Front Trends 2013 – afterthoughts

This year’s Front Trends conference was held in the same venue as previously — Soho Factory served as a meeting place for 420 guests (well, at least according to an unofficial information) and 24 fantastic speakers, who covered a wide variety of topics, touching areas such as JavaScript, CSS, UI/UX, WebGL, localization and several others.

Anyone, who ever payed a visit to this conference, is probably well aware it’s top notch event, both in terms of organizational as well as content quality. This year was no different, and I would need to spend too much time praising everything, so just some essentials.

Let me then  start with some whining first:

  • speaking of presentations, I was disappointed only by the two of them:
    • to my surprise, the first one was Lea Verou’s, who was talking about CSS3 feature — border-radius. Although I did learn something new (like, a possibility of making an ellipsis purely with CSS) and the execution was nicely done (Lea slides were interactive, and all her code modifications were instantly present on the slides), I was surprised that her presentation was inferior to the one she did previous year, ie. CSS in the 4th dimension). Talking 30 minutes about features of just one property, useless facts like “the border-radius spec is 6 pages” (hey, seriously… who cares?), etc. felt like a step backwards to me. But maybe it was only me — I read a lot of enthusiastic tweets about it, so judge for yourself.
    • the second was Building Languages in JavaScript by Zachary Carter. Although the subject itself was very interesting, execution was really tedious and something in Zach’s voice soon started to make me sleepy (OK, I know, it’s stupid thing to blame someone for the sound of voice he/she does have). Or was it a beer. Oh, I didn’t mention it, did I? The cold beer has been served during all 3 days of the conference, which was like the icing on the cake. 🙂
  • the price. The conference was pretty expensive comparing to the previous year (or, maybe it was the opposite —  tickets in 2012 were cheap? 😉 ). A lot of my friends gave up on the event only because of the cost.
  • I didn’t feel very comfortable with leaving my stuff (laptop, cell phone) inside the building. Don’t get me wrong! I have an absolute trust in all attendees and organizers and I hate those security guys standing in the front of doors on other events probably as much as you do, but in this year the place were meals were served was separated from the main hall, which — when emptied — was an easy target for anybody to sneak in unnoticed. But if you’d force me to choose between the “secured” and “open” (current) character of the venue/event, I would of course prefer the latter option. Dear organizers, maybe there’s some way to provide both? Just a remark.
  • I missed the Painstation machines; the Xboxes boxes were nothing compared to them! 😀
  • both big screens and monitors had some strange aspect problem, every presentation seemed vertically squeezed. In addition to it, the monitors were a bit too bright for my taste (this posed a problem if you were sitting on a seat directly in front of a monitor), and the projections a bit too dim.
  • the video system was failing on several presentations. Thankfully, the problems were of temporary nature.

And now, things which have been better than in 2012:

  • finally there was a plenty of food to everyone. Previously I got a bit late to the lunch and literally the only thing which was left was the salad. You may say — first come, first served, but nothing like this did happen to me this year (and I hope it didn’t for anyone else); I was even able to eat a breakfast and drink a morning coffee on Friday, 10 a.m. Yay!
  • speaking of food: fruits! Yum!
  • 3 days instead of 2 (I think this — at least partially — explains the higher tickets’ price)
  • overall, space felt bigger this time
  • 2 big screens and additional monitors allowing everyone to see the slides’ content (and not just people sitting in the front rows)

My favorite presentations were those by Jake Archibald (technical) and Frances Berriman (keynote / case study) — both content and execution were simply fantastic (Jake put his famous traditional element on one of the slides again 🙂 ).

OK, that’s pretty much it. Feel free to argue with me in the comments or on the Twitter. Kudos to organizers and speakers for their hard work and see you all (hopefully!) on Front Trends 2014!

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