Being a great front-end developer means being fluent in tools, accessibility, and teamwork

Learn how to build fast, secure, accessible experiences at the O’Reilly Fluent Conference this June.

By Laurel Ruma
May 15, 2018
Networked Networked (source: Pixabay)

To become more fluent in the language of the global, expanding, maturing web, you’ll want to attend Fluent in San Jose this year. If you’re working on the modern web—whether you’re independent or part of a large team—and you want to experience hands-on learning, make meaningful connections, and share ideas across communities, then Fluent offers a number of ways to learn the tools, techniques, and tech you’ll need.

Fluent covers a broad range of technologies and topics to provide web programming professionals with the skills, connections, and inspiration needed to build better online and mobile experiences. Even better, you’ll have a variety of ways to learn—from focused 2-day training courses to tutorials to sessions. This year’s program is organized around three tracks: developer experience, web pillars, and beyond code.

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Developer experience: Tools, platforms, and techniques

Good customer experience begins with developer experience. When your team is able to make the best technical decisions to make your app or site work for your customers, you’re able to ship code better and faster. Whether it means getting up to speed on new browser features and developer tools, adopting a new front-end framework, or evaluating serverless cloud platforms, there’s a lot to gain from sharing best practices and case studies from different communities across the web stack.

If you’re focused on becoming a better developer, you’ll want to be up-to-date with the latest in JavaScript, as well as techniques to build better websites:

  • Creating a reusable React component library: Cory house from Cox Automotive will lead you through best practices for reusable component design, npm package publishing, and component documentation—and explore patterns for composition.
  • Full stack in a stackless world: Sarah Allen and Thomas Bouldin from Google show off serverless concepts and development patterns, and share strategies to improve development velocity and reliability by adopting modern back-end design.
  • The evolution of a Node.js service: Gergely Németh from GoDaddy will show you how to use a proof of concept as the base of a new product and help you understand the evolution of a Node.js application from a proof-of-concept implementation to a mature, prospering product.
  • It’s not dark magic: Pulling back the curtains from your stylesheets: From Built Technologies, Aimee Knight will explore browser internals to show you how CSS actually works under the hood.
  • Reactive programming: Future-proof your code: Tracy Lee of This Dot Labs and Ben Lesh from Google will show you how to create a more composable application architecture and an arsenal of lego bricks with RxJS, a push-based primitive and domain-specific language that sits on top of JavaScript.
  • Introduction to micro-front ends: Ivan Jovanovic from nearForm will show you how to create front-end microservices, which will help you understand how to split your big monolith apps written in React or Angular into smaller functional pieces and make them work together and scale

Web pillars: Performance, security, accessibility

It’s no secret that today’s users expect their sites and apps to be fast, accessible, and secure. In this track, learn how to approach these pillars of development proactively and hear from developers and companies who’ve had success. We’ll go beyond why performance, security, and accessibility “matter” and head straight into practical, hands-on sessions on how to implement these critical cornerstones into the design and development lifecycle of your team’s product.

For improving your web performance on apps, mobile, and sites, you’ll want to check out some of these sessions:

  • Making your mobile web app talk: Scott Davis from ThoughtWorks leads this tutorial to teach you how to build a conversational UI in a web app.
  • When third parties stop being polite…and start getting real: Nic Jansma and Charles Vazac from Akamai perform an honest audit of several popular third-party libraries to understand their true cost to your site, exploring loading patterns, SPOF avoidance, JavaScript parsing, long tasks, runtime overhead, polyfill headaches, security and privacy concerns, and more.
  • Hacking web performance: Maximiliano Firtman covers extreme web performance techniques that will blow your mind, from new compression algorithms and new image formats to Client Hints and HTTP/2 Push.
  • Rebuilding a browser extension for privacy: From Zalando, Princiya Sequeira will share lessons learned migrating a legacy privacy add-on to a web extension—a first-party/third-party tracker visualizing tool.
  • Field-tested interfaces for the next billion: How can we make sure that keeping up with the cutting edge won’t exclude people in fast-growing emerging economies? Ally Long shares examples from and lessons learned while working with novice tech users in West Africa.
  • Meaningful UX performance metrics and how to improve them: Mark Zeman of SpeedCurve offers an overview of available rendering metrics, including newcomers like Time to Interactive and Time to First Meaningful Paint, and helps you pick the right metrics to focus on for your website and your users.

Beyond code: Leadership, collaboration, and the business side of the web

Tools and best practices won’t get you the whole way without great teams, leadership, and business solutions to support you. With this track, you’ll learn more about becoming an effective leader, how to collaborate to build winning products, and how to access new technology stacks. Speakers are joining us from diverse organizations that are using effective strategies to tackle modern IT obstacles—from applying design-thinking to hiring practices to creating better workflows so your team can communicate better, iterate faster, and avoid burning out. There’s more to just code when building the next and future web; there’s the people and teams that deliver to the customers—and they, too, need to be resilient, performant, and humane.

  • Developers need to pay attention to licenses: Brian Rinaldi of Progress tells it like it is. Developers have become so comfortable with open source that we often make the mistake of not paying attention to the licenses of the software we are using. But not paying attention to licensing can open up you and your company to potential liabilities.
  • Practical hands-on accessibility testing: Nicolas Steenhout outlines an accessibility testing workflow that can be integrated in your day-to-day coding or testing workflows. Along the way, you’ll review automated testing and hands-on manual testing using a variety of tools, from using the keyboard to using a screen reader application.
  • Caring for your fellow developers: Trent Willis of Netflix shares some hard-learned lessons about caring for your fellow developers—and they don’t require radical changes to your behavior and can result in more effective and sustainable teams.
  • Inclusive design: Putting humans back in focus: Sarah Federman of Adobe explains why inclusive design is so vital to the future of the web and shares techniques for making accessibility a priority in your organization through both top-down and grassroots efforts.
  • Leadership starts with listening: Amplify your impact: Heidi Helfand shares practical communication skills so you can become a more available and empowering co-worker, friend, and leader.
  • Accessibility is important; now what?: Juliana Gomez demystifies the trickiest WCAG standards, shares demos of common accessibility nightmares—like accordion menus, custom forms, modals, video players, and date pickers—and explains how to make them accessible in the simplest ways possible using HTML, CSS, and plain JavaScript.

Wait, there’s more

In addition to the inspirational and informative keynote talks and networking opportunities, you’ll be able to dive deep on a number of important topics with 2-day, expert-led training courses on topics like Debugging front-end performance and Mastering progressive web apps, as well as many others.

We look forward to seeing you in San Jose, CA, at Fluent this June. You’ll leave with new ideas, proven best practices, and an expanded network of peers and innovators to help you tackle your next project and advance your career.

Post topics: Web Programming