My thoughts on front-trends 2012

In April of this year I attended the Front-Trends conference in Warsaw, Poland. It was my first time attending a quote on quote frontend conference so my only frame of reference was “backend” type conferences I had attended in the past.

The first thing to notice is definitely the girl to guy ratio. I must say that it was a nice change of scene not spending 2 days surrounded by close to 100% testosterone. Secondly, the female speakers that were present are absolutely rock & roll. To name a few both Lea Verou and Rebecca Murphey had really interesting talks. Coming from a different software community, I had never heard of either but since coming home have been spending a lot of time reading what both have published resulting in me learning quite a bit.

The format

Usually, the talks I have seen had a duration of 60 minutes which I personally think works very well. So when I realized that each talk at front-trends was only 30 minutes I was a bit skeptic and worried that they would either be very simple and uninformative or cut short when they would just start to get interesting. Actually, it worked really well.

The organizing

Venue
The Soho factory was a great place to run the conference and I recommend the same place next year. There is, however, room for some improvement. Firstly the bathroom facilities were not great, too much time spent in queues. The same goes for lunch time, the actual food and service were great, but the way in which everything was placed created huge queues that could otherwise have been prevented.

Hotel
I stayed at the Sofitel Victoria recommend by the conference organizers. Very nice hotel, good price, no complaints.

Beer
Now this is crazy. The conference served free beer both days from about 10 am and all day through. That is crazy value for the price they charge to attend the conference and on top of that created a really good vibe all around. I Recommend this for every conference.

People
Kudos to the organizers. They did a really good job. 470 attendees for 2 days is not an easy thing to manage and, all in all, everything was great.

The talks

Talks were mostly very good and a nice mixture of theoretical, practical and technical. To name a few of my favorites and my view on their specific talks, here are three I really liked.

Chris Coyier
Chris talked about how we can accommodate the user in an environment where we know very little about those accessing our website. Plenty of notable points to think about when designing a website.

Rebecca Murphey
Rebecca touched upon what I spent a majority of the last year thinking about, namely how to structure and organize a JavaScript client-side application. jQuery only goes so far but by using frameworks like BackboneJS and RequireJS, we start out with a good foundation for building a solid maintainable application.

Bartosz Szopka
This was a truly inspirational talk that was spot on. Since the source of every webpage, stylesheet or JavaScript file is easily readable online then this is a good foundation for easy learning and knowledge sharing. We should keep in mind that novice programmers will visit our sites so why not welcome them with open arms and make it easy for them to learn from what we know.

Conclusion

My overall review of Front-trends 2012 is that it was great. Will I be back next year? I think I will… and recommend you do as well.

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