Full frontal and some ideas to improve conferences

Hermes lectures a rubber duck in front of some windows



The goodness: FullFrontal.

Full Frontal (FF) is a conference for web developers where Javascript is the core topic of discussion. I have attended this event at the start of November. A number of interesting topics such as “CSS3 animations with no Javascript”, “Javascript optimisation and compression on the browser side” or the soon to be released “ES6 Javascript engine” are brought to the stage and thoroughly presented. There were more presentations but I particularly recommend reading the slides provided for the ones mentioned above. The quality of the presentation and talks however just left me speechless: It delivered, oh yes it did.

Unlike other conferences I have been to before, this one was held in a movie theater in Brighton, a beautiful city during the summer, in the south of the United Kingdom.

The FullFrontal talks

I was lucky to be in the third row, the chairs were supercomfy and I really enjoyed being able to really be captured in awe by the presenters: Each presentation was announced with a little bit of humor by Remy Sharp, one of the organisers, who explained how he met the presenter and why he believed that particular person would fit the conference’s theme and layout.

I was particularly amazed by the young presenter, Andrew Nesbitt, (who now works at Github) that explored the possibilities of using NodeJS on robots.

He presented an Xbox-controlled lego mindstorm robot to dispense food to his rabbit, along with the Troll-o-copter, a NodeJS controlled quadcopter that uses the frontal camera to recognize human faces and applies the “troll-face” effect on them!

Also really impressed with the closing presentation by the legend Jeremy Keith, Time. I was speechless, a talk regarding the impact of time on the internet and our digital-connected future.

Conferences - what could be improved.

Like many other conferences the problem is that tickets are served by some online company and they just run out in matter of seconds, the Websummit’s launch party event (Have you read our blog about the websummit?) for example was sold out in 15 seconds. Surely there are a lot of people that are eager to get a ticket but is this system fair?

Lately I have seen more and more event managers release tickets in batches, once a week over a period of a couple of weeks preceding the event. This approach is more humane I find, everyone multiple chances to get a ticket. I also find quite inappropriate to have early-bird tickets and late-birds tickets. Late-bird tickets’ price is double or triple the amount of the early-bird one: Seriously not everyone knows about an event 5 months in advance!

Legacy data

I would also want to raise another issue.

With the price I have been paying to attend some of these conferences, I am expecting there should be at least some kind of video/media coverage at the event. This allows people to go back and be able to view what they’ve missed and, of course, the great talks. Not immediately, but do have that media out there.

Not everyone does this, releasing and sharing content, I really think it is a shame. Back in the days there were scribes that would “transcribe” the “knowledge acquired” so that it could be passed on to our future generations. Nowadays everyone just tweets. It’s not possible to pass on knowledge with some tweets: They’re too volatile.

This is where videotaping can really help, and like the FullFrontal talk on “Time” taught us even that could is volatile.

Most people upload to YouTube or similar, what if YouTube decides to shut down. Unrealistic but..never say never, especially considering the average lifespan of Google services is 4 years .

Thankfully at the FullFrontal conference, everything was taped and I am looking forward to see those videos on-line very soon, this way I can pass them on to my friends. That will give them a feeling for what they’ve missed out on; hopefully convince them to come with me next year. Many arrive from all over the world and decide to gather up and discuss the fantastic world of Javascript: This year was my first time at FF and I loved it, I will surely go back next year if I manage to get a ticket. And if they run out, I’ll pray for YouTube feeds!

Addendum: The full audio for the conference is now live for streaming and downloading

Orlando is a Developer Evangelist for Mailjet in the UK and Nordics, he regularly blogs on here and if you want to follow his journey feel free to follow him on twitter

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