Full Frontal

Interwebs

Earlier this month was Full Frontal, a javascript web conference in Brighton. It’s been going for a few years but this is the first I’d attended. Though I’m not as hardcore into JS as many front end devs, I actually found it much more accessible than the jQuery UK conf earlier this year. Basically it was excellent, with good coffee, fab freebies, a nice vibe and above all excellent talks.

ES6 UNCENSORED by Angus Croll

I’m not so much a programmer so I didn’t get the fine points of this, but thanks to clear examples it was easy to see that Angus was excited about the upcoming ES6 JS upgrade enabling terser syntax for a few common tasks, and I do love me some dry code. Honestly though my main take home was that he gave a great talk around a stutter, which made my public speaking anxieties seem awkwardly trivial.

JAVASCRIPT IN THE REAL WORLD by Andrew Nesbitt

Robots and rabbits and live demos galore! Andrew builds and programs robots to interact with his super cute rabbit. It didn’t think much of the laser pen robot but was pretty keen on the automated food pellet dispenser. Things got real when he fired up the quad copter controlled with an xbox controller, got it send back a video feed of the audience, and then used facial recognition technology to replace everyone’s faces with troll face. Awesome. Oh, right, yeah and it was all done through Node, which is cool. Soon we’ll be running drones from our browsers!

MOBILE IS NOT A THING; IT IS EVERYTHING. by Joe McCann

Seems a conference isn’t complete these days without a talk on the importance of mobile, and this one had all the standard impressive charts and stats about the growth of mobile. Joe took it a bit further however, talking about the extended mobile ecosystem from tablets to wearable devices wearables without a screen, and even cars. It tickled me to think of a “mobile device” being so large but apparently cars with built in connectivity is already fairly standard and becoming more so.

PUSHING THE LIMITS OF MOBILE PERFORMANCE by Andrew Grieve

This talk was right on the money as I’ve been pretty reluctant to use JS on mobile sites due to performance issues, but apparently mobiles being slow to parse JS isn’t an issue anymore! It was also nice to hear that we shouldn’t waste time modularising as I’ve never gotten on with Require. Lots of easily digestible takehomes, great stuff.

OUR WEB DEVELOPMENT WORKFLOW IS COMPLETELY BROKEN by Kenneth Auchenberg

It was funny after a full day workshop on the exciting and fast-moving word of chrome dev tools to hear one of the speakers bemoaning the state of in browser inspectors, though superficially they’ve not really changed since IE dev tools back in the mid 2000s. Still, even relying on Chrome can leave you in hot water when it comes to developing for other browsers and asking devs to actually develop in chrome can be controversial, a dev’s choice of IDE a uses is super partisan, though Sublime Text seems to have been in the ascendant for a while, many will never leave Eclipse, Visual Studio, *cough* Dreamweaver. Anyways his idea was simple, and the solution he’s working on is it connect up Chrome’s api to the IDE and various browsers. He live demoed manipulating a FireFox DOM from chrome devtools to many gasps of delight from the audience, followed but a too-quick plug of his project RemoteDebug.

STUNNING VISUALS WITH MATHS AND…NO JAVASCRIPT? by Ana Tudor

As a CSS nerd I’ve marvelled at loads of these migical JS-free animations on Codepen and such places, but any time I looked under the hood I ran a mile; waffly code and endless lines of keyframes scares me. It seems I need to take another look though because the special sauce here (apart from some basic trig) is getting around that scary verbosity with SASS, and almost programmatic shortcutting. Definitely something I should tinker with.

BUILDING WITH WEB COMPONENTS USING X-TAGS

Angelina Fabbro
Some mozillians making a framework of mobile app widgets called Brick (not X-Tags). I think I was suffering from a combination of some cake-pop related sugar coma (I might have had 3) and CSS animation mind-splosion because most of this drifted over the top of my head.

TIME by Jeremy Keith

Jeremy Keith’s been one of my favourite speakers as long as I’ve been going to these, and it was a real treat to see him give a lovely talk about the relative ephemeral nature of web work, cut with an old video about powers of ten. The main points were that the old adage about stuff on the web being there forever is just patently false, that we should be thinking about the longevity of our work, and at the moment the closest thing we have is html, mostly because it gracious error handling and human readability. which makes me worry a little about my blog: it totally falls apart if the back end fails. Maybe I should be looking into transferring to Jekyll?

So yeah! One of my favourites this year (the others being Ampersand and Responsive Day Out). Recommended.