Fronteers Conference 2016 takeaways

I’ve had a blast at Fronteers 2016! I’ve started publishing my notes/takeaways on this blog some time ago, and I won’t break tradition for Fronteers Conference 2016!

Fronteers Conference 2016

As always, Fronteers took place at the home of Fronteers Conference: the great Tuschinski theatre in Amsterdam. It was hosted by Phil Hawksworth, who did a great job at hosting the event in a funny way. This edition of Fronteers the ‘party schedule’ was a bit different: Jam Sessions were moved from wednesday to thursday, leaving a spot. Fortunately that spot was taken by something new: FrontCheers! With about 70 people we enjoyed a pub quiz setting with drinks and snacks, answering questions like “What’s the value for the best color contrast ratio?” and “Order these frameworks by file size”.

I hope theses notes are helpful to you, they sure are for me!

My takeaways/notes

  • “The goal of web design is not merely to dazzle, but to deliver information to the widest audience” – Stephen Champeon
  • CSS feature queries are surprisingly well supported!
  • If you like data visualization (and don’t we all?), you should really check out the stuff Nadieh Bremer showcases on http://www.visualcinnamon.com/portfolio
  • What’s a Voronoi diagram?
  • Virtual Reality is coming to the web! Check out https://aframe.io/, https://webvr.info/, and https://mozvr.com/
  • If you build stuff for virtual reality you’ll want 90 – 100 frames per second to offer the best experience.
  • Our profession is very broad and continues to grow. Two people who call themselves ‘Front-end developer’ can do completely different things on work days.
  • Do code reviews with your colleagues, create a culture of feedback, learning and sharing
  • The Physical Web was mentioned, and it’s great! I’ve found a video that explains it in about 4 minutes: Youtube: Introduction to the Physical Web
  • The qwerty keyboard hasn’t changed much since 1874. Nowadays every year new ways of input/sensors are added to our devices. We can no longer make assumptions based on input types since these change so rapidly.
  • “HTML5 was a response to Flash, progressive web apps are a response to native mobile apps” – Nolan Lawson
  • “The web platform has always had two solutions to every problem: the deprecated one you shouldn’t use and the one that’s not yet ready.” – Sylvain Galineau
  • “At minimum, don’t assume if one input is present that the person doesn’t have access to other types of input” – Jason Grigsby
  • You can do more with all types of input that are available now! A great example: on desktop you can move the model’s head with the mouse, on mobile you move the model’s head with the gyroscope that’s inside your phone: https://www.warbyparker.com/eyeglasses/men/bowen/eastern-bluebird-fade
  • There’s a thing called Brotli compression and it’s supposed to offer better compression than gzip does. Let’s check it out!
  • Use HTTPS, it’s the right thing to do! Here are the (very good) reasons, listed by Scott Helme (I’m in the process of moving all of my websites to https. I’m working on it for this site, pinky swear!)
  • Visit http://jankfree.org for performance boosting tips
  • Its’ World Wide Web, not Wealthy Western Web. Test on Opera mini with extreme compression enabled! It’s being used a lot in Asia and emerging markets, on a lot of devices that are sold there it comes pre-installed. Be prepared for the next billion internet users and give them a good experience too!

Conclusion

As always I liked the friendly atmosphere at Fronteers. I’ve met amazing new people, teamed up with old friends, had discussions about the web, and really enjoyed myself! Front-end development is an awesome, varied, and challenging profession. The landscape moves at an incredible pace and progress is being made in all sorts of fields, at the same time. Conferences like Fronteers are essential to keep up with all the new developments. I’ve seen a wide range of topics covered in the talks given at Fronteers 2016, I think everybody left inspired. A part from my notes above, my main take away from this edition of Fronteers is the following:

I’ve always found native apps to be less ideal for the direction the web was moving in. Why build an app when a website can offer the same, without the need for building for different walled gardens and therefore excluding people? Unfortunately the web didn’t have all the answers to some of the possibilities native apps could offer.
This Fronteers I was happy to see the web continuing to work on new open standards like Progressive Web Apps, API’s like Push and Web Speech, WebVR, and Web Bluetooth. These technologies really offer a great alternative to native apps and therefore the openness of the web. In the upcoming years a lot of new internet users will be connected, and I truly believe we can make it better for everyone!

Last but not least: I’d like to thank my employer Indivirtual, which continues to pay conference tickets for me 👌

I’ve got a request for the full size version of the panorama I made at Tuschinski, you can download it here: Tuschinski panorama during Fronteers 2016 (JPG, 2.9MB)

Looking for more photos? You can find them in the official Flickr album for Fronteers 2016