The audienceAccording to O’Reilly, there were “over 900 attendees”, a clear sign of the aforementioned growth of the community. It’s always a bit self-congratulatory to praise the audience if you were part of them yourself, but I'll do it anyway: Even though there was a large amount of people, the atmosphere was relaxed and everyone was very approachable. Leading up to Fluent, I sensed a worry of “big business taking over”. Thankfully, it didn’t feel like that at all.
KeynotesAll keynotes are on YouTube.
- “Don't Feed The Trolls”: Nicole Sullivan talked about how to to best handle trolls (negative people on mailing lists etc.). Quote: “Some people are energized by conflict. If you aren’t, you’ll always lose.” It was nice to hear a meta-topic. I always find the psychology of software development interesting.
- “Federated Wiki Mashes Data in Your Browser”: Ward Cunningham was introduced as having created something that made it into the Oxford Dictionary (he is the inventor of the wiki). He talked about his newest project, the “Smallest Federated Wiki”. Quoting the website: “Our new wiki innovates three ways. It shares through federation, composes by refactoring and wraps data with visualization.”
- “Your Script Just Killed My Site”: Google’s Steve Souders talked about the challenges of integrating third party scripts into your website. He gives the example of Twitter support being loaded via a synchronous script tag. If the site is blocked, it can take up to 20 seconds until loading times out. One location where Twitter is blocked is in China, which meant that the corresponding website loaded very slowly there. The solutions are to load asynchronously or, at least, to put script tags after the content (e.g. directly before the </body> tag) so that the content is already shown while loading times out. Souders recommended webpagetest.org as a tool for performance-testing your website.
- “Bookmarklets as Applications”. Gary Flake talked about the challenges of implementing the technology behind his startup Clipboard. It was recently mentioned on Hacker News (read for technical background). Clipboard lets you archive parts of a web page. I can see myself using it to store schedules etc.
- “Turning to the Client Side”. Lea Verou talked about moving more stuff from the server to the client. I’m glad this is happening, I much prefer client-side functionality to server-side functionality (where possible). The talk also included a social experiment: How do people react to a picture of a scantily clad man (as opposed to a woman in a bikini)? Quoting a tweet of hers: “I disagree with the whole idea that it [showing semi-nude people in presentations] is inappropriate. I just think it needs to be done to men too, equally.”
- “Web vs. Apps”: Ben Galbraith and Dion Almaer argued that it is increasingly difficult to define what actually distinguishes the two. When doing so, one must keep two aspects separate: The web as a delivery platform versus the web as a technology platform. For example, you can use HTML5 to write your app (web as technology platform), while deploying it via the iOS app store (native app as a delivery platform).
TalksI didn’t have time to go to many talks.
Related 2ality blog posts:
- More ideas for handling trolls: “The art of giving and taking criticism”.
- My talk was based on two blog posts: