Trendy and hipster Front Trends 2014

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Front trends 2014 - Everyone

Front Trends 2014 is over and it's time for a recap of the event. It was the first front-end conference for me as I usually go to backend related events. This is a little blog entry on what I tought was good and bad about this conference.

I usually go to more backend-related conferences, but this year I wanted to see the other end of the fence. So, I went to a more hipstery conference called Front-trends 2014. This conference is dedicated to (as you may have noticed from the title) front-end development and was held in Warsawa (yes, it's in Poland). A front-ender is a different kind of beast - nerdy, like the back-enders, but also have a little bit of designer blood in them. So, I put on my best look and tried to blend in as a back-ender in front-enders land.

The venue

The conference was located a few kilometers outside Warsaw city-center at a place called Fabryka Trzciny Art Center. According to Google translate, "Fabryka Trzciny" means "Sugarcane factory" or some sort, but the location has nothing to do with that. It's a really nice and trendy place with a cool industrial look (brick walls and a lot of concrete).

Fabryka Trzciny - Inside

They made a really nice relaxing lounge with chairs, tables and hammocks outside. I really liked the hammock stands and would like one in my own garden. All the talks was held in a big room (the roof looks like inside of a wooden barrel - cool) that could not accommodate everyone (400+) so you would need to be early to get a seat. I noticed that front-end and back-end developers are very much alike - they all need one or two buffer chairs.

Front trends 2014 hammocks

The food was above average for conference food. A conference is about it's talks and the social aspect, not food, but it does not hurt that the food is good. Food and coffee is of course essential for any sane developer. Even if the food was good it has a long way to reach my favourite developer conference: JavaZone (a Norwegian development conference). This conference has probably the best food (for a conference) in the world.

Front trends 2014 - Øyvind outside

WiFi is also an essential thing for conferences these days. I cannot believe how bad the WiFi connection was. Really bad. It seems that the WiFi routers DHCP service was a little too restrictive and it was really hard to get hold of an IP. When the computer finally got hold of the IP it was only the start of other problems. Slow network speed and unstable connection. But, on the bright side, I actually managed to live without (barely without) internet for 3 days.

Front trends 2014 - Dag outside

Day 1

On day one of the conference we overslept and did not manage to get there until 11. I missed out on Julian Cheal's "Dancing with Robots", which looked pretty good. The first talk I watched was Jed Schmidt's "API Have A Dream". It was packed so I decided to sit outside to watch on one of the screens. Jed's talk was a nice one and I could relate to what he was talking about. He went trough a bunch of technologies like TypeScript, Dart, Angular, etc.

Next up was a talk about KrakenJS, but I did not attend that one. KrakenJS has a really cool name so I might be checking it out one day. After lunch I had to go back to the hotel to get my Mac. A crisis at work with some buildscripts not working. Too bad, becouse I would like to learn a little more about web components and how to "not" doing a startup. But luckily for me, both slides are on sliderdeck.

Front trends 2014 - Talk

Day 2

On this day it was a lot of CSS related talks. I am not a designer and CSS is a cool thing (we cannot live without), but does not interest me that much. Kyle Simpson talked about Grips templating language. It looks good, but I was just wondering if we really need more templating languages? Yes, we probably do, but I for one has all the templating languages I need right now. Sara Vieira's talk about CSS as a programming language was actually very good. Learned some CSS and she delivered the message to the point. She talked very fast, but not a problem for me. The ROI on Front-End Experimentation by Martin Ringlein was interesting. A nice set of slides and a very inspirational talk. After all he was the first design manager for Twitter :-)

Front trends 2014 - Talk 3

Day 3

The last day at the conference. Skipped the first two talks and jumped right on to Mary Rose Cook's talk. She would code a simple game live before everyone in pure JavaScript. That's always exciting. It was a space invaders clone and se walked us through every bit of the code. The talk was very nice done and I learned a ton and was at the same time inspired. I have two kids and I will try to make a game in pure JavaScript with them later this month. The code for Mary's space invaders are of course published on GitHub.

Front trends 2014 - Talk 4

Kornel Lesiński's talk about modern image compressors was a learning experience. It's very important for the entire web experience to compress images smarter. He also talked about a program called pngquant for compressing PNG's smarter.

Front trends 2014 - Talk 2

The most entertaining talk I attended must have been Max Ogden's talk about Browserify and Lebron. But mostly on Browserify and the tought of taking various server-side NodeJS libraries and port them over to the browser using Browserify. He did not have any fancy slides (in fact, the slides was very bad), but he was very enthusiastic and that maked the talk very entertaining.

All in all, it was a very good conference. Very trendy and hipstery (is that a real word?) feel to the whole conference. Felt 20 years younger. I would love to go back for Front Trends 2015. I took the liberty to use some of the published Facebook images in this blog article (fronttrends @ facebook).