Upcoming Events



Conferences for the Designers and Developers of the Web, Mobile, and Internet of Things



Code and Creativity Go Hand In Hand 

Editor's note: this is a guest post by Catt Small, who is speaking at Future of Web Design NYC this November. All artwork is also hers! 

It’s a great time to work in technology. More people than ever believe in the potential of code. But in a world seemingly obsessed with commits and pull requests, how can we highlight the creativity and artistry in programming?

Catt SmallIt’s no secret we’re in a historic tech boom, and people are flooding the tech world to find high-paying, high quality jobs. Groups such as Black Girls Code, Girl Develop it, Women Who Code, and tons more encourage marginalized people to grab programming jobs by the horns and pull in great salaries, free food, gym memberships, standing desks, and whatever else they need to keep pushing code.

The tech scene is slowly getting more diverse, and with diversity will come new and different viewpoints. People from all backgrounds tune in to watch tech product announcements and line up at stores for new technology. More marginalized people are utilizing technology to solve common problems in their communities and providing much-needed diversity of thought at high-powered companies that reach millions of users per day.

Unfortunately many still think programming is not creative. I have heard programmers say they’re not the “creative type” despite solving problems using code every day. I have also met artists who use code to express their ideas yet do not identify as programmers. Why does this happen? Let’s examine two important factors when it comes to how we think about programming: education and culture.

Programming education can be rigid. Many say tech is a meritocracy, but people often don’t have equal access to resources. Young people in many communities don’t have access to computers until they become part of the curriculum at school. Women are encouraged to learn to code but often don’t receive enough support or mentorship.

Getting a computer science degree at college is an option for some, but many programming classes are structured as lectures and don’t cater to different learning styles. Working my way through school, I often lagged behind when professors didn't allow students to practice during class.

People who dislike common teaching methods or can't afford classes resort to tutorials, but these aren’t for everyone either. Some people resort to learning by hacking apart more experienced programmers' projects and googling until things start to make sense. However, like me, many of those people never seem to feel like real “educated” programmers.

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CSS as a Service - A Microservice for Modular Front End Design 

Shay Howe is always pushing to make his process for front end web design and development better. Frankly, it must be exhausting. He was an early proponent of modular HTML and CSS, implementing a building block process into his work as director of product at Belly to keep code reusable, predictable and maintainable. 

Now, taking a page from his server side developer friends, he's thinking of CSS in terms of microservice architectures. By making one change to his stylesheet and pushing it to the many pages and applications Belly creates, he's ensuring a consistent look and style. 

Shay is giving a session at Future of Web Design in New York City in November, but he's recorded a podcast with me to give a preview into exactly how his thinking about CSS as a Service evolved and what it takes to make it work. 

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FOWA Hall of Fame: 10 Years of Future of Web Apps

Can you believe it!? Future of Web Apps is 10 years old! The web has really moved forward in the last 10 years and we are looking forward to leading the charge with our latest line-up of amazing speakers!

But lets take a flashback moment and look at some awesome speakers we have had over our last 10 years. We have had hundred of awesome spekars, but these guys really stuck in our memory banks – some very familiar names and faces in this lot!

  1. Mark Zuckerburg Facebook Founder and CEO. joined us for FOWA London 2008, for our ‘Fireside chat with special guest’
  2. Ben Huh CEO: I Can Has Cheez burger. ‘How to Take your Community to the Next Level’ FOWA London 2008
  3. Michelle You Co Founder of Songkick 'Product Discovery: How do you know you're making the right thing?' FOWA London 2013
  4. Cal Henderson – Flickr + Slack. 'Web App Scaffolding' FOWA London 2010
  5. Matt Mullenweg WordPress  ‘The Future of Web Apps‘ San Francisco 2006
  6. Rasmus Lerdorf 'Increasing PHP Performance’ FOWA London 2007 
  7. Jennifer Pahlka Code for America Founder 'The Next Disruption: the Opportunity for Civic Startups' FOWA Vegas 2011                                      
  8. Christian Heilmann Mozilla ‘Get Excited and Build Things!’ FOWA London 2011                              
  9. John Resig Creator of jQuery ‘Introduction to JQuery' FOWA Miami 2010    
  10. Zach Holman Github FOWA London 2014, "Move Fast and Break Nothing."  

Early Bird Ticket sales end at Midnight on Friday June 19th - so get your tickets now to see the big names, experts and next set of history making speakers take to the FOWA stage.

Follow us on twitter @FOWA and Facebook for all the latest news!



Speed Up Your Website with Google PageSpeed

Editor's Note: This is a guest blog post by the indefatigable speaker, writer and devleoper Thijs Feryn, who is speaking at Future of Web Apps London in October. 

Thijs FerynWorking at a hosting company, I deal with performance issues and optimizations on an almost daily basis. Apparently there’s still a big gap between code and infrastructure and developers still have a hard time making their code work fast on the required infrastructure.

Usually I’ll focus on performance improvements from a server perspective: making sure HTTP requests get dealt with as quickly as possible without causing too much server load. A common strategy is to use caching: use pre-computed values rather than re-compute the same output over and over again.

A tool I love to use for this is Varnish. Last year I did a talk on Varnish at Future Insights Live and I have a 10 minute demo I did for the Future Insights blog.

This tale of server-side browser optimisation starts a few years ago.

The year is 2012 and I’m in London for the Varnish User Group Meeting. And all of the sudden a guy named Ilya Grigorik walks up to me and tells me about PageSpeed, a tool he is working on at Google. It caught my attention and had a look at the website. But it didn’t occur to me what this tool was capable of at the time.

Fast-forward a couple of years and I’m still neck-deep in performance tuning other people’s code on our hosting infrastructure. In most cases results are really good, but every now and then clients complain about the end result which left me confused: how can I site be slow if every individual depending HTTP resource is blazing fast?

I mean, there’s your HTML, some images, a couple of CSS files and a bunch of JavaScript files. The load on the server is good, the output is cached, but still the browser doesn’t manage to render it fast enough. The user experience in that respect is quite poor and that made me realize that performance optimization is an end-to-end deal.


Enter PageSpeed.

PageSpeed is a set of tools designed to analyse and optimize your web performance. I’d like to focus on the optimization part and there’s a module for both Apache and Nginx. You install it, you configure it and boom … profit.

The PageSpeed module essentially does browser optimization at the server side.

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The Ups and Downs of WBAN and the Wearable Market

Article by Jennifer RigginsFuture of Web Apps 2015 Speaker. 

The hottest trend in fashion is the wearable. If your whole world is online, why not your accessories? With Google Glass, Apple’s Watch and FitBit dominating the wearable headlines, the discussion is much more about the consumer viability of these gadgets and much less about the pink elephant. With all in the connected world of the Internet of Things and smart cities, that pink elephant is security and privacy.

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All About Flexbox

Unless you’ve been living in a cave recently, you can’t have failed to notice that web design world is going flexbox crazy. Flexbox, or Flexible Box Layout Module (to give it its full name), is a CSS specification that provides a way of stacking content horizontally or vertically on your webpage. In short, it means no longer having to rely on floats for your layout (which were never designed to be used this way). Flexbox gives us a more logical, flexible method of positioning that is much better suited to the needs of the responsive web.

Although flexbox has been around for a little while, the reason it has captured increased attention in recent months is that it’s now supported in almost all current browsers – meaning you can start using it right now! I’m pretty excited about the new layouts that we’re going to see being built with flexbox in the near future.

Of course, with a multitude of new CSS properties to remember, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s a lot to wrap your head around (pun intended!). So here are some great resources to help you get started with flexbox and build the layouts of the future.

Flexbox Reference


This flexbox guide by Sara Soueidan is thorough, well-explained and straight to the point. I’m always referring back to her CSS Reference whenever I need prompting about a particular CSS property, and this is a handy add-on for flexbox.

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Build Faster Mobile Websites

In May of this year, we were joined by Dean Hume at our monthly free London Web Meet-up. Dean is an author and blogger and is passionate about web performance. He regularly writes articles on all things software development on his blog at deanhume.com and his previous speaking engagements include conferences such as Velocity Conference, Apps World, and Tech Insight.

Dean joined us with his session, Faster Mobile Websites. As he explained:

"As mobile device usage continues to grow, developers need to ensure that their mobile websites are fast and offer a high quality experience for all users. A fast mobile website can be the difference between winning or losing a customer. Developers understand the need for fast, smooth websites - but how do you apply this to a mobile website and the vast amount of mobile devices out there?" 

This talk will cover free tools that developers can use to test and profile the performance of their mobile websites. It will also go over a variety of performance related issues specifically aimed at mobile websites and the techniques that developers can use to overcome them.

Why not take an hour, sit back and enjoy this session and discussion from Dean.

If you want to hear more about this kind of content you should join us at the Future of Web Apps London, taking place this October. Early Birds are now on sale, ending on Friday 19th June. 


How To Convince Your Boss You Should Work From Home - or Rome

Editor's note: This is a guest blog post from Marisa Morby.

Marisa MorbyI worked in HR for several years and for all the upsides of working in an office, I definitely remember the downsides. I had days that I didn't want to roll into my car at 7:00 am and drive to the office in winter morning darkness. I had days when a huge project was due by the end of the week and going into the office to finish the project was probably the least productive thing I could do.

I'm betting you've had days like that, too.

So, what if, when you woke up 20 minutes late on a Monday (no judgments about what you were doing that Sunday night), you could just not go into the office and still get work done?

What if you got to make that choice?

Well, today I made a choice. I went to work in my pajamas... because I work from home. I'm going to show you how you can make that choice, too.

And to do that, you'll have to overcome only one thing: talking to your boss.

But how can you convince your boss to let you work remotely, especially if your company doesn't normally allow telecommuting?

Remote Working Is a Great Idea... for Both of Us

This conversation is first and foremost a negotiation. Your goal is to get an outcome that satisfies both of you, not just satisfies your needs.

So to start this conversation, you'll want to focus on 3 key things:

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Outside the API Box with Ruth John

Sorry everyone, but APIs are old news. They've been around for decades, and they've been a popular topic of discussion for at least three years. They're the sticky thread of the Web. 

What's new news? Doing really cool stuff with APIs. It's not that nobody is currently doing anything cool, obviously that's not true. But have you really thought how you can add magic to your next web app? 

If you're looking for a little inspiration, you're in luck. Here is Ruth John's fantastic talk called "Outside the API Box" from Future of Web Apps London 2014. She discusses web audio APIs, device APIs on smart phones, and most importantly adding some magic to your project. 

Also, she creates fantastic mashups of Thundercats and He-Man set to music with APIs. What more can you ask for? 




Video: Styling and Animating Scalable Vector Graphics

As a front-end developer from Lebanon who has made her name experimenting with cutting-edge CSS, Sara Soueidan’s career has sky-rocketed since I first chatted to her around 18 months ago. In that time she has spoken at conferences the world over, written many informative articles and contributed to Smashing Book #5. Her achievements have earned her nominations for not one, but two Net Awards, for Developer of the Year and Outstanding Contribution. (You can still vote here!)

Sara has earned her reputation for being extremely knowledgeable on all things CSS and SVG, and in this video from Future of Web Design NYC 2014 she talks about styling and animating SVGs for the web. If you’re keen to know more after watching this video, I recommend heading over to the Articles page on Sara’s site, where she’s always posting useful tutorials, or check out some of her Codrops demos. Sara has also written a CSS Reference for Codrops – an indispensible guide for anyone exploring CSS, and something I refer to almost every day!

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