Over the past few years, front-end technologies have taken a leading role in the development cycle of many projects, and their contribution to software development today is greater than ever. The dynamic development of the IT industry has consistently required improvements in development technologies and the customisation of processes used for application development. Participating in the Front-Trends 2017 conference was a fantastic opportunity to work together with other professionals who conduct similar work on a daily basis – to explore the velocity of web technology developments and to consider whether modern developments are indeed moving in the right direction. What did we learn from other industry experts and what was included in the conference proceedings? Below is a concise summary of what went on at Front-Trends 2017.
During the 3-day meeting, we had the opportunity to participate in a variety of presentations and lectures on a wide range of topics, including subject matters of application architecture, web page performance, code optimization, CSS-style management, user interface testing, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT).
Badge z rozpiską prezentacji, który otrzymał każdy uczestnik konferencji.
On day one, examples concerning the remodelling process of Smashing Magazine were highly informative and engaging. Vitaly Friedman presented solutions on how to increase the revenue of a site and also explained their team’s approach to UI component scaling. Their developers have relinquished the strict definition of breakpoints from ‘media-queries’, which were shown to be insufficient solutions in an age of so many devices on which it is possible to display the content of web applications. The presentation highlighted how advantages were gained by adopting the ‘fluid-sizing’ approach with which it is possible to observe the smooth changes of width and height on the interface elements, whilst simultaneously preserving their proportions. If we reflect on the direction in which the Network is progressing, it was clear that this modern approach is demonstrably fitting and can significantly improve efficiencies in producing universal software that work on a wide variety of devices.
Tutaj dokładnie widać jak developerom zapadła w pamięć przeglądarka IE w wersji 6
The beta version of the new Smashing Magazine site can be found here.
One of the more interesting lectures on the second day of the conference was Kirwin Chinnathambi’s presentation on PWA – Progressive Web Applications. Whilst this abbreviation was little known to us before the event, upon further research after an insightful presentation it is of no doubt that this will become a major contender in the future.
It was shown that PWA solutions, such as pinning web pages directly to users’ home screens, working offline with service worker APIs, and push notifications whilst the browser is offline are creating immensely favourable results – with an increased conversion rate for AliExpress of 104%, and the company OLX increasing user engagement by 250%. You have to admit it- these numbers are impressive!
More examples on how PWA solutions translate into direct customer value can be found through this page.
We have also become more and more accustomed to utilising universal applications. As a first example – an application that we all use on a daily basis – Slack. Whether native, mobile, or web-based, Slack maintains a very similar level of user experience while also retaining its full functionality. Whilst this example is not a complete solution for PWA, it clearly highlights a main trend in the web application market – versatility and cross-platform usability. It is worth mentioning that the Vue.JS framework, the direct competitor of its mature siblings Angular and React, is steadily gaining in popularity. Indeed, it will be well-worth watching its development in the near future.
The second day was also host to the Front-Trends 2017 Party, where everyone had an opportunity to converse with the speakers and exchange ideas with other conference participants. The evening meeting took place at the Concept 13 restaurant, which offered fantastic views over the centre of Warsaw.
The third day of the conference saw a deeply engaging performance from Konrad Dzwinel. His topic covered an analysis of the currently available solutions in graphics, video editing and CAD software; and in a visionary way, tried to predict the possibility of using such solutions as part of the tool-set for the developers of web browsers. This presentation was hugely revealing in terms of how, as part of the from-end community, we should all have a greater contribution to the development of the tools that we use in our daily work. Using better tools results in more effective work. Below are some of Konrads ideas for expanding the panel available in the browser under the magical F12 key.
– a timeline view of the whole history of events and activities on the web page, with the possibility to step back to any particular stage (making this much easier for testers!),
– a parallel preview of the page on different devices (for example, running a financial simulator and seeing how it behaves at the same time on 22″ PC All in One, iPad Air 2 and Sony Xperia XZ).
– a context-sensitive tool that changes depending on the highlighted UI element (for example, select an SVG element and get a straightforward and easy tool to edit the figure shape).
– the ability to refresh the status of a single component instead of reloading the entire page
As a curiosity, I will say that Konrad is the only Pole who belongs to a very narrow group of Google Developer Experts for Web Technologies. This group of developers also includes Martin Splitt, who was also a speaker on the same day, whose presentation focused on performance issues in the process of creating 3D animations and transformations – also very interesting and relevant to many important aspects of high-class, modern presentations.
In conclusion – the conference was an opportunity to broaden our knowledge, exchange experiences and meet and discuss with the some of the very best experts from our industry. A greater understanding was gained of the latest trends and tools used in Front-End technology. It was shown how professionals solved difficult tasks and what methodologies they chose for their own work. The Front-End community is a huge asset of our specialisation – which was repeatedly emphasised throughout the conference. An awareness that each participant was one of over 500 talented professionals (such modesty) inspired a lot of optimism and was a significant element in highlighting how everyone is working towards one unified purpose – to make the Web even more beautiful, useful and accessible for everyone- without limits.
A word of thanks to the sponsors, who took great care of the entertainment on the stands in the form of puzzles, logical puzzles, and competence tests. The prize was an analog iPad 😉
Furthermore, words of appreciation are sent for the two members of our team who actively engaged in the organisation of the conference. Dominika Grabowska and Kostiantyn Burlai – you did a fantastic job. Congratulations!
Relevant links and photos:
The presentation videos should appear in the next few weeks on the official Vimeo or YouTube channel as it was in previous years. Recent conference materials can be found here.
For those interested in learning about Front-End technologies, it is recommended for you to familiarise yourself with current developments.
For anyone who wants to fix the world – a tool for reporting bugs in browsers.
If anyone is interested in IoT topics and would like to get acquainted with the presentation of whom they droned at the conference.