C Web Accessibility Tutorials which will be a great resource for Web Designers, Developers and other people involved in making awesome websites.

Colors and Shapes: Ideas for work with JavaScript syntax” by Sergey Berezhnoy

It's NOT about a code editor for JavaScript, where you're going to operate with 3D figures of different shape and color. Unfortunately... ;-) I would like to talk about things that we can do with the current state of JavaScript without any fundamental changes of mind. I will show some very uncommon ideas about syntax highlighting. Also I'll demonstrate several examples of automatic code reformatting which can be inspiring.

Accessible graphs and charts as easy as pie” by Jules Ernst

All websites of Dutch Governments must be accessible by the end of this year. In the recent years there has been much improvement in the quality of most websites. For some web components it is still difficult to get things accessible. Examples are maps, PDF and also graphs and charts. Jules will talk about the solution of accessible bar charts and graphs for the Dutch Court of Audit.

A call to arms” by Maaike de Laat

Whenever a new technology is developed, the first applications mimic existing stuff. The first cars looked liked carriages. It took a while to get to a car design that actually works in a functional sense. This is called the Horseless Carriage Syndrome. It can be observed everywhere; especially in web design.
The solution is in really getting to know the raw materials we're working with. It's time we get to the next step, and for this we - the designers - need you: the front-enders. So quit bitching about ignorant designers designing heavy and unusable websites, and start enlightening them. What opportunities are waiting for us to be used in finding the internet's true voice?

Useless websites or internet art? The art of the webfolly” by Hay Kranen

A folly is a costly ornamental building with no practical purpose, or a foolish act, idea, or practice. Webfollies are the 21st-century, internet-friendly version of this concept. Digital islands of art, experiments and silly ideas. Think short funny pointless games, single-serving websites, or confusing digital experiences. A webfolly can be virtually anything, the only thing that they have in common is that they serve no practical purpose and drift more towards art than entertainment. In this talk i will showcase some of the best webfollies on the web, talk about the creation process and launch a platform to gather these new forms of digital art.

Attendees, 208 in total!

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