You Gotta Love Frontend Conf - Impressions
In this post I’ll try to give my thoughts on the conference.
In case you don’t know what it is, the YGLF Conf was a 2 day conference organized by FEDs, for FEDs with a ton of FED speakers. It took place in Israel, on June 8th & 9th, 2015.
Well, when I first looked at the conference site, and read the schedule and speakers, I had mixed emotions.
Some topics sounded really interesting while others sounded unrelated. Some speakers I knew are going to be amazing, others I didn’t know and was curious about.
My biggest concern was the fact that apart from the opening and closing Keynotes on both days that were going to last for an hour, most talks were going to be 30 minutes long. I figured that talks that short can’t be effective in making a point or diving into a subject deep enough to have real value.
The venue was amazing. Held in a hall usually used for theatre shows, the conference attendees enjoyed great accoustics and great seats. It was comfortable and enjoyable. The mingeling area in the lobby was spacious and to top it off, the organizers also added an external compound where you could enjoy the sun and have some drinks.
Some talks were amazing, while some… well… were not (in my humble opinion).
Let’s review the schedule and I’ll provide my personal insights.
Douglas Crockford gave a talk about his plans at an effort to ‘upgrade the web’ so to speak. He talked about the effort to secure connections, making passwords redundant with a single (addmitedy long) key to replace them all. It all sounded very serious and profound, but to me there was no ‘wow’ moment. It sounded to me like something that was too easy to steal and once it’s stolen, you’d have to start your life from scratch, there’s no recover password or anything. During the Q&A session, this was raised and Douglas approved that this indeed would be the case.
Next, Gil Tayar gave a biblical talk about how in the old days FEDs had to beg the BEDs for features and enhancements and now FEDs can hold their own. It was a nice talk, though a bit tiresome towards the end.
After that, Phil Nash gave a great talk about push notifications with live coding over the twitter API. I enjoyed that one.
Phil was followed by Shay Chen, who is a security specialist and gave an interesting talk about how to avoid common security pitfalls and how to write more secure code in the frontend to avoid malicious code injection.
After lunch break, Efim Dimenstein & Itai Chejanovsky gave a very interesting talk in which they presented the architecture they implemented in LivePerson with many mini apps that are being orchestrated by the parent app, followed by Serge Krul with a really annoying talk about how to manage a FED team. Maybe because it was right after a good talk, maybe because it was boring to me, but it was a little too yoga, spiritual, love and be loved kinda talk…
Next up Yelena Jetpyspayeva & Vladimir Grinenko talked about BEM, followed by Martin Kleppe with a very interesting talk about the obscure trend of writing code with as little characters as possible. While not very productive for day to day life, as Martin warned himself never to use this style in real life production code, it was very interesting to see the tricks he uses to bring JS black magic to life.
The second day started with an amazing talk by Lea Verou. She tackled how to create a pie chart from pure CSS, and her css wizardry was nothing short of amazing. She got so many applauses during the talk, every time solving the problem with a more elegant solution. That was a great way to start the day.
It’s tough to be a following act to Lea, but Benjamin Gruenbaum really stood up to the plate with a really interesting talk about io.js (recently merged with node.js) and how he came about improving the promises machanism in node.js, from an idea through community leaders incorporating his idea in their packages all the way to it being implemented and incorporated in node. Great stuff!
There was a panel with some discussion going on, I don’t like those much and quickly lost interest. This was followed by Matthieu Mayran from Google who presented their solution of “Backend as a service” for FEDs just looking to implelent frontend and have the backend already setup simply and in no time.
After lunch break, Alexander Kotliarskyi from Facebook presented React Native. I didn’t go nuts about this talk. I don’t like React, but more than that it was really low level React and personally I would have prefered it to be a high level architecture high talk.
Next up was Alex Wolkov who gave a nice talk about how you can improve the company culture by coding chat bots or a dashboard. I was a nice concept that definately boosts moral and “fun” factor of the work place. A fun talk.
For the next talk, Or Hiltch talked about binary data in the browser. This talk was so low level it was physically painfull. He talked about LSB and MSB, int conversions, how values are stored in ArrayBuffers on the bit level etc. This could actually be very interesting, but I got the feeling that he wanted to get so much into the talk, that he ended up missing the point entirely. Saying I didn’t relate to this talk would be an understatement.
After a well deserved coffee break, Igal Steklov gave a really important talk about enhancing your digital presence in the web as a FED and how it can help you get your name out there and having top notch companies looking to hire you instead of you sending CVs and waiting for something to catch. He talked about enriching your GitHub repository, publishing blog posts, answering questions on StackOverflow, etc.
The last keynote was hosted by Eran Zinman, with another great talk about how to boost performance. From simple perception tricks of progressive page load instead of a loader spinner, to coding standards and best practices that actually boost performance.
All in all, it was a great conference in a great venue. Sure, some talks were better than others but that is to be expected. The organizers really went all out to have a great conference and for the most part they did just that, albeit the stupid name.
For the most part I was right - 30 minutes are not enough to delve into a subject and come out on the other side with real value, though for some, 30 minutes were too much for me.