Chris Price, October 12th, 2012
Mary Rose Cook – A Programming Language for Children
Mary introduced a programming language that she’s aiming at children called Isla. During her talk she said something that has really stuck with me. Programming is about magic. The magic that happens once you’ve typed in your program and then you first see it run. Much the same as stacking dominoes and then knocking the first one over. Mary was right, I had forgotten that’s why I love programming.
This talk was turtles all the way down! The
Sam Dutton – WebRTC: Real-Time Communication Without Plugins
A frustratingly high-level look at WebRTC, which you can think of as a P2P version of WebSockets. I was hoping for a real deep-dive into some of the details but we were only shown the shiny demos. Don’t get me wrong the technology itself is very cool, I think we’ll be seeing a lot more of it as the browser support improves.
Lennart C. L. Kats – Effectively Building Language Tools
This talk was a bit of a sales pitch, encouraging developers to start writing plugins for the Cloud9 IDE platform.
John gave us a crash course on category theory and how it could be applied to the jQuery internals to speed things up. I’d recommend checking out the Wield project page.
Functions have a prototype property Objects have an internal prototype reference
Angus Croll – Break All the Rules
Margaret Leibovic – Firefox for Android
Margaret flew the flag for the recently revamped Firefox for Android. Most of the browser chrome has been thrown out and replaced with a native UI to speed things up. The talk inspired me to try it out again as my experiences with the old version were very disappointing. Something I was pleasantly surprised to see mentioned was that Mozilla are looking to copy the iOS add to homescreen functionality over to Android. UPDATE – It is actually implemented but very well hidden in the menus compared to the iOS approach.
A fascinating well-delivered talk on how the new web audio API could shake up music production again. Interspersed with live musical demos, Stuart delivered one of my favourite talks.
James Halliday – Code Collage
A nice reminder of the unix do one thing and do it well approach as applied to Node modules from one of the biggest package contributors on NPM, substack. This was extreme live coding, executed brilliantly. I didn’t meet one person who wasn’t in awe of this talk.
Anders Heijlsberg/Luke Hoban – Introducing TypeScript
This was a talk I was surprised to see on the schedule but I’m very glad it was. I’d already given a quick summary of my thoughts before the conference so I was looking forward to the talk. However, the feeling of people I talked to prior to the presentation was unanimously negative. Microsoft certainly don’t have the best history on the web and I think people were concerned that this was VBScript2.
On a side note, wildly extrapolating from some shreds of evidence, I think we might soon see a browser-based Visual Studio from Microsoft. The editor used in the playground is a custom component that Microsoft has authored, which seems a strange choice for such a simple demo, as there’s plenty of very good open-source options. Digging a bit deeper into the code behind the editor, all of it is namespaced under “vs”. Even if they did choose to write one just for the playground the internal architecture is vastly over engineered for something so trivial, e.g. using multiple web-workers in the background. Even just comparing the size of the codebase to CodeMirror, it comes out suspiciously large.
Francisco Jordano – OpenWebDevice: First Mobile Running Firefox OS
Francisco introduced Firefox OS, Mozilla’s late (and as yet unfinished) entry into the smartphone operation system race. In essence they’ve made PhoneGap, but at the operating system level instead of the app level. It’s an interesting concept, but it’s one that’s already been tried unsuccessfully by Palm, so I’m hedging my bets on this one.
Matthew Delaney/Jing Jin – The Web’s Black Magic: As Viewed from Within WebKit
Matthew and Jing picked a bit of a strange storyline for their talk but the content was really interesting. In essence they picked three optimisation techniques that are often touted on the internet as being the solutions to various performance problems, then set about explaining the WebKit source code behind the problem and the solution.
The second problem was mixing DOM writes and reads in a loop. The solution is obviously to bundle all your reads together and your writes together but I was surprised at how hard it can be to spot that you’ve fallen into this trap.
Angelina Fabbro – Inspector Web and the Mystery of the Shadow DOM
Angelina’s talk on the shadow DOM was great, it’s a very exciting topic which she devlivered with some steady-handed live coding. The shadow DOM is definitely the biggest thing yet to happen to the web and I’ll be following it’s progress closely.
Divya Manian – Web Components with <insert favourite bleeding edge CSS spec>
Divya took a deep dive into some of the topics Angelina introduced, showing how they can work together with other new CSS technologies e.g. regions, shaders(!) and more.
Emily Rose – Node.js & Black Box Prototyping
Emily Rose, Thomas Kroeber and Sebastian Golasch all showed off hardware projects to varying degrees of success. If you thought the software demo gods were bad, they’ve got nothing on the hardware demo gods! It was really interesting to see these projects, but as so few of the demos came off I think it would have been nice to see them condensed into a single talk.
Jason Huggins – Everyone Loves Robots
Those paying attention will have noticed that I said there were four hardware talks mentioned three. That’s because Jason’s hardware talk deserves special mention for a number of reasons.
Firstly his demo came off without a hitch, secondly he used a robot to play angry birds and thirdly, HE USED A ROBOT TO PLAY ANGRY BIRDS! Even better he had a legitimate reason for doing so. He’s one of the co-creators of Selinium and was looking for a fun way to automate UI testing on an iPad, I think he found it!
I’d previously come across Jason’s project on Hack-a-Day after he gave a talk earlier in the year at Pycon. The robot uses his miniaturisation of Grid-Beam called Bit-Beam for it’s structural components, as soon as I saw Grid-Beam I was fascinated and had to try building some. I lost a four day bank-holiday weekend to that endeavor, so it was great to meet him and pass on the opinion of my significant other!
Markus Leutwyler – How to get rich (quick) with JS
Markus delivered quite a slow talk extolling the virtues of open-sourcing your product and making money from hosted services. I’m not sure I agree with him that you can’t make money from developer tooling, Microsoft and JetBrains seem to be doing alright from it!
Mr.doob/AlteredQualia – What’s Next for Three.js?
They took turns talking us through the history of THREE.js. I hadn’t previously realised that the leaps in functionality e.g. WebGL support, had come from working with various Google sponsored projects. It was really interesting stuff and as these screenshots show, the progress the web has made in the past two years really is astounding -
Paul Campbell/Eamon Leonard – Seacht
Paul and Eamon are the organisers of Funconf, if you’ve never heard of it before (I fell into this category) -
- Know that you’ve missed out on something very special.
- Read this write-up of Funconf II.
- Imagine that Funconf III introduced more DeLoreans, a private train, helicopters and horse and carts to the mix.
The gents treated us to a very honest informal chat introducing the conferences, telling us about what it meant to them and now that it’s run it’s course how it’s encouraged them to go on and organise more community events. It was a very inspirational talk that has pushed me to make more of an effort engaging with local user groups and tech meetups.
Chris Williams – Disconnect
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This entry was posted on Friday, October 12th, 2012 and is filed under Blog.