Fronteers 2014 recap


A list based recap of what was said during Fronteers 2014. I was planning to just jot down some small notes, but it turned out there was a lot to write down. If you were at the conference and want to refresh your memory or if you missed it and want to have a taste, here it is.

Links to the presentations will be added as they come available.

Day 1

It’s gotta be said, Jake Archibald kicked of this conference like a pro. He talked about being nice, the location of fire exists, picking the right fire exit, being nice to fire, fire not being a requirement for a conference, no need to start a fire then. Plus, excuses were made to the people of Holland to make up for British soccer fans pissing the city walls after football matches.

To the first talk!

Getting nowhere with CSS best practices - Heydon Pickering

Heydon runs Ubuntu, which causes a little problem with the projector at first. After things get sorted out he leaves the mouse pointer in middle of the screen, I have to admit, I’ve got problems with that sort of stuff.

Mouse pointer is still in the center of the screen, how can you work like this Heydon, my god!

A very dramatic quote from a developer out there.

I never considered wether class ‘left’ or ‘right’ was semantic or not, but I suppose it is not. I feel like my world is falling around me.

I wonder if a blind user understands the concept of a tab. Do we need to communicate the fact that it’s an explicit tab control instead of an on-page index?

Greyhound race disruption

Great talk, funny and very sharp!

Making maps, the role of frontend infrastructure at Etsy - Daniel Espeset

A slide filled with all of the colour definitions in the Etsy CSS

Some really great advice on how to regain control of your codebase.

Do we need to write markup? - Nathan Ford

Jake is a Progressive Enhancement guy so he informs Nathan he’ll shoot him in the face if things get too ugly.

I’m glad to report that Nathan survived the talk without getting shot.

Pushing the real-time web forward - Arnout Kazemier

A talk about all sorts of bugs encountered when doing async client server communication.

Everyone is in a state of joy.

By this point, you can hear people sobbing.

For now, it might be a good plan to use something like

An excellent summary of various methods to handle asynchronous communication. Also, very clear code samples illustrating ways around all the various bugs.

State of the Animation 2014 - Rachel Nabors


If you want to go full Michael Bay on your visitors, wrap your site in a blink tag.

Rachel speaks the words “blink” and “tag”, next thing you know, full system failure. A couple of minutes later we’re back on track!

Some great consumer insights and tips on how to work with animation as a team.

Gaming in the browser - various speakers

Thomas Palef - LessMilk

As someone who build a game as well, I can advice you to do this, it’s an awesome adventure. You’ll learn a lot about code and interaction patterns. Also, you can tell people you’re a game developer, that rings bells.

I’ve personally played around with Phaser, it’s very good, has a lot of ways to create various kinds of games out of the box. Also lot’s of example projects, which will come in handy if you’ve never attempted to create a game before.

If you do plan to write something big, tell friends and family you’re building a game. They’ll keep asking you how it’s coming along, game development is something a lot of people find very interesting I find.

Luc Bloom - Blue Giraffe

Dominic Szablewski - Phoboslab

Xibalba running on various web enabled devices

WebRTC: a front-end perspective - Shwetank Dixit

Lock screen on landline phone

Maybe in a decade or so we’ll be more lucky.

Offline First: Faster, more fun, and more robust (web) apps - Alex Feyerke

It’s a bit tricky though as javascript is required for syncing. Still we could store content offline with app cache and layer on server syncing and certain interaction patterns as an enrichment.

And that’s it for day one. A great start to a great conference.

Day 2

Making Twitter UI infrastructure - Nicholas Gallagher


if HP knew what HP knows we would be 3 times more profitable.

Twitter component folder structure

Takeaway, it’s time to restructure static source files in to “web_modules”. Also a fantastic analogy for components.

Optimizing web performance - Dave Olsen

By this point, I’ve given up taking notes, there’s just too much juice in this presentation to keep up. The slides are really extensive luckily.

In short, excellent talk, ridiculous amount of information.

Animating SVGs with CSS and SMIL - Sara Soueidan

Sara shares a lot of in-depth information on how to setup animations in the various techniques described. If you’re wondering how to animate something, anything, in someway, in SVG, watch this presentation.

Sara is going to do SVG performance tests and will be sharing those in the near future.

I’ve never learned so much web things in such a short timespan.

This is the web platform - Paul Kinlan

AppCache Killer Wanted

At this point, Paul takes a small moment to try and burn his retinas with his laser pointer.

Excellent talk, great insights, some stuff we all should be doing right now.

Using agile to bake in accessibility - Meri Williams

A really insightful and amusing talk.

Choose your own JS adventure - Kyle Simpson

Kyle immediately drops in the lounge area, kicks of his shoes and has them deported of the stage.

Kyle is demoing various javascript constructs that could be solved with these macros.

If you’re fighting with JavaScript, who isn’t, this talk is for you.

Scaling up and down: evolving your testing strategies - Pete Hunt

The raffle goes horribly wrong and shows all signs of a failing JavaScript app. Various undefined values show up, Jake, tries to salvage the situation by checking if “undefined” might be a very common name in the Netherlands.

Raffle Crash

If you want to know when you should be testing what using which test method this is the talk for you.

Dream big. Think small - Petro Salema

Pretty dramatic stuff. But such an interesting story when looking at things from a data point of view.

Christopher Supnig

Don’t start a revolution, enable a revolution to start.

Vivid, imaginative and almost relaxing talk. The relaxing part could also originate from the fact that this was the last talk of the day.

Final words, the crew is on the stage

That’s it, Fronteers 2014, what a fantastic conference this was. Great food, great speakers, a great venue and above all, great people.

An insta-attend for 2015.

Rik Schennink

Web enthusiast