Engineering at Web Directions Summit ’18

From the very beginning, our events have had a strong focus on development. With our background in developing (both for the Web and of tools for other web developers) it’s something we’ve always thought a lot about, and continue to focus on.

As the event matured, and as the roles of development and design separated out, we added a second track, focussed on design, and that dual focus on engineering and design at Web Directions Summit continues today.

But we quite deliberately call this our engineering track (rather than our developer, or development track), since we want to reflect the breadth of what we cover there.

This track is about core technologies–CSS and JavaScript, and working with them. But it’s importantly about the practices, patterns and approaches critical to building successful modern front ends.

Core technologies

Our goal when we focus on specific technologies is to help our attendees get a sense of the things we feel they should be starting to concentrate on–avoiding hype and short term trends, and honing in on things that will become fundamental to how we build for the Web.

This year, there’s a strong focus on:

GraphQL: The longstanding RESTful approach to architecting web applications is in many places starting to give way to GraphQL. Peggy Ryazis, from Meteor, will explore some of the use-cases and success stories of top companies as they’ve made the move to GraphQL. She’ll also offer guidance as to how to move through the phases of adoption at your company.

WebAssembly: JavaScript engines in modern browsers have become increasingly powerful and for some time now, developers have been targeting a subset of the JavaScript language that brings particular performance benefits. This is now standardised as WebAssembly, and supported in all modern browsers. It’s not simply for porting old codebases to the web either, but can be used in many interesting ways, as Alex Danilo from Google will cover.

CSS Layout: A revolution in web layout is happening, driven by the widespread support of CSS Grid and Flexbox. We’re privileged to have perhaps the world expert in these technologies, Rachel Andrew here to talk about them.

Variable Fonts: Not only is layout undergoing a revolution on the Web so too is typography, with Variable fonts, a technology also now widely supported in modern browsers. With significant performance as well as design benefits, it’s a technology everyone should have on their radar. Mandy Michael will be here to get you up to speed on this exciting technology.

There’s much more besides, including deep dives into the Virtual DOM and the CSS Box model.

Patterns and Practices

As I mentioned, we don’t just highlight technologies, but also patterns and practices essential for building modern front ends, including performance, security, debugging and quality assurance techniques and more.

Performance: One of the world experts on web application performance, Patrick Hamman, will look at HTTP/2 Server push, and its benefits (and potential challenges).

Security: Erwin van der Koogh will look at recent additions to the browser security stack and how you can massively increase the security of your site with relatively little work.

Scaling: with more than 80 apps, 150 developers in 4 different countries and more than 700k LOC. Atlassian has had to learn about scale. Nadia Makarevich will cover the strategies and tools that Atlassian has developed to create and support a high-velocity, high-quality engineering environment, challenges and obstacles that they had to overcome and hoops that they jumped through on the way.

We’ll also cover modern debugging and quality assurance techniques, look at the current state of the art in development including typed JavaScript, and more.

It’s a huge program, with value for your whole engineering team, from Junior developer to CTO. And speaking of teams, we have great offers for teams, including videos from other recent Web Directions events like Code earlier this year, plus more.

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