Also, Oslo! JavaScript Meetup and Frontend 2010 in Norway

Last weekend, Oslo, Norway was the place to be if you wanted to learn a lot about web design, development and business strategy. A free meetup and the Frontend2010 conference managed to attract an impressive group of experts to speak to developers, designers and managers from all over Scandinavia.

frontend2010 impressions

Before the main event went down a few of the speakers, namely Molly Holzschlag, Paul Irish and Chris Heilmann answered the request of the local Meetup organizers Pål Degerstrøm and Trygve Lie to give some free talks. This allowed locals to get a preview of what was to come at Fronteers 2010 and the speakers who yet had not spoken to a Viking audience to try that out (main hint: without alcohol there won't be any questions from the audience).

Molly talked about the open web as an opportunity, explaining how we started with web standards and now have to understand that the web is more than documents but also means video and audio. She continued to explain that HTML5 as a movement leads the way to a rich media future that is simple to upgrade and improve as it is based on open source technologies. Paul Irish talked about the debugging utilities in Chrome, how they copy Firebug and how they extend the functionality of that indispensable tool for developers. I talked about building web applications with JavaScript and how using progressive enhancement helps you build great things with very few lines of code. The slides are available on Slideshare:

There's also an audio recording of the talk hosted on The Internet Archive.

The Frontend 2010 conference held in the Radisson Blu hotel was a mixture of design, development and business strategy topics and started with the North Norwegian band Frost playing a few of their songs:

The rest of the conference had a few keynote presentations for all and was split up in between into three parallel tracks. Here are the ones I managed to attend:

  • Aral Balkan's talk on "The Art of Emotional Design: A story of pleasure, joy, and delight" enticed the audience to reach for building more human interfaces to our systems. Instead of creating "edible" experiences we should go for "yummy and delicious".
  • Paul Boag's "Your design sucks" dealt with the problem of getting sign-off for our products. He advocated for getting our clients more engaged with the product during the initial stages.
  • Elliot Jay Stocks' "Stop Worrying & Get On With It: Tips and Tricks for designing for the Modern Web" talked about the beauty of modern web design and how we can use bleeding-edge technologies right now if we build forward-thinking code and stop worrying about creating the same experience for every visitor on the web
  • Tove Blomgren and Lisa Lindström's "I want to do winternet" was a wonderful showcase of doing user research with children for building children-focused web sites. It ended with a workshop asking the audience to build a banking application for a six year old
  • Rob Goodlatte and Daniel Burka's "The first 15 minutes - Designing for new-user experiences" talked about the good and bad ideas of login systems and sign-up processes. They showed how giving the user access first and then asking for their details results in much more user loyalty
  • Paul Irish's "Progressive enhancement with HTML5 and CSS3" was what it said on the box, with Paul showing a lot of great tools that help you use the technologies of the near future right now
  • Jina Bolton's "CSS Workflow" explained how you can build maintainable CSS solutions that are pragmatic approaches to the market of today, balancing delivery and support for outdated technology
  • Nick La's "Beautiful Design is All About The Details" showed how you can use simple design and CSS tricks to deliver much nicer experiences for our users.

The last speaking slot of the conference belonged to me and I covered it with a fire and brimstone talk about taking the great new technologies we heard about and bringing them to all of the web market instead of just preaching to the choir. It featured the metamorphosis of mild-mannered Chris Heilmann to the Norse God of Internet Explorer 6 must die:

Chris Heilmann the mild mannered speakerChris Heilmann the revengeful norse god

The slides are available on Slideshare:

The organisers of Frontend 2010 did a great job filming the whole event (and live streaming it to other locations) and you will be able to see the videos in the near future.

All in all I had an excellent time in Norway and can only recommend other people to go and speak for and with developers there - it is a market full of pragmatism and enthusiasm.\