The best conference in a long time

This year, I was fortunate enough to be able to join the Chrome Dev Summit in San Francisco. It was great to be able to discuss issues, plans and more with the actual people behind the technologies we are using daily, as well as meeting with peers from around the globe.

All talks I attended were well prepared and very relevant. In particular, a small handful contained information important for me in the work I do currently:

“What Comes Next for the Web?” — by @Paul_Kinlan

As usual, Paul managed to get through days worth of material in about an hour. If you care at all about what’s around the corner for the web, his talk is a must see.

“The ‘Progressive’ in Progressive Web Apps” by @patrickkettner

In a world where most tech media and hipster developers are focusing on the latest and greatest tech in bleeding edge browsers, it was a joy to hear Patrick knock some common sense into the discussion by showing how ‘presumed dead’ but widely implemented browser technologies can be used in combination with the new and fancy to reach a wider audience — especially those with slightly older devices and browsers.

“Polymer, Web Components, and you!” by @TaylorTheSavage & @notwaldorf

It was no secret that most people at the summit would agree that Web Components (new site in beta) are the way forward — especially if working on longer lived solutions that can’t afford to have framework XYZ change under the hood every year. Taylor and Monica did a great job of introducing Web Components and Polymer and showing how easy it is to get productive in no time.

“Progressive Performance” — by @slightlylate
Even though there are some very nice features in DevTools, when developing for mobile browsers — as Alex demonstrates — nothing beats testing on real devices and preferably, in their natural environment (e.g. on a flaky 3G connection). I am sure this is an eye opener to some of the people developing mobile websites on their high powered desktops without actual field testing.

The Browser Vendor Panel session with @aerotwist, where we got a chance to ask some questions, was also quite interesting — although it would have been nice to hear from Apple when Progressive Web Apps will run on iDevices. Most importantly, though: I got a mug!!! ;)

It was very valuable to me to be able to give direct feedback to e.g. the Polymer team on what I see as potentially lacking for inexperienced developers and the void left after the removal of Chrome Apps on non ChromeOS devices (the chrome.serial API in particular) with the guys currently doing WebUSB in Chrome as well as their counterparts in the Microsoft Edge team (Apple was hiding — it would have been nice to have a chat with them too on the future of the Safari browser ;)).

Other conferences I have been to, have not provided the same productive atmosphere as they have either been too big (e.g. Google IO) or only include e.g. front end developers. This however, has the perfect combination of browser creators, front and back end developers, as well as people involved in the official specifications — and everyone I met were very accessible and open minded during the discussions we had.

All in all, the Chrome Dev Summit gives a unique opportunity to connect with some very sharp people — all related to web development — and I hope to be able to attend again next year.

/ Lars