jQuery UK 2014

05 Jun 2014

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This year Avenue Digital were invited to attend the jQuery conference; the UK’s largest front-end developer conference and only UK event dedicated to jQuery. Read our update from Justas Kuizinas on what went down at this year’s event.

First held in 2012, the event was Europe’s first conference dedicated to jQuery. The event sold out within three weeks and was praised immensely. The event doubled in size for 2013 as a result of the high volume of developers wanting to attend and would see over 600 guests from all over Europe attend the conference. It was divided into three tracks, one of which focused primarily on hands-on tutorials. The other two tracks consisted of sessions from history lessons in HTML to JavaScript tricks, to a live demo of a Nodecopter, which was unquestionably the highlight for me.

jQuery: You ‘Might Not Need’ It

Adam J. Sontag kicked off with ‘A state of jQuery’, discussing work that had been done on jQuery 2.0, underlining the concept that this version was focusing on improving what was already there, rather than adding new features. The jQuery team have been working with other platforms and groups to bring modern web standards to the library. Today jQuery is used by over 65% of the 10,000 most visited websites, making it the most popular JavaScript library in use.

Adam went on to hilariously review a recent article which stated ‘you don't need anything more than vanilla’ j’s, but Adam also had some points why ‘you might not not-need jQuery’. ‘For a specific app you might not need jQuery, but we as a community do’. This is true, but on the other hand, a lot of front-end developers learn JavaScript through jQuery along with some controversial conceptions to say the least. Developers, head to You Might Not Need JQuery, this is the place where you can see what is beyond jQuery.

CSS Is The New Photoshop

In recent years we have seen a rapid improvement in new browser technologies, allowing us to be more creative and use more advanced techniques when developing new websites. CSS has allowed graphical techniques to become stronger and extensively diverse.

Lea Verou, in her talk, ‘The Chroma Zone: Engineering colour on the web’, spoke about the history of digital colour and some practical and useful tips for using colour. Her talk was complimented by great live demos here.

Divya Manian showed us more technical CSS tips and her topics were:

    1. Blend modes
    2. Filters
    3. Masks

Divya provided intricate explanations and insightful perceptions on her topics, leaving us in the audience feeling inspired.

Monolithic Things Are Bad

Andrew Betts is a developer from the Financial Times and with him we continued to learn about modular things being good and monolithic things being a taboo - an important lesson to learn when developing web UI.

FT have more than 600 domains and this number is increasing, so they can't afford to build complex UI. At the moment they are concentrating on finding ways to increase performance and user experience, the answer, Origami – universal front end component standards for FT web products by following 10 simple principles.

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Hoodie Controlled Nodecopter

Who would have believed that a language that was created in only 10 days would gain so much popularity? JavaScript started to shine when Java applets failed and by that time it became the language of the Web. Even now its evolution has not stopped. We are seeing JavaScript in server-side, thanks to node.js, HTML5 API’s, which lets us control user media, web sockets, and is also helping us to get geographical location data or even control robots. The list continues...

Speaking about robots, Andrew Nesbitt and Francis Gulotta stated that if you can make a JavaScript, then you can make a robot work. They proved this with a spectacular demonstration with Nodecopter. They used motion sensors implemented in the hoodie to control Nodecopter. Despite a ‘minor’ collision with a wall the Nodecopter still proved a conclusive point of just how much JavaScript has evolved over the past years.

10/10

All in all, there was an excellent variety of subjects discussed at jQuery UK 2014. My head is still full of all the interesting topics that were discussed throughout the conference, analysing all of the stimulating points that were raised. Although it might seem overly generous, it is hard to find fault and this year’s jQuery conference will be receiving a solid 10 out of 10 from me. JQuery 2015 will sneak up on us fast, so if you could make it this year make sure to get yourself a ticket – I’ll see you there.