Web Directions Code ‘18

Web Directions is a name that, over the years, has become synonymous with top-class conferences, workshops and networking events related to the web. Web Directions runs 5+ conferences every year and each conference is tailored to a targeted audience. Last week, Web Directions Code made its appearance for the 6th time since its inception in 2012. Code is designed for front end engineers and web developers. Code leaders, another spectacular conference, ran in conjunction with Code which is exclusively for engineering leaders, and those aspiring to step up to leadership roles within technology teams.

Although the principal theme of the conference was front-end technologies, the conference also covered several concepts like performance, architecture, JavaScript, emerging technology and practices for the web

 

Day 1 – Code Leaders

Sara Soueidin, one of the many great speakers, started off the day with a session on the current front-end landscape and how JS frameworks would often steal the much-deserved attention from CSS and SVG. Her talk was followed by Mozilla platform engineer Marcos Caceres who discussed the hidden superpowers of the browser that developers often tend to overlook. A coffee break took place after which brought upon an opportunity for attendees to socialise and network over small delicacies.

The remaining hours of the day revolved around talks on how to effectively manage and lead teams, build and mentor juniors into superstars, ethical tech innovations and last and most interesting of all –“Unravelling unconscious bias” by Emma Jones.

 

Day 2 and 3 – Code

With almost 300 tickets sold around Australia and New Zealand, Code was anticipated to be one heck of a conference.. and it did not disappoint. Around 8am attendees were walking in with their suitcases, some with their backpacks and they were all welcomed with the bitter-sweet aroma of roasted coffee beans that lingered in the air courtesy of the barista. By quarter to 9am, the hall came to life with the hustle and bustle of all the excited attendees, some queuing up to register, some lining up for a hot cup of coffee while the others chit-chatted with their peers about the talks they were most looking forward to.

Sara was once again given the privilege of kickstarting the day with a talk that covered CSS and the UX. Although this was quite similar to her previous talk, attendees still tuned in and soaked up all the information that Sara had to share.

The morning break commenced after, which saw attendees nibbling on mini pies and exchanging opinions on Sara’s talk. It was quite interesting to meet and chat with developers from an array of different fields including energy, real estate, finance, communication and lots of startups. Employees proudly represented their companies by showing off the company’s apparels (not unusual for tech conferences). Erin Zimmer’s talk on JavaScript event loops must’ve been quite exciting as almost all the attendees disappeared into the conference room a few minutes before the break ended.

The talks were all quite diverse but my favourite talks from the day were “A new frontier for web design” by Hui Jing and “Functional CSS yesterday” by Craig Sharkie. Both the talks were insightful and focused on how “modern” the web has become and how we can leverage different tools to make the most of it. Throughout the day, attendees were seated at round tables which accommodated for 6-7 others, and a facilitator ensured relationships and connections were established and meaningful conversations took place.

The final session for the first day concluded at 5pm and as attendees walked out of the conference room, they were greeted with drinks and tasty little bites – it was happy hour! After the networking drinks session concluded, gold ticket holders were invited to have dinner with the speakers. A nice way to wrap up the first day.

The second day took into account the attendees and speakers who stayed till late the night before, so it started an hour after at 9am. Day 2 flowed just as smoothly with great talks, positive vibes and delicious delights. It was great to see that the event organisers took into consideration the specific dietary requirements of the attendees. Here’s an account of what Reza, who’s a senior front-end developer, had to say about his first Web Directions conference experience – “Except from one commercial talk on Apollo GraphQL, there was an abundance of relevant talks on frontend web development. Most of the speakers were experts in their fields. Web Direction Code included talks on numerous topics ranging from dynamic theming in CSS and SVG and meaningful performance metrics to functional HTML and scaling frontend development. Sara Soueidin’s and Mandy Michael’s talks were my most favourite ones. I enjoyed the drinks at happy hour and awesome coffee was served in both days. I thought the Feedback app that allowed attendees to text-in their thoughts and questions for the talks was quite interesting and a fun way to get them engaged.”

Web Directions is not only about sharing amazing content, it’s also about sharing experiences, ideas, making connections and more. A massive shoutout to John Alsopp and the organising committee who worked hard to bring together an excellent panel of speakers and orchestrate a memorable conference. I’m looking forward to their next conference, Web Directions Summit, this year.


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