The Velocity conference has been on my radar since I started learning web development. I can still recall the first talk I saw on YouTube: Ilya Grigorik was speaking about the Critical Rendering Path. Just a few years can make a lot of difference in IT trends, that’s why conferences like Velocity are so anticipated in our industry, as they usually give a good forecast of what's coming in the near future.
I tend to follow 2-3 main conferences online, mainly the Velocity and the JS Conf series, so I was very excited when I received the news that I won a ticket to Velocity Amsterdam via Women Who Code ticket giveaways. As a front end developer, I planned to attend the web performance talks and some of the design talks also seemed interesting. I was excited to get to know new technologies and tools I could use in my work to enhance front end performance.
On the first day, the keynotes kicked off the conference, and they had some interesting insights into the future of the web. Scott Jenson started with presenting about the physical web, and how web performance is a key factor to reaching users in new ways. Another interesting keynote was the debut of SNYK - an acronym for ‘So Now You Know’ - a free tool that lets you check 3rd party dependencies for vulnerabilities.
One of my favourite keynotes was Anna Shipman’s talk about building a platform for governmental web pages. She works at Government Digital Service in the UK, and is part of the team who made the new GOV.UK site possible. Now, her team is working on migrating over 800 governmental services to a platform that will benefit departments by simplifying their digital presence on the application and hosting level.
During the speakers section on both days there seemed to be a couple of keywords rising from the talks. Microservices of course was one of them, as Velocity is partly about devops too. When it came to measuring performance, RUM and synthetic monitoring were compared, with the conclusion being that you really should use both. Also, on the front end, it seems like we’ll have to get more familiar with ServiceWorker, as many speakers suggested that it will bring a better, more optimized experience for the user.
I do have some personal favourites in the performance scene that I was really happy to meet in person: Katie Kovalcin presented about designing with performance in mind in her talk Path to Performance. As I also follow her podcast with the same title, it was really exciting to see her present in person, even if I have seen her talk before. Tammy Everts from Soasta was signing the sneak preview of her book ‘Time Is Money’ both days - and as I found several of her articles extremely valuable, I was very keen on meeting her in person. It was so great to talk to her for a couple of minutes, and pick her brain about the upcoming trends and news in web performance!
I also met Mandy Waite during office hours - eg. lunch time - , who is a developer advocate at Google, and she was very helpful both in giving me some tips about public speaking as well as suggesting back end services for front end developers. Even though our main interests might be different, I decided to attend her talk on Friday afternoon, and didn’t regret it at all. Her presentation style was inspiring, and I got really amazed by how I could follow along such a complex topic as working with Kubernetes - a platform for managing containers.
The great thing about conferences is that you don’t always learn what you were expecting to learn. For example, I never thought I’d enjoy a talk about an orchestration system, still, Mandy’s talk opened my eyes to something that I wouldn’t usually consider. I also had the chance to meet some of my favourite people who I previously only knew virtually - and to meet others, with the same interests, who came to learn and share knowledge, and without whom this community would not exist. Thanks again Women Who Code and O’Reilly for making this possible, it was an awesome 2 days!