Fronteers, Fronteers Conference 3-4 October 2019 Amsterdam

Speakers · Fronteers Conference 2019

We have a spectacular line-up of 19 speakers and 1 MC for you. These are the people who'll be stimulating your mind with thought-provoking talks. We introduce them to you here, as they are announced. So stay tuned for more!

Your host: Phil Hawksworth

Phil Hawksworth


Phil is Principal Developer Advocate at Netlify, the fastest growing automation and hosting platform for modern websites.

With a passion for browser technologies, and the empowering properties of the Web, he loves seeking out ingenuity and simplicity, especially in places where over-engineering is common.

Phil’s 20 year career in web development includes time as a Software Engineer at Verisign, an Open Source Evangelist at British Telecom, and Technology Director at R/GA where he worked with clients around the world such as Nike, Google, Beats By Dre and Samsung to bring engaging and effective experiences to the widest audience possible.

Raymond Camden

Raymond Camden


I build enterprise cat demos using JavaScript. I'm into Vue, Node, serverless, and cats. I've got seven kids, too many cats, a dog, and when I can catch a break I play video games and dance poorly to music that's too loud.

It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times

When I started my web development career, browsers were updated infrequently. If you were lucky, you got a beta to play with. Now we have "evergreen" browsers that update at a near constant rate. While this is broadly a good thing, it presents a problem for developers wanting to keep track of what's been added, both from a web standards perspective (oh, look, the new <cat> tag!) and from a general usage perspective (i.e. Chrome switching from flagging https sites to flagging non-https sites). In this talk I'll discuss how each of the major browsers present this information as well as provide other resources for keeping track of changes as well.

  • Browsers
  • Standards

Jeremy Keith

Jeremy Keith


Jeremy Keith lives in Brighton, England where he makes websites with the splendid design agency Clearleft. You may know him from such books as DOM Scripting, Bulletproof Ajax, HTML5 For Web Designers, Resilient Web Design, and most recently, Going Offline.

Remy Sharp

Remy Sharp


Remy is the founder and curator of ffconf, the UK based JavaScript conference. He also ran ‘jQuery for Designers’ website, co-authored Introducing HTML5 and runs a video course on the command line.

How We Built the World Wide Web in Five Days

The World Wide Web turned 30 years old this year. To mark the occasion, a motley group of web nerds gathered at CERN, the birthplace of the web, to build a time machine. The first ever web browser was, confusingly, called WorldWideWeb. What if we could recreate the experience of using it ...but within a modern browser! Join (Je)Remy on a journey through time and space and code as they excavate the foundations of Tim Berners-Lee's gloriously ambitious and hacky hypertext system that went on to conquer the world.

  • WWW
  • CERN

Rachel Andrew

Rachel Andrew


I am the W3C representative for Fronteers and a member of the CSS Working Group. Co-founder of Perch CMS and Notist. Editor in Chief of Smashing Magazine. I have been a web developer for over 20 years, and writing about the web for almost as long. I like to escape from computers by running, doing triathlon, and flying small airplanes.

Who Designed This? Where Web Platform features come from, and how to get involved

Rachel Andrew has been the Fronteers representative to the W3C for just over 9 months. In that time she has attended W3C meetings, and also spent time with Fronteers members, reading specifications together and taking that feedback to the CSS Working Group. In this talk Rachel will share some of this work, but also explain how the web platform is developed. Find out how everyone can get involved in creating web platform features, and the unique opportunities that being part of Fronteers, with their W3C membership, brings.

  • W3C
  • Fronteers

Anjana Vakil

Anjana Vakil


Anjana suffers from a debilitating case of curiosity, which led her from philosophy to English teaching to computational linguistics to software development. As a Software Engineer and Engineering Learning & Development Lead at Mapbox, she can usually be found in San Francisco; that is, when she's not speaking at events around the world, trying to share the joy of coding and advocate for a more diverse & accessible tech industry. Ask her about the Recurse Center, Outreachy, and Mozilla!

The universe in a single arrow: A live dive into the lambda calculus

You know that a tiny anonymous function, like a JS arrow function, can be useful when you’re feeling too lazy to think up a good name. But did you know that this humble little arrow can summon one of the most powerful & elegant abstractions in the history of computer science?

The lambda calculus lets us represent our programs - all their logic and data - with nothing but pure, anonymous functions. Booleans, numbers, operators, control flow, data structures… an arrow can do it all! In this session we'll live-code our way to a deeper understanding & admiration of the computational power of the lambda, an abstraction fundamental to functional programming.

  • JavaScript
  • Lambda
  • Calculus

Lea Verou

Lea Verou


Lea is currently busy researching how to make web programming easier at MIT CSAIL. She is the author of bestselling advanced CSS book CSS Secrets and has worked as a Developer Advocate at W3C. She has a long-standing passion for open web standards, and is one of the few Invited Experts in the CSS Working Group. Lea has also started several popular open source projects and web applications, such as Mavo, Prism, and -prefix-free and maintains a technical blog at She holds a MSc in Computer Science from MIT. Despite her academic pursuits in Computer Science, Lea is one of the few misfits who love code and design equally.

The web design cheat code: Using SVG to bridge CSS’ gaps

We often think of SVG as primarily useful for graphics, icons, and interactive visualizations. What if I told you that there is a number of ways to take advantage of SVG for styling, in order to accomplish things that CSS still only dreams of? This talk is chock-full of practical examples, taught in Lea’s trademark live coding style, as well as the caveats of every technique presented.

Alex Russell

Alex Russell


Alex Russell is a Senior Staff Software Engineer on Chrome team at Google where he designs new features for the Web Platform as Tech Lead for Project Fugu. He also leads Chrome's Standards work and has served as a member of ECMA TC39 and the W3C's Technical Architecture Group.

The Mobile Web: MIA

Responsive Design didn't work, at least not the way we hoped it would. How do we know? Nearly a decade into the new reality of mobile eating everything, the web is a shrinking, bit-player in the future of computing. We made our viewports smaller, but forgot to reduce everything else.

What would our content be like if we shrunk everything to meet the constraints of mobile? And would it be enough to turn the tide? This talk explores those questions.

  • Performance

Stephen Cook

Stephen Cook


Stephen Cook is a front-end engineer at Thread, where he focuses on improving the onboarding experience for new customers.

After starting his software career at Amazon, Stephen authored the Speed Measure Plugin for webpack, and started writing blog posts on anything from git tricks, to speeding up webpack builds. In his spare time he plays Mario Kart, and occassionally falls off the deep end, and tries to rebuild the game in CSS.

100% CSS Mario Kart

Do you enjoy CSS? Do you enjoy retro games? Have you ever wanted to combine the 2, in such a way that the CSS Working Group will cry and ask you to stop? Then this is the talk for you!

This talk will go over some cool CSS features and techniques, and pushes them to their limits. You will learn how to use some of these techniques in the real world (and hopefully when not to use them, such as in a mad attempt to clone a beloved retro game with a wildly unsuitable toolset).

  • CSS
  • Retro games

Eva Lettner

Eva Lettner


Eva works as a frontend web developer and is the Co-founder of Women&&Code, an organisation that helps teach women programming skills. Her ultimate goal is for people to acknowledge that hotpink is the best colour in the world. In her downtime, she likes to knit, sew and create.

Paint the web - Drawing with CSS

Creating art is as old as humanity. Over time, the techniques have changed. This presentation will introduce CSS as a way to create images and animations composed of pure code. You will learn to see the code differently, to create more concise markups in the future, and you will learn the basics of drawing with CSS to help you create your CSS art.

  • CSS
  • Drawing
  • Animation

Paul Lewis

Paul Lewis


Paul works as a Software Engineer on the Chrome team, where he spends most of his days wrangling JavaScript, CSS, and HTML. He loves beautiful UX and performant experiences. And coffee.

Custom Web Shadow Elements, or whatever...

Depending on who you ask, Web Components are either the best thing or the most irrelevant update to the web platform in the past few years. Why is that? Let's take a look at why there's such a range of opinions, and the cases where they're actually a good fit.

  • Web Components

Ashi Krishnan

Ashi Krishnan


Ashi is a visual poet who has been telling stories with code and words since she was a child—perhaps before. She has worked at seven-person startups, fought fires in the trenches of SRE at Google and spent the last three years teaching at coding bootcamps. She now works as a senior software engineer at GitHub on the Atom project, where she hopes to break down the walls between us and our tools. She is learning to regard every moment, and the creatures within them, with love.

Learning From Machines

Why can't you tickle yourself? How do you know where you are? Why do DeepDream images look so trippy? Why does trauma come in waves, washing over us again and again? Computational neuroscience provides insight into these questions and more. In visually lush presentation, we'll go on a journey through biological and artificial minds, exploring how models of cognition informed by machine learning and computation can help us illuminate and reconfigure our own processes of being.

  • Machine Learning

Christophe Porteneuve

Christophe Porteneuve


Christophe has been doing professional JS since, well… JS. A Prototype.js core team members in yesteryears, he's enjoyed the numerous recent upgrades in JavaScript itself.

Christophe runs the high-end Paris-based tech training company Delicious Insights and the NodeSchool Paris chapter. When he's not training, teaching, mentoring, writing articles or contributing to open-source, he reads news from around the world, learns new stuff, and spends as much time as possible with his family.

He lives near Paris with his wife Élodie and their two sons.

Fun & Games with ES Proxies

Proxies let us do metaprogramming in JavaScript, which is a really cool thing. There are well-established, useful patterns for it to be sure, and we’ll see a few of these. But they can also be used for less obvious results, or plain fun with mischevious tricks and quirky behavior!

  • JavaScript
  • Proxies

Charlie Owen

Charlie Owen


Charlie is a front-end dev manager from the UK, currently living in Berlin. She has attained notoriety for being extremely foul mouthed on social media, and for making fun of the excesses and privilege of the tech industry. She advocates for a simpler approach to the web, and about how utterly vital empathy and kindness are when building sites for our fellow humans.

All Constraints are Beautiful

We so often consider constraints to be a negative. We have become convinced that they stop us doing what we want and that, therefore, they prevent us from being our most creative. But constraints are actually the most beautiful thing in the world. Constraints are what give us direction. Constraints are what give us focus. Constraints are what give us empathy. In this talk Charlie will tell us how constraints are something that should be sought out and embraced, especially in the infinite chaos of the web.

  • Creativity

Mandy Michael

Mandy Michael


Mandy’s passion is CSS, HTML and JS, she has a particular interest in web typography, accessibility and modern layouts and hopes to inspire that passion in others. With the aim to create a community of web developers who can share, mentor, learn and grow together she is a co-organiser and Director of Mixin Conf, the founder and co-organiser of Perth’s front-end developer meetup Fenders and currently works as a Development Manager at Seven West Media in Western Australia.

The future of Web Typography with Variable Fonts

The web is entering a new era of design opportunities with the introduction of CSS Grid, Photoshop like effects such as filters and blend modes and importantly the increasing support for Variable Fonts.

Variable fonts can offer practical and creative opportunities for web design. We can combine them with pre-existing technologies to improve our font performance, design, accessibility and usability of our websites. We can also begin to explore new and exciting creative opportunities for story telling, design and expression in ways standard fonts could never provide us.

This is just the beginning of our journey to discover what we can do with variable fonts.

  • CSS
  • Fonts

Diana Mounter

Diana Mounter


Diana is a designer who specializes in design systems. At GitHub she manages the design infrastructure team, and leads the direction of their open-source design system—Primer. Previously, Diana helped build Etsy's design system and seller tools, cofounded a conference and network for Australian government web developers, and lead several social change and environmental design projects.

Diana founded the NYC chapter of the Design Systems Coalition which has successfully held professional meetups and social gatherings for the past 3 years. Diana writes and speaks about design, code, and working with people. She coauthored the Design Systems Handbook, and speaks internationally at conferences including CSS Conf, Design Systems London, and Clarity.

Component API design and the developer experience

Whether you're a designer or engineer, everyone interacts with the API of your design system so it's important to make this a great experience. We all have difficult decisions to make when designing systems—what should be a variation vs a new components, which props should we make available, how should we share theme values such as color and typography, what should we name things, and how do we make this all easy and efficient to use?

At GitHub we're building design systems to support web applications like—serving 31 million developers, to one-off marketing sites for conferences, and everything in between. I'll talk about how we build an API that enables consistency, yet offers flexibility when we need it; and how to to deliver a great developer experience.

  • Design Systems

Chen Hui Jing

Chen Hui Jing


Chen Hui Jing is a self-taught designer and developer living in Singapore, with an inordinate love for CSS, as evidenced by her blog, that is mostly about CSS, and her tweets, which are largely about typography and the web. She used to play basketball full-time and launched her web career during downtime between training sessions. Hui Jing is currently a Developer Advocate for Nexmo, focusing on growing developer engagement around the APAC region.

A deep dive into images on the web

Images are often seen as the low-hanging fruit for performance optimization on the web, so there’s plenty of guidance around what image formats to use for which scenarios. But have you wondered why that is? Or how image data itself is interpreted by browsers? This talk goes down a rabbit hole in an attempt to uncover what goes on under the hood when it comes to rendering images on the web. And a deeper understanding of not only the how, but the why, can help you make more informed decisions about the images in your projects.

  • Images
  • Rendering

Jack Franklin

Jack Franklin


Jack is a Frontend Engineer at Thread in London working primarily with React. In his free time, he’s usually writing or recording videos for his blog, JavaScript Playground. Jack is also the author of “Beginning jQuery” (Apress, 2012) and a regular speaker on React, Elm, JavaScript, build tools and frameworks.

Components on the Web

This talk will cover approaches to building components on the web, regardless of framework! We'll look at best practices, common gotchas, and how to start moving your large legacy site into one that is component driven.

  • Components

Jad Joubran

Jad Joubran


Jad is a Google Developer Expert, Microsoft Most Valuable Professional and Freelance Web Consultant based in Amsterdam. Lately, Jad's focus lies on spreading knowledge about Progressive Web Apps and mentoring developers through online courses, blog articles and workshops for startups & enterprises. He also created an interactive learning course for JavaScript on

Secrets of native-like PWAs

You can make any website a Progressive Web App, but how can you give it that native look and feel?

During this talk, we'll cover the pillars for native-like PWAs, as well as multiple UX & performance strategies such as the app update process, code splitting, advanced app shells, push notifications & more.

These techniques will make your PWA indistinguishable from a native app, while taking advantage of the benefits of the web.

  • PWA

Peter Müller

Peter Müller


Peter has a deep passion for the web and all its potentials. In his work, he is a constant advocate for the end user and seeks holistic solutions that can play on all tangents from accessibility and user experience to performance and tooling automation. During his 15-year frontend career, he fell in love with open source and build tool automation. Two questions continue to drive him to seek out new frontiers: "Can it be simpler?" and "Can it be automated?"

High Performance Web Fonts

Web fonts and web performance are diametrical opposites. Web fonts slow down your time to meaningful paint due to inefficient loading behavior. Web fonts are also empowering your designers to improve legibility and keep brand consistency on your web pages. Choose one: Performance or design?

I'm here to tell you how you can choose both, and how tools can automate the process for you.

  • Fonts
  • Performance