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FullStack 2015: Call for Papers

FullStack 2015

Our second edition of FullStack – the conference for JavaScript, Node & IoT developers – returns June 25th-27th. The conference is independently organised for and by the community.

Following the tremendous response to our Call For Thoughts, and with support from Cian O’Maidin (nearForm), Rob Moran (ARM), Robert Rees (Guardian), Sarah Clarke (Google) and members of our JavaScript, Node & Angular community, we have been able to identify some key themes for this year’s conference:

  • ES6 and io.js
  • App Architectures for Performance, Maintainability, etc.
  • Software rendering
  • Virtual DOM (e.g. React)
  • NodeJS and associated technologies
  • Implementation stories and soft skills
  • Dev Ops/NoOps
  • Microservices
  • AngularJS 2.0 and related topics
  • Hardware
  • Internet of Things

To submit your proposal, head over to the Call for Papers page. We’re especially keen to hear from people who haven’t spoken at the conference before. If you’re worried about presenting alone, feel free to pair with someone on your team. The community is very friendly and this is a safe way to dip your toes in the public speaking arena. If you need some help a great place to start it here.

If you have any questions then please contact us at info@skillsmatter.com.

The CfP will close on March 20th. All presenters will be contacted the week commencing April 6th. 

Please be sure to read the Skills Matter Code of Conduct. It outlines what we expect from our speakers and guests so that we can continue to provide a fantastic environment to learn and share skills for everyone.

Five top Javascript Skillscasts from the Skills Matter archives

 

Gary Short: End to End Javascript (login required)

Gary Short, End to end Javascript

From the 2012 Progressive .NET Tutorials in London Gary Short, Technical Evangelist for Developer Express, looks at how Javascript as a language was beginning to infiltrate all three layers of application development – from JQuery in the front end, through NodeJS in the middle tier, to Map/Reduce functions on back end databases like CouchDB.

Gary looks at some of the gotcha’s within the language before going on to build an exemplar, 3-tier application in Javascript. By the end of the session he demonstrates a much better appreciation for the language and the power it has on all application tiers.


In the Brain of Carlos Ble: Behaviour Driven Rias with Javascript

Carlos Ble came along to Skills Matter a year ago for an In The Brain talk looking at a whole range of topics: why JavaScript is getting so popular, Executable Specifications with Cucumber for the RIA, the Passive View Pattern, event oriented programming and how to test-drive it, test driving promises, technical debt on purpose and the role of the “server side”.


Tamas Piros: An Introduction to AngularJS

In this talk organised by the Mean Stack user group, Tamas Piros came along to Skills Matter HQ with a presentation suitable for everyone (experienced and brand-new), with an introduction to AngularJS describing the basics such as data-binding, expressions and directives.


Jonathan Fielding: Building better experiences with Responsive Javascript

From the archives of another Mean Stack meetup, Jonathan Fielding goes beyond media queries showing what CSS can offer and moving into the realms of responsive Javascript.


Damjan Vujnovic: Backbone JS Unit tests

While most of us will agree that unit tests are an important aspect of development, actually implementing them seems to be a different story. Damjan takes you through your first steps with unit testing in Javascript in this mini workshop, hosted by the Backbone.js London user group.


FullStack – the Node and JavaScript Conference

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This year sees us host our first ever FullStack Conference, bringing together the best in the worlds of NodeJS, Javascript and hackable electronics.

Join world leaders such as Douglas Crockford (creator of JSON), Cian O’Maidin (founder and CEO at nearForm) and Karolina Szczur (Smashing Magazine) for two days jam-packed with talks, demos, and coding.

Book your ticket now!

 

While It’s Compiling: Skills Matter interviews Karolina Szczur

Karolina Szczur is a designer and developer at &yet and contributes to various open source projects such as NodeCopter, AmpersandJS and Otalk.

We caught up with Karolina ahead of her talk at Fullstack: The Node and JavaScript Conference where she will be looking at up-to-date front-end tooling and analysing alternative approaches to compiling, building and automation processes. Here she gives us an insight into her talk topic, the iterative nature of design and her views and thoughts on the Open Source community.

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Your recent work includes roles such as the UX Lead at Nodejitsu, writer and editor at Smashing Magazine for the mobile, coding & design sections, and Front-end Developer/Design Lead at XHTMLized. However, you started out doing photography, via psychology, anthropology and the history of art among other things – what first drew you towards development and design?

Honestly, I don’t recall a specific aha moment. I’ve always been drawn to art and photography—we used to have a darkroom at home when I was younger. As soon as digital photography went somewhat mainstream (or at least it became more accessible to the layperson) I started my adventure with editing in Photoshop 5 (yes, it was the 90s). That quickly led to trying to do more than adjust the colours or exposure. It was at the time when GeoCities was at its peak, so my photography passion escalated to “What if I could have a website too?”. I’d say it was rather natural curiosity and organic growth of interest in interconnected fields.

At the end of a recent article you wrote that design “is by nature an iterative process”, and that contributions from others is essential. Considering your experience in front-end design, can you take us a little further into this iterative process?

It takes an extraordinary amount of craftsmanship to create something that’s in any way timeless. Great design and front-end don’t happen instantly. Research, prototyping, implementation and testing take time. But trying to chase perfection before launching only prevents shipping. Like many designers, I’ve struggled with attempting to achieve some arbitrary ideal, but that kind of thinking doesn’t foster creativity.

Content we design for often changes, sometimes drastically. Web standards evolve. We can’t rely on predictability of either the medium or the technologies we have at hand. Working on the web’s rapidly evolving platform means our work will always be an iterative process, whether or not we choose that. There will always be something to improve or fix and we have to be ready to embrace the absolute lack of perfection.

There has been a lot of discussion lately surrounding the importance of shipping—iteration is empowering because it removes the boundaries of judgemental and perfectionist ideals. Collaboration and contributions from others take this idea even further by allowing room for constant feedback, broader perspective, and fresh ideas.

When working on a project, how do you ensure you maintain ownership whilst still benefiting from the input of others?

Ownership is essential. It doesn’t even have to be designated (“This person is the owner”). Often I see individuals stepping up as leaders. In a way, every single person involved in a certain project is an owner—they are all responsible for its execution and success. When everyone feels like that instead of irrelevant cog in a giant machine, feedback happens naturally.

Building up fearless candor and honest feedback requires zero judgmentalism and allowing others to step up. Making everyone a leader doesn’t take ownership away—it helps us to be better when working towards a mutual goal.

From a practical standpoint: ask for specific input as often as you can and enable anyone to express their opinions if they are willing to do so. Kill bikeshedding.

In your upcoming talk at FullStack you’re looking at the dangers of introducing too many tools in the development process, making everything more complex and time-intensive. How can you tell when your work-flow is as optimised as it’s going to get?

The topic of tooling is as opinionated as debating the superiority of programming languages or promises over callbacks. Automation and optimisation are crucial, both for complex, bigger projects and the small ones—they let us focus on tasks that simply cannot be automated and bring desired levels of uniformity.

The questions I like to ask myself are: Can it be faster? Can I use less tools and more natively available utilities? And last but not least—is it understandable and simple enough to empower my team members and collaborators? I believe that all tools are ultimately created to make our lives easier, thus making sure that it doesn’t introduce cognitive overhead for others is crucial. If it’s standardised, fast, reliable and comprehensible for others—I know I’m home.

It seems that a lot of this comes from the work you’ve been doing on standardisation of front-end tooling at &yet. Can you tell us a little bit more about &yet, and the work you’re doing there?

I’ve been working at &yet for over a year now—it’s been a very humbling experience that allowed me to grow both as a professional and as a person. I’ve been mostly focusing on internal projects, be it our own products or processes for optimising design and development.

In the last months I’ve been busy with a larger endeavour I like to call front-end standardisation. With a hugely multidisciplinary team, where almost everyone can code at some level, it’s important to create an environment that not only enables learning good patterns but also fosters code consistency:

“All code in any code-base should look like a single person typed it, no matter how many people contributed.”

These efforts been mostly focused on creating a code guide and pattern library in a form of small, modular CSS framework. It’s definitely a very challenging project and requires a lot of collaboration and feedback from team members. Standards work is never one person creating arbitrary rules to follow, but an collective effort for reaching consensus of optimal approaches suitable for given teams.

Next adventure? Improvements to our WebRTC-based video chat app— Talky.

&yet describes itself as an Open Web Company, and on your own website you say that you strongly believe in Open Source. What makes Open Source so important in your opinion?

Open Source was always at the core of our interests—we’re strongly involved in the Node, XMPP, WebRTC, and JavaScript communities. We support people who write and maintain libraries that we use on Gittip and we contribute and share everything we can.

It aligns perfectly with our people first approach to everything we do. After all, writing software or designing is just a means to an end. If we can enable others to make the world a better place even slightly by open sourcing our work or paying others to do so, then we will. We are building these things and working on standards for the good of all of us. If that doesn’t make open source important then I have no idea what does.

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&yet have been involved in creating a few community events themselves, and you’ve spoken at conferences such as JSConf EU, the Future of Web Design in Prague and the Frontend Conference in Zurich, amongst many others. How important is the community to the future of Open Source?

The dictionary definition of Open Source focuses on the openness and public availability of the source code. I want to go a little bit further—without people, Open Source dies. With collaboration and contributions projects flourish.

I don’t want to undermine the quality or livelihood of one-person projects (there’s plenty of those on npm) but we’ve learned the need for a community with our recent endeavour, AmpersandJS. We got quick traction and many contributors—one of them already added to the core team. One day we were debating the accessibility of the role attribute and got almost 70 comments from people deeply involved in that matter. We wouldn’t be able to improve the project and push it forward so fast without the help of the community.

Maintaining an Open Source project is a job—it takes a tremendous amount of time and, in a semi-direct way, money. Finding and even fixing bugs is so much harder without others using the software in the wild. I can’t see the future of Open Source without the community surrounding it.

Considering the conferences you’ve been involved in have taken place all over the world, do you see yourself as part of an intrinsically global community, or has your experience been that developers’ goals and missions change depending on where they are?

The idea of global community still feels a little bit like a dream to me. There are a lot of subcommunities, which on one hand is completely natural (the design community, the JavaScript community or the Ruby community) but when those communities become too exclusive and the barriers to entry become discouraging for newcomers it’s hard to talk about a global population of people involved in tech. There’s not only division in specific fields of interest or programming languages but also cultural differences—The Bay Area is so much different from the fairly small town of Kraków where I live, so I can see how priorities could shift depending on the location.

Nonetheless what I would love to see is less judgmentalism, more openness towards beginners as well as inclusivity towards people of colour, women, and other minorities, including people for whom English is not their first language. I certainly don’t feel excluded nor do I try to categorise myself as a part of a certain group, but until we all feel fairly comfortable to say that I can’t see a healthy, global community, there’s still work to do to make everyone feel welcome.


While It’s Compiling is a continuing series of interviews with experts across a range of bleeding-edge technologies and practices, exclusive to Skills Matter. Be sure to subscribe to this blog for future interviews, or follow us on Twitter.

Find out who we’ll be interviewing next, and get a chance to put your questions forward with the hashtag #whileitscompiling.

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This Week at Skills Matter: 11 – 15 August

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Monday:

How do you make Guacamole with Ruby? Dirk Breuer kicks off our week of meetups and with the London Ruby User Group telling you how. Well, not quite – the Guacamole is an ODM for ArangoDB which is used in Rack-based framework, especially Rails. Dirk will talk about the design choices, caveats and his own general experience working on that kind of library. The talk will not be overly technical, and both experts and novices are invited to join.

Joining Dirk, Alex Speller will discuss a gentle introduction to music theory as she shows how to start with nothing but a Ruby interpreter, and generate sine waves, notes, scales, modes, chords, arpeggios and songs, in a way that will be understandable to those who have never touched an instrument before. The talk promises to offer an interesting new perspective – even to those who are already well versed in music theory.

We’re also delighted to welcome Mauro Servienti for an In The Brain talk on designing distributed, scalable and reliable systems. Mauro Servienti, a RavenDB Contributor and CTO & Architect at Managed Designs, will start from the requirements that can drive us to scale and distribute a solution diving into the technical challenges and the obvious advantages that building a distributed and scalable solution brings to the table.

To find out a little bit more about Mauro, and for a quick sneak preview of his talk, be sure to check out the While It’s Compiling interview he did with us a couple of weeks ago.

Tuesday:

The two talks at the London Big-O meetup cover both Big Data and speech technology, as they’re joined by Tom Nielsen (founder of OpenBrain Ltd.) and Catherine Breslin (research engineer at Amazon).

Tom explores the Slow Fourier Transform, as he shows a simple Bayesian statistical model for which the posterior probability distribution is equivalent to the output of the Fourier transform. Come along to learn how this model can be implemented and run in probabilistic programming languages and to discuss some use cases in which it may be advantageous.

Catherine’s talk will focus on algorithms for audio segmentation and clustering, which allow us to answer the question – “Who spoke when?”. Looking at less well-known uses of speech technologies such as indexing audio and video archives (such as lectures, meetings or TV broadcasts), Catherine explores automatic transcription that allows people to search these far more easily than relying on meta data alone.

Infracoders London will be here to ask that you manage your clusters like you manage your machines, as Douglas Triggs (a self described code monkey for Chef) shows how Chef Metal allows you to repeatedly create machines and infrastructures in Chef the same way Chef allows you to repeatedly configure individual machines.

Wednesday:

Mean Stack join us on Wednesday for an evening of unit testing and responsive Javascript. First up Marton Hipszki will be looking at end-to-end unit testing as he takes us from setting up our environments to going down the testing pyramid. Travelling through writing tests, turning user stories to end-to-end tests and creating a solid backed API, byt the end you’ll discover how automated tests pay off.

JonathanFielding will then look at building better experiences with responsive Javascript as he goes beyond what CSS can offer, looking at new browser API’s that enable this, with the matchMedia API that can target specific functionality based on whether a media query matches.

Daniel Bryant and Abraham Marin-Perez join the London Java Community to discuss professional software development and the five shouts of good programmers. Want more information on Professional Software Development and what it takes to be a good programmer? Then join us for an evening with two fantastic speakers.

Thursday:

Rounding off the week, the F#unctional Londoners return, this week with Phil Nash to talk about Functional Scripting. In this session Phil will share with us how (and why) he has come to use F# as his preferred scripting language in place of more traditional options like Python. He’ll cover some practical examples and a few tips and techniques he’s picked up along the way – this talk is suitable for those new to F# and experienced users alike.

This Week at Skills Matter: 14 – 18 July

Develop for Google Glass on Wednesday with the London Android User Group. Photo: Giuseppe Costantino via Flickr Creative Commons

Develop for Google Glass on Wednesday with the London Android User Group. Photo: Giuseppe Costantino via Flickr Creative Commons

There is a wave of excitement sweeping over the Skills Matter office this week in preparation for the arrival of Google Glass, as the London Android User Group host an evening looking at all the possibilities that it can offer for developers. The talks include the opportunity to get hands-on and try out some innovative apps and demos and start to get a feel for what you will need to consider when creating your own apps. Check out the link below for more details and be sure to register!

Here’s what’s coming up at Skills Matter this week!


Monday:

We begin Monday evening with an In The Brain talk from Richard Rodger, COO of nearForm. Richard will be looking at Monolithic Node.js, specifically, how to build large-scale modular Node.js systems by avoiding the monolithic mistakes of the past.

JavaScript lets you do amazing things in very small amounts of code. Node.js lets you write server-side code in tiny mind-size pieces. We call them micro-services. Stop writing monolithic web apps! Break everything apart. Do one thing and do it well. You can run hundreds of Node processes. Come along tonight and let Richard show you how Node.js can free you from all those past mistakes!

If Ruby’s more your thing, then the London Ruby User Group are also here tonight with three discussions from Tom Stuart John Maxwell and Rosa Fox. Kicking things off, Tom will be looking at the newly-released RSpec 3, demonstrating how it has moved beyond the problems of earlier versions and exploring many of the new features. and essential talk for all you BDD developer’s out there!

Next up John will look at how Continuous Deliverance can set your development free, creating a manifesto for how to go from scratch to automated deployment, with a few tales from the trenches of mistakes made along the way.

Rounding off the evening, Rosa Fox will be sharing her experiences of becoming a developer and the huge amount of support she has received from Codebar. Codebar teach programming skills for free to people who are under-represented in the tech industry. You can find out more about the group here.

Wednesday:

Google Glass is arriving to Skills Matter HQ on Wednesday with much excitement, as the London Android User Group join us for an evening of talks and demonstrations from Timothy Jordan and Hoi Lam. If you’ve wanted to get to grips with the fundamentals of developing for Glass, this is your chance! Spaces are limited, so register now!

Thursday:

London Python return on Thursday to investigate how building shallow, transparent layers for your tests makes for better failures, clearer tests, and quicker diagnoses. The talk will be led by Julian Berman, lead developer of the media platform at Magnetic, a frequent contributor to the NYC Python Meetup group and a testing lover.

And finally, the London Software Craftsmanship Community will be helping us to round up the week with a discussion around Lambda Behave & writing IntelliJ plugins for fun and profit. Dmitry Kandalov will give a demo of LivePlugin, an IntelliJ plugin for writing plugins at runtime, followed by Richard Warburton with an introduction to the Lambda Behave framework, explaining why you would want to use it over junit and cover some of its cool features.