[Conference #3] - OggCamp 18

[Conference #3] - OggCamp 18

I first found out about this unconference only two days before it was to take place, from May whom I met at BSides Manchester (my last conference) two days prior. It came up in conversation since she was on the crew and was asking another friend of hers if they were attending.

Initially, I was unsure whether to attend or not. Tickets were free, since the conference is about open source, although I would have to buy a return ticket to Sheffield and two if I wanted to attend both days (which would still be cheaper than finding a hotel/AirBnB).

The night before the conference, I bought my train ticket. I was a little unsure about what to expect, especially since at that point the schedule was still being refined and only had it on the day. However, I did see on their Twitter that they were accepting talk suggestions.

I had been working on a workshop titled "Single Page Web App: Manchester Tech Meetups" which I would run for web students at my university, requested by my course leader. I hoped to run it in the 2018-19 Academic Year, demonstrating thinking in an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) way and using RESTful API calls in JavaScript with DOM Manipulation, but I had yet to run it.

The morning came, and I had only three hours of sleep, but I got ready for my train to Manchester Piccadilly and then from there to Sheffield. I worked on my presentation during the nearly hour-long train ride, unfortunately not on a table seat (which had all been reserved).

I got a little lost since it was my first time in that part of Sheffield, but I arrived in time to connect to the Wi-Fi, see May, check the schedule, and do some networking before the Welcome Talk. There were three tracks I wanted to attend on Saturday, two before my track. The first one was "Infrastructure as Cake," but the second one was my highlight, Fast, Free and Beautiful: Open Source Image Delivery Techniques.

Fast, Free and Beautiful: Open Source Image Delivery Techniques

This talk was given by Doug Sillars, whom I found out through Twitter knows Harry Roberts (whom I know from a Front-end Performance Masterclass I attended by him at The Shed). Some similar points came across, along with other pieces of knowledge I knew beforehand, although Doug went into more specific optimization techniques.

Doug started off with statistics on why it is important to optimize images and how it increases load time, thus leading to user loss. He mentioned that a 100ms difference in load time caused Walmart and Amazon to lose 1% revenue in 2001.

One of the first methods to combat this was compression, where a setting of 85 is usually optimal—finding the right balance between image compression and quality. Doug then discussed different image formats, specifically mentioning webp (by Google) as one of the most optimized formats, gaining more support from browsers.

I was already familiar with a few of the next methods, but when it came to Lazy Loading, I had only heard and seen it implemented but never thought of implementing it myself. The concept involves only loading images that are in view of the user initially, saving loading time for those below the fold (having placeholder images until the user scrolls to them). This technique currently requires web developers to implement one of the JavaScript solutions available, although Doug did mention that it is being tested to be built in natively.

The next unfamiliar method to me was Responsive Breakpoints. It involves loading different images for different screen sizes, rather than using a single image that would display on both mobile and desktop. This way, unnecessary data and rendering time are avoided, as many pixels would not be used when rendered on a mobile device.

Lastly, there is a website/service called Cloudinary, which serves as "the image back-end for web and mobile developers—a comprehensive solution for all your image-related needs."

Single Page Web App

After all of this, it was time for my talk. I made sure my slides were fine, my laptop was charged, and I did a bit of networking with Tanya before heading up to the sixth floor where my room was.

I had an audience of roughly 15, which wasn't bad for a last-minute scheduled talk. Unfortunately, during the elevator ride, the Wi-Fi cut out on my laptop, causing API calls to break. I had to log back in, and I decided to skip the live demo since I only had 25 minutes to present my talk, including questions.

Compared to my previous presentations, I would say this one was not as smooth. However, I received good feedback, and it was quite useful for a few people, especially those who were getting into web development.

Socializing

After this track, it was time for lunch, so most of us went out to various places to grab a bite to eat. During the rest of the day, I focused on networking and discussing web-related topics. It was a bit repetitive, but it calmed down as the night approached.

After the conference, I spent the rest of the night with May and a few of her friends. We had a laugh, talked about security, and ended up in Gourmet Burger Kitchen before I had to catch my last train at 22:11.

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