Fronteers 10, 10th Fronteers Conference 5-6 October 2017

Fronteers Conference 2017 Sessions

Don't Panic – Niels Leenheer

10 years is a long time. You can change the world in less. So what have we done over the last decade? And more importantly, what lessons have we learned?

Perfectly Portable v2.0 – Jennifer Geacone-Cruz

Today's development environment is heavily focussed on "mobile first", but the long-term transition to this framework has been a challenging one. From mobile technology's first forays into web connectivity, user-friendliness and market shaping, Japanese mobile culture has without a doubt had a lasting influence on how we make our development and design decisions.

This expanded and updated version of her original Perfectly Portable talk traces the advent of the mobile first paradigm from its roots in the Japanese mobile revolution, through to the power within the country's changing topography of market end-users, and some of the current issues that face mobile development and design in both Japan and the West. How did Japan's early mobile connectivity set the pace and priorities for not only burgeoning technology, but also the incipient business models that would grow to dominate our tech culture? Has the advent of smartphones really evened the playing field?

Using feedback and questions from Perfectly Portable v1.0, new depth and dimension has been added, along with a look at the profile and impact of similar mobile-first test markets that are as key to development now, as Japan was (and still is).

Through the lens of cultural psychology, technological history, and market analytics we'll take a closer look at how and why our mobile web is inextricably linked to Japan.

A Modern Front-end Workflow – Umar Hansa

The audience can expect to learn hidden DevTools secrets but also how to adopt a modern development and debugging workflow. This talk is important for any web developer who wants to understand and debug the internals of a webpage quickly and with ease.

Caches all the way down – Yoav Weiss

The fastest resource download is the one never made. Caching is a great way to ensure your content is positioned as close to your users as possible and that your repeat visitors get instant access to your content. Developers can impact the behavior of network and browser caches, improving content caching and ensuring it’s always as available as it can be, but caching semantics in HTTP can be confusing, which means that most content on the web today is not properly cached.

Yoav Weiss explores HTTP cache semantics, strategies, browser internal caches, and service workers and explains how serve your content fast and fresh.

Topics include:

  • HTTP caching semantics
  • The best caching strategies for your content and how to achieve them
  • The browser’s internal caches
  • Service workers and offline-first caching strategies
  • How to use service workers to extend your caching strategy

Debugging Accessibility – Alice Boxhall

How do people with disabilities use the web? Well, that depends on how accessible your site is.

Many people with disabilities use assistive technologies, which adapt an existing user interface into a modality which the user can access. A large chunk of the broad spectrum covered by the term "accessibility" concerns making sure you mark up your front-end code to work well for assistive technology users.

In this talk, I'll discuss why developers so often get this wrong, even with the best of intentions, and demonstrate some new features in Chrome which can help you understand and debug accessibility in your web pages.

1Up Your Writing with Plain Language – Ashley Bischoff

Writing reports and documentation is nothing new for many of us—we write them all the time. But even though we may do our best write clearly, those who receive our reports and documentation might not be as familiar with the subject matter as we are.

At the end of the day, no matter how technically correct a document may be, our words won't do much good if those who are reading them can't understand what we're trying to say. But writing isn't a black box—there are straightforward techniques that we can use to help ensure that our message gets across.

Honey, I Shrunk the Scripts! — exploring the JavaScript microworld – István "Flaki" Szmozsánszky

160KB ought to be enough for anybody, right? When Moore's law eventually pushed the limits of personal computing beyond the mega-, then gigabytes; as well as the mega- and gigahertz, it, almost sneakily, also achieved one more thing: miniaturization of said computers, beyond all expectations.

So this is where we stand, where a pocketful of silicone, a sub-thumb-sized piece of flash memory and a couple coin cell batteries bestow the computing power of a 10-year-old personal computer, the size of a microwave oven on their weilder. Now that's hardware — but what about the software?

Now, just as "programming" initially descended from the divine heights of room-sized mainframes, and their arcane "system administrators" to anyone whipping up a text editor and creating a webpage on a whim, microcontrollers themselves tended to be clunky and hard to tame, one having to use cryptic low-level languages to make them do one's bidding (such as C, or even… shudders Assembly!)
But that's changing. As Arduino, Raspberry Pi and the zounds of pocket-sized computing powerhouses that followed commoditized the market, the need for easier programmability grew tenfold each day, until one day...


…in 2015 I wrote an article about JavaScript's World Domination. Then, a bit more than two years ago, in this 6000-word beast JavaScript on hardware was almost like an afterthought, a footnote on the last page and a bit. But even then, the writing was already on the wall — it was only a matter of time until JavaScript's triumphant march reached the most minute of the silicone army… Indeed,two years later, there's already this thriving ecosystem of tiny JavaScript-dialects: they are powering this unseen diversity of compact computing systems (colloquially only referred as "IoT"), from industry automations to smartwatches, they are everywhere.

You may have never heard of JerryScript, duktape, or V7 — but I bet you do want, now. ;)

Impostor Syndrome and Individual Competence – Jessica Rose

This talk focuses on how Impostor Syndrome and the Dunning-Kruger effect work to undermine our estimation of our individual skills. Who do these cognitive biases affect? And how do they collectively shape the face of the software development industry? The impact of these biases on personal and professional relationships among individuals and groups will be examined, along with what can be done to diagnose and cope with them.

The Landscape of Front-End Testing – Alicia Sedlock

You may have heard developers say that testing your code is a best practice. But what kinds of testing are they talking about? From unit and acceptance testing, to code linting, visual regression testing and more, it may be difficult to sort out which kind of testing is right for your team or project. It may even be more difficult for teams to embrace testing as part of their development process. How do you know what to test, and how do you keep yourself and your team accountable for writing them?

This talk covers the breadth of testing strategies available to front-end developers now, their benefits, and considerations before integrating them into your applications. Tools and strategies to encourage and enforce a team-wide testing culture will also be discussed.

A Ghost Story of CSS – Stephen Hay

it's the 10th anniversary of the Fronteers Conference. To celebrate, we borrow Dickens' trio of ghosts. We'll look at the past, present, and future of CSS, and our relationship to it.

Possibilities of WebVR and its role in the future – Ruben van der Leun

Virtual Reality has seen an enormous resurgence with the introduction of the Oculus Rift. In-between its announcement and release, various companies have started to produce their own headsets, including the HTC Vive and the Google Cardboard. With all these new gadgets, there is an entirely new medium for developers to explore. And the browser has potential to play an important role in its future.

For this talk, Ruben will focus on the immense possibilities that VR can offer, as well as demonstrate the tools to build these experiences. During the session, viewers will be able to follow his progress live via a Google Cardboard.

WebAssembly 101 – Ash Kyd

With competition between browser vendors heating up, Javascript performance has improved greatly over the past decade, but now WebAssembly is set to change the game. Introducing a new binary format that brings near-native speeds, WebAssembly is a completely different way of thinking about web development. So what does this mean for Javascript, security, and the web platform as a whole?

In this talk, we'll go through some history before diving into how it all fits together and how you can start using it today.

Choose Your Animation Adventure – Val Head

Animation has come a long way on the modern web and now we have a long list of choices for how to make something move on screen: CSS, JavaScript, SVG, the Web Animation API. With so many options, how can you be sure which is the best choice for your project? With an eye to both the strategy and tactics of animation needs, you’ll learn what which web animation options are the best fit for common UI design tasks. Val will survey the full spectrum of animation options from CSS to React Motion and show which are best suited for things like state transitions, showing data, animating illustrations, or making animations responsive. You’ll also see how your choice of animation tools can impact performance, so you’ll leave knowing exactly which tools to choose for your animation needs.

Emoji, Web Components, and Art – Monica Dinculescu

Making art on the web is easy, if you got the right tools. HTML has styled divs. JavaScript has canvas. I have an emoji keyboard. But what if our tools were better, and making art was easier? What if there was a magical widget that transformed any word into emoji word art? Or an image into pixels, which you can then style with CSS? What if it was easy to build these tools, embed them on any sites, and give them out to people, so that they can make art? Spoilers: it is, and I’m going to tell you about it.

Let's save the internet: How to make browsers compatible with the web – Ola Gasidlo

During the browser wars, compatibility was a mess and so was the web. Dirty hacks, a huge pile of frustration and enormous amount of time to test through every browser were a part of our everyday life. Times changed. Browser wars are finally over (right?!). But the web is still broken and browsers still work in different ways. In this talk, we’ll explore the reason for web (in)compatibility, how to fix it and how you as wompats can help to save the world (wide web).

THE END – Jason Scott

A few thoughts on ends, beginnings, and forever.