2018

Trondheim Developer Conference 2018 – One day, three talks and many happy moments

I just got back from Trondheim, Norway where I once again spoke at the Trondheim Developer Conference. The last time I spoke there four years ago and I had a great time and I have to say nothing changed – it is still a conference well worth going to.

The amazing keynote stage

I was pretty impressed to see that the conference videos were available the day after the event, so I am happy to give you all the materials of my participation and some of the things that impressed me.

Setting up the AI talk

The keynote: Watch this space

In this keynote I am talking about protecting the open web as a publishing platform by improving the quality of our work. We’ve accumulated a lot of knowledge over the years, and yet it seems new developers always start from scratch. By making our best practices part of the start of your career and embedding them in tools, we can have a new generation of developers who can invent amazing things that don’t break.

Chris Heilmann – Watch this space! from TrondheimDC on Vimeo.

The slides of the keynote are available on notist

Seven things to make you a happier JavaScript developer

This talk wasn’t planned but as another speaker couldn’t make it, I filled in.

Chris Heilmann – Seven ways to be a happier JavaScript developer from TrondheimDC on Vimeo.

The slides and resources of this JS talk are on notist

Kode24 did a great write-up of this talk on their site called Stop using console.log.

AI for humans

Linda Liukas' machine learning robot

The last talk was about using AI to build more human interfaces.

Chris Heilmann – Artificial intelligence for humans… from TrondheimDC on Vimeo.

The slides of the AI talk are here

Happy Moments

Book stand at TDC with robot sex front and center

Great talks to watch

If you are looking for inspiration, there were a few talks that stood out for me:

Planning for next year

One great side note: the organisers asked me about more female Europe-based speakers to invite so I collected a few in a tweet.

This thread snowballed and is now a superb reference for presenting talent in Europe.

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Hinting at a better web at State of the Browser 2018

State of the browser is an small, annual conference in London. It originated as a format of 20 minute presentations by each browser maker followed by a panel allowing people to hear browser news straight from the horse’s mouth. It has been running for seven years (I think, hard to find out). This year was slightly different as they didn’t do a panel and there were several speakers that aren’t representatives of browser makers.

State of the browser ticks many of my happy boxes when it comes to conferences and I am highly impressed how the organisers manage to pull it off:

  • It has a great and diverse line-up of presenters
  • It is single track, with a sensible talk length
  • It is pragmatic in its approach and keeps costs low by not catering lunch but giving enough time to find some
  • It is ridiculously affordable at 30 GBP
  • And yet, they do a really good job to make you feel welcome and supported as a presenter

The conference has a low-key feel to it and that also keeps the presenters humble. There is a great diversity ticket program in place where attendees can sponsor others. The line-up was diverse and there is a focus on availability and accessibility. All the talks were streamed on YouTube and they have professional transcriptions in place that type along as the speakers present. The conference team is taking notes and publishes resources presenters covered live on the speakers’ pages on the conference site and on Twitter.

My talk this year was hinting at a better web in which I cover the changes the web went through over the years and how as developers we have a harder time keeping up with them. And how tooling and using the right resources in context of our work can help us with that.

I will write a longer article about the topic soon.

The full video stream of the conference is available here. My talk is on from 05:11:00 onwards to 05:38:00

Here is a quick recap of the talks from my POV:

  • Michelle Barker of Mud showed off the power of CSS grids and custom properties to build complex layouts on the web.
  • Dr. Ben Livshits of Brave showed how the advertising model of their browser can make the web more secure and easier for publishers
  • Sara Vieira gave a talk ranting about the overuse of DIVs in design and the general lack of quality in semantic markup and sensible, simple solutions on the web
  • Rowan Merewood of Google gave a talk about Apps, Web Apps and their overlap. His slides are available here .
  • Ada Rose Cannon of Samsung covered “WebXR and the immersive web” showing some interesting VR/AR examples running in Samsung Internet
  • Ruth John talked about using the Web Audio API for music experiments and visualization with a focus on the performance of those APIs.
  • Chris Mills of Mozilla showed the new features of the Firefox Developer Tools in Nightly talking in detail about their WYSIWYG nature. He covered the Grid Inspector, Animation Editor and a few other neat tools
  • Jeremy Keith of clearleft once again gave a highly philosophical talk about how the open web is an agreement
  • Charlie Owen of Nature Publishing ended with a ranty (in a positive sense) keynote about us over-complicating the web and thus making it far less accessible than it should be

I was happy to see some nice feedback on Twitter:

I’ve been a supporter of State of the Browser from the very beginning and I am happy to say that – if anything – it gets better every year. The dedicated team behind it are doing a bang up job.

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Slides and resources for my Reasons.to 2018 keynote “taking the vile out of privilege”

I just came back from Reasons.to conference where I gave the opening keynote about the perils of social media and how we should use the privileges we have to make them better. I will do a longer write-up about this later, but a lot of people asked for the slides and links to the resources I covered, so here you go.

Lovely tweets

Slides

Resources

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May Update – Web Development trends for 2018

Web Development Trends

In web development, the saying “the only constant is change” is very true. Web development is changing every second and 2018 is no exception. User expectations are growing and it is more important than ever to build digital experiences that are engaging, fun, and intuitive. Content needs to be accessible everywhere especially on mobile devices. In order to make that happen, new programming languages and frameworks are on the rise, extensions are becoming more compatible, and real time web apps are becoming more popular.

Web Development Trends for 2018

Web Development Trends You Can Expect in 2018

  • Vue JS is getting more popular
  • Functional programming benefits from JavaScript improvements
  • Extensions get more compatible
  • Real-time web apps are getting more popular
  • Progressive web apps grow in popularity
  • Mobile web development continues to expand
  • Material design is being used more and more

Rebecca Vogels’ article has more information on these web development trends.

More on Web Development Trends in 2018

1. In this first article by John Hughes covers these development trends:

  • An Increase in One-Page Website Designs
  • The Decline of the Flash Protocol
  • A Focus on Mobile-First Design Philosophy (Again)
  • The Increasing Importance of Push Notifications
  • The Prominence of Modular Page Creation
  • A Rise in the Popularity of Progressive Web Apps
  • The Perpetual Dominance of JavaScript

2. Anotni Zolciak’s article, focuses more on what kind of technology will matter on both front- and back-end:

  • Accelerated Mobile Pages
  • Progressive Web Applications (PWA)
  • Single Page Applications (SPA)
  • Chatbots and Online Support
  • Push Notifications
  • Static Websites
  • RAIL: User-Centric Performance
  • Motion UI
  • Functional Programming: What Is It?
  • Browser Extensions
  • Real-Time Web Apps
  • Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality

More Resources

  • Web Development Trends in 2018 article by Kumar Shantanu
  • Eight Web Development Trends Coming In 2018 article by Forbes
  • 8 Top Web Development Trends in 2018 article by MEREHEAD

Reading those articles now here is the conclusion that new frameworks, design trends, user expectations, and mobile developments are changing web development every day. Web development is responding to growing user expectations and design trends. Google’s material design, which is expected to gain even more popularity in 2018 as well. There is also the need to communicate and work together in real time from everywhere. We believe it is important for Web Professionals to know about these new trends and we encourage readers to review these articles..

This week we focused on those new trends emerging in 2018 in Web Professional’s world. We hope you find these resources and overviews useful. We always look forward to your comments and feedback (whether you are a member or not).

We encourage members (and non-members) check out our social media channels. If you aspire to be a web professional and don’t know where to start, we offer a number of beginning classes to our members via our School Of Web learning management system. As a member, your first class is free.

 

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This was FrontendNE 2018 – well, from my POV

Last week I swapped the 18 degress in Berlin with snowy rain in Newcastle, England. Why? To attend the 2018 edition of the FrontendNE conference and I am happy that I did.

The plane taking me back to Berlin

All in all this was a lovely, cozy and well-organised event. As an extra, it had an audience you don’t come across at a lot at other events. The reasons were threefold. A good location – the big hall of a brewery with proper stage audio equipment. A very affordable ticket price. And the loveliness of the organisers with a no-nonsense MC demeanour and not a hint of arrogance.

The crowd at the event

I like single-track events. It means the organisers have to work harder to ensure each slot is a winner for the audience. In this case, the line-up and topics were diverse and there was a lot to take away.

Val Head : Choose Your Animation Adventure

Val is a well-known authority on anything animation on the web. She has authored quite a few books and courses on the topic. And she teaches people to make things move without making your users queasy or drain the battery of their devices. In this talk she explained different techniques to animate on the web. Starting with CSS animations, past vanilla JS and up to animation libraries. This was a very pragmatic talk explaining the pros and cons of each technoloy with warts and all. Val is a very chipper and engaging speaker, and I am happy she thawed out the audience as the first to step up. Looking forward to the video.

Léonie Watson : You’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!

Leonie showing off screen readers

Leonie is an accessibility expert giving sensible and actionable advice on how to create accessible interfaces on the web without overshooting the mark. Yes, there is such a thing as adding too much to make your widgets accessible. Often adding a lot of ARIA also means it is your job to make it work with all kind of assistive technology. Something you can avoid by using the appropriate HTML elements and guiding the user. Hence Leonie’s talk, a nod to The Italian Job. Leonie is a superb presenter. It is great to see a visually impaired person wield stage technology and presentation software as if there is nothing much to it. I liked this talk as it fell neither into the “legal accessibility” nor the “everything works if you only use $thing” camps. Instead, Leonie showed that accessibility is like any other thing. It is a matter of looking into what you are doing and trying your best to make it work. Often this means doing less and the simple thing instead of trying to cater to needs you can’t even know about.

Jack Franklin : A red LEGO brick is always red: components on the web

Jack Franklin is a development lead at thread (the company partly responsible for my swanky style). He showed how they made it much easier to maintain and improve this product using a component approach. Web components are nothing new, of course. Making them work and perform in browsers natively is still trickly though. That’s why many component talks are about the framework du jour and opinionated. Jack did a great job not falling into this trap but showed the real benefits of components. For example hot-fixing a display issue with the certainty that you won’t affect the rest of the page. A great, no-nonsense talk about the subject, well worth a watch.

Niels Leenheer : Having fun with WebBluetooth

Oh how I rooted for this talk to work. Niels is a lovely person and oozes having fun playing with technology. That’s why it was grim to see this talk’s tech demos fail at the Halfstack conference in London earlier this year. Niels still managed to make it a good talk, but seeing him lug lots of hardware to an event just to see it all fail because of connectivity issues was grim. In essence, what Niels proves with this talk is that the specification of Bluetooth and Low-End Bluetooth is a terrible mess. And that with borderline self-flagellating reverse engineering you can do fun things with Web Bluetooth. It is a mess with a lack of standards and at times a total disregard for security. But Niels did a lovely job getting us excited anyways. Top tip though: do not fly back with him as airport security doesn’t like his suitcase full of Bluetooth marvels.

Sara Vieira : Your brain does not have a fix flag

Sara explaining that is hard to be normal

Sara’s talk was the big surprise. It wasn’t a tech talk, although she is highly capable of giving those, too. It was instead a no holes barred account of her life story dealing with and overcoming anxiety. A very important talk about a mental health issue that is tough to understand for people and hard to empathise with. I hope that the video of this will do the rounds and inspire people to care more and those affected to find the strength to find help.

Ian Feather : Frontend Resilience

I wished I had seen more of this talk, but I was bricking it as I was up next. Ian works for BuzzFeed and showed the many ways they ensure the site stays up even when everything is against you. Instead of having a “this is how to make your site performant and everything will be rosy” Ian talked shop. CDNs not working like you expect them, data feeds timing out, the whole horror show of network connectivity. I’m looking forward to seeing this.

Chris Heilmann : 7 things you can do to become a happier JavaScript developer

Hated it. Knew all the content. Boring. Also, what’s with that accent?

General conference feedback

Everything worked nicely and people were very well fed and watered. Actually there was a lot of yummy food left over, which was a shame. The timing worked out, the breaks were well-timed. The location was gorgeous with a lovely park outside full of dogs and swans and their interplay.

The after-party was at a location that had pool billiards, minigolf, bowling and many other things. The food was plenty, two vouchers for drinks ensured that people got merry and charming and not annoying. I only used the bowling lane as I had a lot of people come up to me and ask me questions. I heard from witnesses that parts of the sounds in the karaoke room violated the Geneva convention but that may have been hearsay (or what’s left of the hearing).

The self-demeaning jokes of the organisers on stage, “turns out using sketch for print wasn’t the best idea, just imagine those missing letters” showed that this event was a labour of love and not a way to make money. I like when an event outside the usual spaces for events works out that well. I have the same fondness for Beyond Tellerand, as Duesseldorf isn’t a hub of web news either. I am very happy to have contributed to this event in Newcastle and hope that more will come soon.

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That was my Beyond Tellerrand Munich 2018 – Keynote talk/slides and impressions

I just got back from Beyond Tellerrand in Munich and here’s a quick report what you missed if you didn’t go. You might not be interested in my impressions, so let’s get my work out of the way first.

I gave the opening keynote “Sacrificing the golden calf of coding” in which I explained my transition from a hobby coder to a professional developer and learning along the way that tooling and automation is not the enemy.

The video is already available on the Vimeo Channel:

Sacrificing the golden calf of “coding” – Christian Heilmann – btconfMUC2018 from beyond tellerrand on Vimeo.

I also added the slides to Slideshare:

As you may know, I am a huge fan of Beyond Tellerrand. The organizer is a very old friend of mine and he bends over backwards to make the event something special. He cherry-picks the speakers, treats them immensely well and on a deeply personal level. I feel very proud to be a part of this for many years. On a personal level, I am chuffed about its success as my partner and me met at this event. Thus, she also was a volunteer this time and helped making this event work smoothly for all the attendees.

Anke packing bags

I was worried that branching out from Duesseldorf to Berlin and Munich might be a tough step for the event and as Munich is not a hotspot for events I worried about participation numbers. But I shouldn’t have. The even was full up and people stayed for the whole duration. I was heartbroken to hear about a massive personal loss in the organiser’s life just before the event and I am even more so impressed how well it worked out.

Attendees painting on the Surface Studio

I shot quite a few photos at the event, none of which of course will match what the official photographers managed to get.

Live Video Editing at BTConf

Beyond Tellerrand is ridiculously fast in releasing the videos of the event as they are mixed live. I love this as with booth duties at the Microsoft stand and personal errands I couldn’t see all the talks but will do so now in the nearer future. Here are some picks that may tickle your fancy, too:

Simon Collison’s “The Internet of Natural Things” talk was a lovely reminder how the internet is not all about cold technical things but also a way to organise your life and record natural things around you. It ends with an intriguing new way how an OS could look to be more helpful for people in their natural environment.


The Internet of Natural Things – Simon Collison – btconfMUC2018 from beyond tellerrand on Vimeo.

Harry Robert’s “Why Fast Matters” is a talk full of great information on how to measure and improve the speed of your products and what the positive effects of that can be. Harry does not only show tools but also proves why considering improvements can make profound business sense. And he explains how well performing products are truly international and help you reach new markets without breaking the bank of users who live there. His slides with all the links are available on speakerdeck.


Why Fast Matters – Harry Roberts – btconfMUC2018 from beyond tellerrand on Vimeo.

Nadieh Bremer’s “Data Sketches: A Year of Exotic Data Visualisations” is a whirlwind explanation of her last year of creating bafflingly beautiful data visualisations. She doesn’t only show off her work and talks about the beauty of it but explains the story warts and all – from having to scrape and clean up the data to iteratively doing the math on paper to get the effects she wanted to have.


Data Sketches: A Year of Exotic Data Visualisations – Nadieh Bremer – btconfMUC2018 from beyond tellerrand on Vimeo.

Dina Amin’s “A tinker story” was a total surprise to me and clearly the winner of the event. It already inspired me to write two new talks. Dina is a lady from Egypt who likes to take mechanical things apart and build stop motion animations from them. That’s impressive enough, but the real beauty of the talk is about her story. How she dared to do something that crazy and creative instead of pursuing a normal career and how the internet and working with other people over it made that possible. If you want to see some really cool animations and hear a story of empowerment and joy, this is for you.


A Tinker Story – dina Amin – btconfMUC2018 from beyond tellerrand on Vimeo.

Make sure to keep checking the channel for more videos coming up. Another absolute highlight was Stefan Sagmeister’s closing keynote which was a gorgeous and sweary rant about how we should embrace beauty instead of following outdated Bauhaus ideas. And it ended with the whole audience singing along with him to a song about beauty.

Stefan Sagmeister's Karaoke about beauty

There is no question in my book that Beyond Tellerrand is a worth-while conference to support and attend. My company agreed to support all the events this year and I am looking forward to seeing the next one in May in Duesseldorf. You should, too.

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