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Videos of the Fronteers 2010 conference

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Back in 1995 the web was pretty simple. Most webpages were either boring serif text on a grey background or were completely built up with images which made them very slow to load in Mosaïc using a 14k4 modem. Then the font, blink and marquee tags ruled the markup of most pages on Geocities. If the creator was a bit more advanced the menu was built up using images and a script that replaced them on hovering. Later CSS was introduced, several groups discussed the future of HTML and browsers improved their rendering. To learn more about recent front-end web technologies I went to the Fronteers conference in Amsterdam.

Fronteers is the association for front-end web developers and the conference was mainly about HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript and other technologies that make your website look good. The organisation found good speakers who also knew how to create attractive slides, some even in HTML instead of Keynote. Most of the sessions are now available on Vimeo and they are worth watching if you missed the conference.

Jeremy Keith | The Design of HTML5

Jeremy Keith spoke about the history of HTML and the principles behind the still unfinished HTML5 specifications. If you haven’t read his book HTML5 for Web Designers, watch the video.

Paul Irish | The State of HTML5: Inaugural Address

HTML5 is not the future, it is there already. Not all new elements are supported by every browser (we all know who’s slow implementing them) but a lot of features can already be used. If your browser doesn’t support video type x, use video type y and if everything fails use Flash. Paul Irish shows the current state of HTML5 .

Robert Nyman | JavaScript — Like a Box of Chocolates

Robert Nyman explained how you can create Objects in JavaScript, extend them, create (internal) methods and how to call them. He shows quick performance improvements for routines like for loops. If you’re not a very advanced JavaScript developer, it’s worth watching the video so you finally understand the syntax you see often in jQuery plugins.

Jake Archibald | Reusable Code, for good or for awesome!

Using a carousel of not so nice people and lots of humor Jake Archibald who worked at BBC, explains how to create reusable (JavaScript) code. He demonstrates best practices for inheritance for inheritance, method creation and code commenting. A must see for everyone ever creating an API.

Brad Neuberg | Vector Graphics for the Web

If you’re familiar with the print world you know Photoshop is good for photos but you don’t create your logo in it. With Illustrator you create a vector graphic that scales up and down without loosing quality. For the web there’s SVG but not all browsers support it yet. Brad Neuberg shows what cool stuff you can do with SVG and the alternatives that create the same effects on browsers that don’t support native SVG.

Håkon Wium Lie | CSS3

The CTO of Opera software was one of the creators of CSS which made the web more beautiful. He shows some CSS3 improvements like round corners (if you see them on my blog, your browser supports them) and custom fonts. His presentation contains a very detailed explanation how to make a stylesheet for print that supports a dynamic table of contents, page numbers, headers and footers on each page.

Meagan Fisher | Creating lifelike designs with CSS3

Step by step Meagan decorates a simple webpage using CSS3 features like rounded corners (they’re on my site!), transparent and multiple backgrounds (gotta use that), gradients (you can do that with CSS, even in IE). I found this a very inspiring talk, now I need to find the time to improve my own site’s design.

Stephen Hay | Real-world Responsive Design

Stephen’s presentation made me realise (again) that I have to change my own CSS for mobile devices. He shows examples of fluid designs that change the way the page is built up for several screen sizes and devices.

Stoyan Stefanov | Progressive Downloads and Rendering

Scraping off milliseconds of load time can make your site more attractive for visitors. Long waiting time annoys your visitors and they leave. Showing the most important parts first and load the less important parts in the background don’t even decrease the total loading time but may make your site more attractive because we like to be fooled visually. Stoyan Stefanov shows some (dirty) tricks how Google, Amazon and Yahoo! decreased the (perceived) loading time.

Christian Heilmann | Reasons to be cheerful

I really hope this video will be available too because this was a great closing talk of the conference. It wasn’t so much about technology but more a pep-talk for all (front-end web) developers. Best quote "if your boss doesn’t have time for you, appear in a suit and leave on time for a change. Works all the time.". Luckily the slides are available.

Update (30-10-2010): the video of Christon Heilmanns talk became available.