thoughts and learnings in software engineering by Rotem Tamir

My 5 Favorite Talks of the “You Gotta Love Frontend” 2016 Conference (Tel-Aviv)

You Gotta Love Frontend (YGLF for short) is an annual conference for Frontend Developers held annually in Tel-Aviv. Well, it’s the second…

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You Gotta Love Frontend (YGLF for short) is an annual conference for Frontend Developers held annually in Tel-Aviv. Well, it’s the second year they’ve been having it, so it might turn out to be a Fibonacci sort of thing, with conferences every 1, 1, 2, 3, 5.. years — but let’s hope that doesn’t happen.

I was lucky enough to get a ticket (and two days off of work) from ironSource, where I work nowadays. I just came back from there, and let me tell you — it was great. Sure, the projector was jittery at times, and in true Israeli fashion the time-table wasn’t strictly adhered to — but the speakers, and the talks were truly top notch.

I thought it would be nice to capture some impressions and thoughts with a short listicle, so without further adieu, I give you my own, curated 5 Best Talks of YGLF 2016 in Tel-Aviv, in no particular order (I’m an anarcho-socialist, you know):

JS UX: Write usable code

Speaker: Lea Verou (MIT)

Summary: Code is a product. It’s read a lot more times than it’s written. Let’s apply general usability principles to our APIs to make coding inclusive and fun! This talk was like an awesome, condensed, cookbook for writing readable code.

Dirty Tricks from the Dark Side of Frontend

Speaker: Vitaly Friedman (Smashing Magazine)

Summary: Crazy CSS juggling tricks and war stories. By far the most energetic talk of the conference, and that’s saying a lot for a talk held at the end of the day! This guy can handle a crowd. My favorite part? The weirdest hack I’ve seen for responsive design in email. To save your gentle soul I will only say that it included setting both max-width and min-width to div, oh and the maximum was less than the minimum.

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How to teach new developers, so they learn?

Speaker: Netta Bondy (Coral Media Interactive)

Summary: Attention all people in charge of junior developers! You have a huge responsibility! Don’t fuck it up. This was one of the best talks I’ve heard about mentoring people. Naturally, the talk was about working with developers that are starting out, but really applicable to any field.

Let’s see how browser developer tools work

Speaker: Jason Laster (Mozilla)

Summary: While web-apps and frameworks for building them have been evolving in crazy-speed these past years, the browser tools supporting the process are a little behind. Both Chrome and Firefox teams are working on major improvements. One of them is making contributing to the projects much easier. Did you know that you can debug the Firefox debugger using a Firefox debugger? Well, I do now that I’ve seen Jason add a breakpoint to addBreakpoint().

Designing a Design System

Speaker: Jina Bolton (Salesforce)

Summary: Jina (no connection to Ramsey, I checked), works at Salesforce’s Design Systems team. Apparently, “Design Guidelines” are out and “Design Systems” are all the rage nowadays. How do you guide design to a sensible and more or less continuous experience in an organization with thousands of developers and designers? In this eye-opening talk, we learned about the mechanics of such a system — how does this process actually tick in Salesforce. While probably overkill for most tech organizations, the deliberate and calculated nature of their process, embracing automation and the setting of communication channels around it will probably work for many.

Other awesome talks which didn’t fit the list

  • How the React Native (Facebook) team forked Apple’s JavaScript VM to squeeze more performance out of it by persisting compiled byte-code to disk
  • How color systems work and why the upcoming CSS4 color will be so awesome (I swear I understood it yesterday, but couldn’t explain it to you for my life :) )
  • How to embrace Google’s new AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) for really fast load times for content in the web.

Parting Words

All in all, the conference was a great, mind-expanding experience. My thanks go to the devoted organizers and the speakers, you made this conference awesome!