jQuery UK 2013

Introduction

Last Friday on the 19th of April 2013 I went up to the jQuery UK 2013 conference in Oxford to hear talks from a range of exciting people about all things Javascript and jQuery. This was the second time I have been for my work @Redweb and I was again going out with my good friend Luke Guppy who taking charge of heading the front end department at @Redweb.

We set off early morning with lots of anticipation towards Oxford and after what seemed like a short few hours we had arrived in beautiful sunshine to the gorgeous Oxford scenery. We followed a set of rabbit feet painted on the pavement all the way to the new venue for jQuery UK and when arrived we greeted by the usual danish, teat and a range of stands from all of the backers of the conference. We looked around and after a while headed in to the first talk.

The agenda can be found here http://events.jquery.org/2013/uk/schedule.html

So here it what I thought of the talks

Brendan Eich on Ecmascript 6

The first talk of the day was by the inventor of Javascript and as you would expect went straight into the technical. The talk was effectively a slide by slide walkthrough of the features of Ecmascript 6 which included some interesting things that are coming, however being a C# developer it seemed a lot of these were just poorly named versions of things I take for granted every day. Even so it was really good an idea what’s coming but unfortunately the slides were moved through very quickly and I got a sense that without proper explanation of the coding on the slides a lot of people we struggling to understand the concepts.

Richard D. Worth on jQuery 1.9 and 2.0 – Present and Future

This talk was effectively a rundown of  jQuery and it’s history and then moved on to a roadmap of the future. jQuery 2+ has dropped IE 6,7,8 support but it was explained that the version 1 branch will still be developed and the API minor versions will mirror version 2 with the same structure but including full IE 6,7,8 support. There wasn’t much of technical use with this talk but there were the odd interesting things. One very handy thing that was learnt is that the modules of jQuery can be selectively chosen via a command app.

Remy Sharp on So you know jQuery. Now what?

This was my favourite talk of the day and Remy Sharp is one of Luke’s favourite guys so he really enjoyed it. Remy talked about jQuery and about how although it is useful and so many Javascript developers have learnt and used it so much we are now at a time where really you have to look and say “Do I need it”. He demonstrated some easy Javascript alternatives to using parts of the jQuery library and how if all you want to do is select DOM elements, change classes or do a JSON request you really don’t need it. His approach is trying to work out what he will need in a project and approaching it from a “Can this be done in raw Javascript easily” stance then building and adding only the libraries that I really necessary.

Adam j. Sontag on jQuery is a Swiss Army knife (and that’s OK!)

Adam’s talk was very much the opposite talk of Remy in the fact that jQuery is a “Swiss Army Knife” of libraries. This is in that once you’ve added jQuery to the project there are many things you don’t have to worry about, you’ve got a better solid framework that you can built your web application off without hassle and you don’t have to work about cross browser or any other such concerns. Mostly this was the big point, there wasn’t much talk about the size of jQuery or just using the selector library it was mainly just “Use jQuery and have all the tools you need”.

Doug Neiner on Taking Control with Machina.js

This talk was on the state machine library called Machina.js located on GitHub here https://github.com/ifandelse/machina.js. This library is effectively a library that allows you to write libraries based upon states that perform code based upon these states and raise event when things happen. This allows instead of manual code writing and if check a library that is much clearer defined to certain action, for example being offline, connecting and being online.

Garann Means on How to use events to glue full-stack frameworks together

This talk was geared around using events to glue libraries together. I’m sorry to say as a .NET C# developer this just seemed pretty much a basic concept to me and all libraries should be decoupled and connected via events if you want to pass back data but this was the general gist of the talk. Kids, create libraries add events and allow the different frameworks/libraries hook together using them.

Ilya Grigorik on Wait, Chrome DevTools can do THAT?

This talk basically went through all of the cooler less known features of DevTools in Google Chrome and also talked a little bit about Google Chrome Canary which is the cutting edge release that has the latest features. This talk I found very interesting but it’s only really useful if you prefer to use DevTools and your primary tool for debugging and troubleshooting front end issues. My main take away from this talk was the experiments pane in Canary that was very interesting.

Slides here: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1DNljLkRpe9LIDfcqcpHzdLvEOyuVH4d1y9dtAJBr1I8/preview

Turing on Canary Experiments here: http://devcoma.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/how-to-enable-workspace-experiment-on.html

John Bender on Faster DOM manipulation with category theory and wield

This talk went through a concept called category theory and to cut a long long story short highlighted the fact that standard Javascript and jQuery are related and you can categorise them together and chain them independently. The talk did say html and jQuery but the examples were Javascript rather than HTML but hey ho.

Joe Pettersson on Complex clientside apps and legacy browsers (a story of frustration…)

This talked covered a few things

  • Joe’s frustration with the jQuery support loss for IE 6,7,8
  • The fact that testing is very very important.

The main point was to do as much testing as possible and create a framework if you can for it. Also to use Virtual Machine and use selenium as a controller allowing you to run tests against all your VMs and use your main machine as a host.

Jason Scott on Build an experience… not another framework

Jason’s main point was that there are many frameworks out there and to leverage what you have. Jason used the example of jQuery mobile and how he had created a blackberry UI theme for his company that allowed the mobile apps to look like a blackberry device.

Conclusion

There were a few things this year I managed to get out of the talks but not as much as last year. Overall I felt and so did Luke that there wasn’t as much technical depth to the talks and there were too focused on higher level of how to do things and why things are the way there are. Maybe it’s working in one of the top digital agencies but it felt mostly very much like common sense so really didn’t get me excited, however the few things I did learn will be very very handy.

We did after the show however have an afterparty called jBeery which was a real ale festival and I really really enjoyed that. I may augment this post with more links or detail but this is just a very quick take on the day.

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About ScottReed

I am an ASP.NET C# developer working in the south of England current for the south's top digital agency Redweb. I have worked for financial companies, CMS vendors, charities and web agencies tacking a variety of challenges. As part of my jobs and freelance I have done lots of work for high profile companies, big brands and government bodies and worked on some exciting large award winning builds. I love development and enjoy architectural design of software. ScottGu is my .NET hero and the Guru of all thing M$oft