Category Archives: Events

CascadiaJS 2015

I can’t attend this year, as I have to be somewhere in Europe at that time, but the two Cascadia events (2013 and 2014) I’ve attended have been some of the best conferences I’ve ever been to, both from the point of view of speaker and listener. Everybody is extremely supportive, respectful and welcoming, the organisers care an awful lot about you, I always come back with new friends and ideas, and learn a ton of stuff.

Their CFP is open until the 15th of March; please submit a talk! Or just attend and enjoy it! Trust me–you will!

I feel CascadiaJS 2013 was the first “proper talk” I gave. It took me a bunch of attempts until I got it sort-of-right! I also had lots of help from more experienced speakers, but specially Angelina Fabbro, who patiently sat down through my initial talk drafts, despite the terrible jetlag they were experiencing, and helped me edit and reshape the talk until it had the right flow. Then, the audience at Cascadia was wonderful, they were super forgiving of all the mistakes I was committing, and just laughed and engaged with me in a way that made it essentially impossible to give a bad talk.

A group of us were going to get lunch at La Taqueria in Vancouver, and Raquel Velez, who I admired, was there. I was fairly new to conferences and Mozilla in general, and I only knew Angelina from that group. I shyly introduced myself to Raquel, and she was approachable and open and made me feel super at ease. And then we sat down at a little park nearby to eat the tacos, and had this beautiful picture taken:

One of my fondest memories of the conference!

Sadly Raquel wasn’t at Cascadia 2014 but the rest of us did meet for dinner again last year, and with more new friends we found at the conference (hiii Florida!). It was great to discuss how things had changed, or not, and just generally be merry.

Another great memory of 2014 was CJ Silverio’s talk. I generally don’t get really moved in the same way that North American audiences get. Maybe I’m this boring grumpy ice-hearted European person, but listening to CJ made me, for the first time ever, want to stand up and clap like there was no tomorrow. I was part of that thing they call “standing ovation”. I felt like it wasn’t only me-there was more people like me. We were not alone! This is what Cascadia is great at.

Not the first time I link this video, and probably not the last one either:

My offer to you, potential speaker

I know I will miss being there this year, but being the troublemaker that I am, I want to sort of be there somehow. So if you’re unsure about proposing a talk, or propose the talk and get accepted and then are panicking because it’s actually your first talk and you don’t even know where to start, get in touch with me and I’ll help you. Go do it! :-)

Notes on the Web Audio Conference

I’m writing this from Paris after two days of web audio discussions on the Web Audio Conference: I think my brain hasn’t processed everything yet and I couldn’t even attend all the talks and events as I’ve got to prepare for FOSDEM and work on my normal duties too.

So I’ll be somewhat vague and generic to start with, and possibly keep editing the post to add links to things.

If you follow me on twitter you might have seen a lot of tweets during the conference. Lots of libraries and tools were presented. It was great that, as Jan Monschke mentioned, they all were open source and encouraged contributions. It is also, I believe, a symptom that there is SO MUCH WORK to do on this field that people feel underpowered and unable to build all that we need in order to get as creative/expressive as we’d like, or at least, as we can be in other platforms.

So that was cool. However, I can learn about tools and libraries from the comfort of my home and chair. What is really cool is being able to take part in “the hallway track” discussions and do some “networking”, but this is something the conference didn’t really facilitate. The schedule was really TIGHT, and didn’t leave time to process / discuss the new ideas with the people around you, let alone think about them yourself. It all felt really crammed together.

Granted, there was some time for questions after each talk, but I don’t think that’s the right moment or place.

Correction/update: there is an afternoon “hacks” session at Mozilla today which can be used for networking/discussion.

There were a few more aspects that were Not Cool At All, such as the whole line up of speakers being mostly white and male. I think I could count with one hand the number of women on the room (me included) and I’d still have free fingers. In other contexts this would have been outrageous. I tried to encourage diverse groups to send their proposals, and it didn’t work, but I don’t want to make myself feel exclusively responsible for this.

Finally, some members of the conference staff were overly zealous and made me feel incredibly uncomfortable: repeated bag searches on the way in, by the same security officer. Being addressed/yelled at in French, and policed all the time even when in our office. I was yelled at when trying to get some water from the table before lunch because it wasn’t the right time yet (but there wasn’t any other water to drink!). Some of my colleagues were told not to take drinks from the office kitchen’s fridge even if they are Mozilla employees (!!). Some people need to chill down. C h i l l d o w n.

The Web Audio conference is a wonderful and so very much needed forum. At times it even felt like a magic pioneering place, a one of a kind meeting that we were fortunate and privileged to be part of. I want/expect it to get better and better in future editions :-)

Introduction to Web Components

I had the pleasure and honour to be the opening speaker for the first ever London Web Components meetup! Yay!

There was no video recording, but I remembered to record a screencast! It’s a bit messy and noisy, but if you couldn’t attend, this is better than nothing.

It also includes all the Q&A!

Some of the things people are worried about, which I think are interesting if you’re working on Web Components in any way:

  • How can I use them in production reliably?
  • What’s the best way to get started i.e. where do I start? do you migrate the whole thing with a new framework? or do you start little by little?
  • How would them affect SEO and accessibility? the best option is probably to extend existing elements where possible using the is="" idiom so you can add to the existing functionality
  • How do Web Components interact with other libraries? e.g. jQuery or React. Why would one use Web Components instead of Angular directives for example?
  • And if we use jQuery with components aren’t we back to “square one”?
  • What are examples of web components in production we can look at? e.g. the famous GitHub time element custom element.
  • Putting the whole app in just one tag yes/no: verging towards the NO, makes people uneasy
  • How does the hyphen thing work? It’s for preventing people registering existing elements, and also casual namespacing. It’s not perfect and won’t avoid clashes, some idea is to allow a way to delay the registration until the name of the element is provided so you can register it in the same way that you can require() something in node and don’t care what the internal name of such module is.

Only one person in the audience was using Web Components in production (that would be Wilson with Firefox OS, tee hee!) and about 10 or so were using them to play around and experiment, and consistently using Polymer… except Firefox OS, which uses just vanilla JS.

Slides are here and here’s the source code.

I’m really glad that I convinced my awesome colleague Wilson Page to join us too, as he has loads of experience implementing Web Components in Firefox OS and so he could provide lots of interesting commentary. Hopefully he will speak at a future event!

Join the meet-up so you can be informed when there’s a new one happening!

Assorted bits and pieces

As we wrap the year and my brain is kind of hazy with the extra food, and the total shock to the system caused by staying in Spain these days, I thought it would be a splendid moment to collect a few things that I haven’t blogged about yet. So there we go:

Talks

In Hacks

We were brainstorming what to close the year with at the Mozilla Hacks blog, and we said: let’s make a best of 2014 post!

For some reason I ended up building a giant list of videos from talks that had an impact on me, whether technical or emotional, or both, and I that thought would be great to share with fellow developers. And then the planets aligned and there was a call to action to help test video playing in Firefox, so we ended up with You can’t go wrong watching JavaScript talks, inviting you to watch these videos AND help test video playing. Two birds with one stone! (but figuratively, we do not want to harm birds, okay? okay!).

Since it is a list I curated, it is full of cool things such as realtime graphics, emoji, Animated GIFs, Web Components, accessibility, healthy community building, web audio and other new and upcoming Web APIs, Firefox OS hardware hacking, and of course, some satire. Go watch them!

Mine

And then the videos for some talks I’ve given recently have been published also.

Here’s the one from CMD+R conf, a new conference in London for Mac/iOS developers which was really nice even though I don’t work on that field. The organiser watched my CascadiaJS 2014 talk and liked it, and asked me to repeat it.

I’m quite happy with how it turned out, and I’m even a tad sad that they cut out a bit of the silly chatter from when I jumped on the stage and was sort of adjusting my laptop. I think it was funny. Or maybe it wasn’t and that’s why they cut it out :-P

Then I also spoke at Full Frontal in Brighton, which is not a new conference but has a bit of a legendary aura already, so I was really proud to have been invited to speak there. I gave an introduction to Web Audio which was sort of similar to the Web Audio Hack Day introduction, but better. Everything gets better when you practice and repeat ;-)

Podcasts

Potch and me were guests in the episode 20 from The Web Platform, hosted by Erik Isaksen. We discussed Web Components, solving out problems for other developers with Brick, the quests you have to go through when you want to use them today, proper component/code design, and some more topics such as accessibility or using components for fun with Audio Tags.

And finally… meet ups and upcoming talks!

I’m going to be hosting the first Ladies Who Code meetup at London of the year. The date is the 6th of January, and here’s the event/sign up page. Come join us at Mozilla London and hack on stuff with fellow ladies who code! :-)

And then on the 13th of January I’ll be also giving an overview talk about Web Components at the first ever London Web Components meetup. Exciting! Here’s the event page, although I think there is a waiting list already.

Finally for-reals I’ll be speaking at the Mozilla room at FOSDEM about Firefox OS app development with node-firefox, a project that Nicola started when he interned at Mozilla last summer, and which I took over once he left because it was too awesome to let it rust.

Of course “app development with node-firefox” is too bland, so the title of the talk is actually Superturbocharging Firefox OS app development with node-firefox. In my defense I came up with that title while I was jetlagged and incubating a severe cold, so I feel zero guilt about this superhyperbolic title :P

Merry belated whatevers!

Meanwhile, in Mozlandia…

Almost every employee and a good amount of volunteers flew into Portland past week for a sort of “coincidental work week” which also included a few common events, the “All hands”. Since it was held in Portland, home to “Portlandia“, someone started calling this week “Mozlandia” and the name stuck.

I knew it was going to be chaotic and busy and so I not only didn’t make any effort to meet with non-Mozilla-related Portlanders, but actively avoided that. When the day has been all about socialising from breakfast to afternoon, the last thing you want is to speak to more people. Also, I am not sure how to put this, but the fact that I visit some acquaintance’s town doesn’t mean that I am under any obligation to meet them. Sometimes people get angry that I didn’t tell them I was visiting and that’s not cool :-(

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