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  1. Broken promises of HTML5 and what's next? – a presentation at HTML5DevConf

    Yesterday Mozilla attended the HTML5 Developer Conference in San Francisco, California to give a keynote presentation. The very packed schedule of the conference already covered a lot of topics around the subject matter, which is why we considered it worth while to contribute with a talk that told tales from the trenches of advocating HTML5 instead of going into technical details. Under the title of “Broken Promises of HTML5 and what’s next?” we reported some of the findings we had when talking to press and people outside the web enthusiast sphere.

    Keynote audience

    The Slides of the talk are available online and there is a screencast of the live presentation on YouTube.

    The organisers of HTML5DevConf promised to release the video recording in the next few weeks.

    Here are a few of the points covered to make it more interesting for you to check the 50 minute talk, in case you need more incentive:

    Following the press around HTML5 lately we get more and more the impression that we are on the downward slope of the hype cycle about the cool new tech HTML5. The honeymoon period where every shiny HTML5 demo was heralded as the coolest thing and the future of the internet is over and business analysts and developers start feeling disappointed by what HTML5 is portrayed as. A lot of the things that get us as developers excited have been done in Flash years ago and performed better – even on the hardware of the day. The main mistake we seem to make when advocating HTML5 is not think about what makes it unique and how it is different than other approaches to bring higher fidelity to the web.

    This talk covers a few ideas we can follow to turn the disappointment around. We will soon deliver a more in-depth article about this and are in talks with business analysts to make that message clearer. Some of the points mentioned here are allowing for re-use of existing knowledge with tools to get Flash developers to create HTML5 content, convert C++ to HTML5 for games using Emscripten (with Bananabread as the flagship demo) and in general not to think about what we can add but instead concentrate on what we can not remove to make our products web products and apps instead of simulating native and mobile apps.

    It is up to us to move HTML5 from a flash in the pan to a productive platform, and we can do that by re-using existing knowledge and merge it with the web ideals and the basic principles of HTML5. We will not succeed by trying to replace other platforms that have a lot of knowledge and perform very well indeed.

  2. Mozilla at Smashingconf 2012

    Smashingconf this week attracted 350 web enthusiasts from all over to come to Freiburg, Germany. Workshops and talks by 16 international experts and speakers promised a good overview over what is happening right now.

    Overall the conference was a great experience. Asking attendees why they came to the conference they said they wanted to learn what is new on the web. The mix of speakers and topics covered in the two days should have gotten them well on the way. Watch out for the videos of the event being released soon and meanwhile check the conference coverage on Lanyrd

    The very obvious thing that made this conference different was the location. Freiburg is a very idyllic German city and the conference was held in a building that looked like something out of a fairytale from the outside and sported plush red chairs and chandeliers on the inside.

    Historisches Kaufhaus / FreiburgChristian Heilmann

    Mozilla’s part in the proceedings was sending Chris Heilmann to give the closing keynote of the conference.

    The keynote slides are available in HTML format. Simply click any to go into presentation mode and move with the cursor keys. Fore more information stay in list mode and roll over each slide to see the notes.

    There is also a screencast of the talk on YouTube complete with bell sounds of the nearby church.

    Smashing Magazine also published the original notes as a post. The event was also filmed and the videos will be out soon. Mozilla projects covered and shown in the talk are: Webmaker, Firefox OS, Developer tools, X-Tag, Emscripten/Bananabread and Thimble.The initial response was pretty overwhelming. Here are the immediate tweets.

    We thank the Smashingconf organisers for asking us to come and have no qualms about doing it again next year.

  3. Selling HTML5 to a consulting company

    I just spent a weekend in a resort in Mallorca. I was invited by an IT consultancy from Frankfurt to join them at their off-site and give a two hour (re)introduction to HTML5.

    The audience and the challenge

    The consultancy is very successful in what they do and are very much a Java / native code shop. Their clients are insurance companies, banks and the like which means the topic of HTML5 came up only peripherally in their discussions. With more and more clients looking for iPad apps and other demands for cross-platform solutions they wanted to know more about HTML5, what is possible and what can be done.

    This sounded like a great opportunity to go out of my comfort zone and see how good my skills as an advocate for web technology are. Ever the optimist, I also considered this a great opportunity to inspire in a field in which IT is used to make a difference to the lives of a lot of people. So I said yes.

    The presentation

    Without any preparation (there was no time), without knowing who the audience will be (turns out it was the whole company, including non-technical employees and some contractors) and being asked to deliver the talk in German I found myself in front of a room with about 70 people, set up my computer (which failed to do so the first time, it will go to the farm of old computers soon), happily realised that the WIFI worked and went right into it.

    Instead of talking about HTML5 in isolation, I thought it best to show off the web as a development platform and the advancements that happened in the last few years that may not be known. Turns out this was exactly what was needed and I’ve had a lot of 1:1 conversations later on with people who want to seriously give HTML5 a go. Their idea is converting some of the tools used now in the company to move from Java and fixed-size, Photoshop driven interfaces to more flexible solutions using HTML5 and JavaScript. Score, I’d say.

    What I’ve done

    Seeing that it was more or less an open 2.5 hours show and tell with questions from the audience I have no notes. So here is a list of the things I showed and mentioned which had quite some impact and the techniques how I presented them.

    Laying the groundwork

    I started by explaining the need for HTML5 (document to app transition) and that with a unified and defined HTML parser, we finally have a level playing field across browsers. I explained that a face to face comparison of HTML5 apps and native apps is not fair as the performance of browsers and webviews is hindered in many cases by hardware and the OS. Which means that browers can not use the same resources native code can which of course is a difference in performance. That said, web apps can be more nimble and update much easier than native ones.

    In the spirit of pre-emptive writing I also took the Mark Zuckerberg quote from TechCrunch disrupt a few weeks ago and explained that he didn’t say that HTML5 was a mistake but that the way they approached it was. I also pointed out his quote stating that Facebook’s number of mobile web users are more than the ones of Android and iOS combined.


    I think the most impactful part of the presentation was that I didn’t prepare any slides but used the browser to show everything to the audience. I used Mozilla Thimble to show live code and the immediate impact of my changes. I used the developer tools in Firefox and Chrome to show how to change a live site and try out some of the new technology in existing pages instead of showing demos that are impressive but don’t apply to the audience.

    Platform demos

    All in all my aim was to show that HTML5 is an interesting thing to bet on as it is part of the web ecosystem. This means instead of starting with code I showed:

    • Collaborative editing using online editors
    • GitHub as a place to get code, meet other developers and submit fixes
    • Developer tools of browsers to show that now we can test and fix things outside of a code first, deploy, find bug development cycle
    • MDN as a resource for demos and documentation
    • to test on browsers and operating system you don’t have

    Technology demos

    The technology demos were simple, but I got lots of good feedback on them as I kept them relevant.

    • Introducing HTML5 form elements and showing that simply adding a number attribute and a required attribute means that this field will always be a number and users can not send the form (in the browser) without satisfactorily having filled the field. This means there is no need for writing client-side validation any longer which is a big headache for non-JavaScript enthusiasts.
    • Adding a video element in the page, playing it with a right-click, adding the controls attribute to add controls and adding a CSS transformation (rotation for example) to prove that video is just another page element in a HTML5 world.
    • Showing a simple example on how to use MediaQueries to do responsive designs and showing the Responsive Mode in the Firefox developer tools
    • Showing a simple hover state in CSS and adding a transition to prove that these days you can make things look smooth very simply without having to add another JavaScript
    • Showing how to progressively enhance a simple HTML document using some CSS transitions to make it look much more engaging.
    • Showing the simplicity of local storage (using the 123done task list example) and explaining how AppCache and manifest files can turn a web page into a locally cached app.
    • Showing how easy it is to plot something in the page using Canvas and explaining that canvas using drag and drop can also allow for image cropping and thumbnail generation.
    • Showing that file uploaders can be much more convenient for the end users these days with the Flickr image uploader as an example
    • Showing how to make a video interact with web content using Mozilla Popcorn – explaining that this could be used for interactive training materials

    Near future gazing

    As requested by the audience I also showcased some of the near-future parts of web tech:

    • The toycam demo explaining that it uses WebRTC which can be used to get video input and manipulate it using WebGL live in the browser. I also pointed out that WebRTC is not limited to that but could be used for all kind of other data streaming tasks
    • Firefox OS, how it is architected and why we do it
    • Mozilla’s Web APIs and how they are used in Firefox OS (showing the FFOS desktop build, playing with the dialer and showing that even they keytones are created using JavaScript)
    • Explaining Persona and how it allows you to simply verify users on the web without having to ask for a username and password
    • Showing off the Banabread demo and explaining how it was done by converting C++ code using Emscripten
    • Showing the Mozilla App store preview and how an HTML5 app can be installed natively and run from the Application folder and full-screen

    Your turn

    All in all I have to say this was thoroughly enjoyable and I got out of it with a sense of satisfaction of having narrowed the gap between the webdesign world and the world of corporate IT a bit more. Give it a go, too, I am sure you’ll enjoy it.

  4. Mozilla at OpenReaktor Warsaw – Firefox OS and Open Business

    As a warm-up for Mozcamp happening in Warsaw, Poland this weekend the Mozilla DevEngage team together with Reaktor Warsaw gave around 100 developers and entrepreneurs a first look at Firefox OS and the upcoming infrastructure Mozilla is working on to enable Open Business.

    Chris Heilmann and Brian King had an hour to bring our messages across before the crowd descended on the Pizza and drinks and more informal but not less animated, smaller discussions ensued.

    Reaktor filmed and live-streamed the session, and you can also watch the recording online.

    The slides to our talks The road to a truly open mobile operating system and Open Web, Open Business are available on the web.

    All in all this was a great evening and we want to thank OpenReaktor for having us and doing a great job in streaming and producing the recording. We had a lot of engaging discussions with the attendees and see what else we can do in the future.

  5. Push the Web Further at Hackanooga

    If you enjoy pushing the limits of the open web platform, we want you to join us September 14-16 in The Gig City (Chattanooga, Tennessee) for a weekend of good food, good friends, and—most importantly—a unique opportunity to play on a citywide, 1 gigabit per second network.

    What happens when you hack with WebGL, WebRTC, Websockets and video—the coolest, newest open web technologies—on a network 200 times faster than the typical residential internet connection? What kinds of apps become possible?

    Travel grants

    If you’re already sold, head on over and apply. We’re awarding a number of grants for you to hang and hack in the American south. Your flight, meals, and accommodation will be paid for. And you’ll leave having made something cool—something only possible on a gigabit network.

    Just take 5 minutes to fill out this form, and we’ll get back to you by August 21st.

    If you need some convincing, read on.

    No more constraints

    If you’ve ever written software for mobile or web, you know all about constraints.

    Sometimes those constraints are plain as day. You can’t do heavy computation on a mobile device, because they’re relatively slow and you’ll quickly drain the battery. Apps written for mobile should be lean.

    Sometimes the constraints are more implicit. They’re just baked into your understanding of how development works.

    In a web app, you have a client and server. The connectivity between client and server is scarce, so you want to minimize the data traveling across the network. You don’t want your users sitting around waiting for an app to load, or for a video to buffer. Apps written for web should be frugal with data transfer.

    But if all of your users are on fast networks—think 100Mbps to 1Gbps—these sorts of constraints start to matter less.

    On a superfast network, it doesn’t really matter where the data lives in the network. It can travel so fast that it’s virtually instantaneous. It can travel faster than your computer can write the data to your hard drive.

    On a superfast network, it also doesn’t matter where the computation happens. It’s already the case with cloud computing that the very computation-heavy tasks and storage take place remotely. Your computer is just a thin client to the network. Think about what that would mean on a gigabit network—your entire operating system, identity and filesystem could be rapidly accessed from anywhere on the network.

    Real-time crunching of very heavy data could happen anywhere on the network. Anything, really—could happen anywhere, on the network.

    Hacking for public benefit

    OK, so what? New paradigms are fun to think about, but none of this matters until it has an impact on real people.

    That’s what US Ignite is all about—showing what kinds of apps are only possible on gigabit networks. Demonstrating that if the U.S. becomes more competitive in broadband & networks, people will be happier, healthier and more well informed.

    On the ideas front, we have a massive brainstorm underway around the question of “what’s possible with gigabit networks.”

    And on the coding front, we’ve already held the first Ignite hack days in San Francisco, with some interesting results. Hackanooga is already gearing up to be a blast.

    How it will work

    We have room for 80 participants. This is not a spectator sport—everyone who attends must contribute to coding, designing, and testing real prototype applications.

    Between now and the event, we’ll work together to form teams around specific app ideas. We’ll try to pick app ideas on which we can make substantial progress over the course of the weekend. If you want to work on a specific type of problem, or a specific technology, let us know.

    We’ll prepare your team as much as possible, rounding up resources, shoring up expertise, and connecting you with local institutions as appropriate.

    When you arrive, you’ll meet the whole Hackanooga class of 2012; eat, drink and be merry. Then, we’ll get out of your way so you can make.

    You’ll have access to wired, 1Gbps connectivity, local cloud infrastructure, and lots of coffee. We’ll show off all the results at the end.

    Work from this weekend can evolve to become submissions in the Mozilla Ignite apps challenge, with nearly $500k in awards for your prototype apps. It’s a great way to meet team members & partner institutions to get a head start on the challenge.

    Apply now!

    We’ll be flying around 10 participants from all over to attend Hackanooga. If you’re interested, apply here!

    Not only is Chattanooga an awesome place to visit, but you’ll be charting a far-out future for the web, pushing today’s technologies on tomorrow’s networks.

    If you have any questions, shoot us an email at ignite AT mozillafoundation DOT org, and make sure to follow @mozillaignite for the latest news.

  6. Keynote on Firefox OS at Campus Party Recife

    Chris Heilmann and I just finished our keynote at Campus Party Recife in this lovely Brazilian coastal town. It is amazing to see the enthusiasm and momentum around Firefox OS in the local community.

    By partnering with Telefonica and their Open Web Device initiative the reception was that much that the organisers had to double the amount of seats for the keynote and seeing that Brazil was facing Belarus in the olympic football challenge at the same time that is saying quite a lot!

    A screencast of the talk is available and there is also a live video of the whole presentation available on YouTube:

    Led by Chris with some added points on the APIs themselves from me, the presentation started with a short bit about Mozilla’s history and open values and traced the very fast evolution of our Web APIs toward a hardware-accessible web.

    In the same spirit with which we handled the browser wars before, Mozilla are taking on the Mobile OS lockout developing countries like Brazil are facing right now.

    Yummy things not for all

    Simply put, if you can’t afford it, you can’t have it! And an Android phone is alot more expensive for a consumer in a developing country like Brazil than it is for North Americans or Europeans.

    By enabling mobile application and content development using technologies like HTML5, CSS and JavaScript, Mozilla aims for critical mass in the developer space – as there are much lower barriers to entry: any webpage can be an app! It’s “write once run anywhere” for real, and it’s already been around a while.

    The slide deck of our talk is available on Slideshare with notes and a version without notes.

    During the Question and Answer session typical questions centered around “How will this shake up the existing market?” and “Will this run on my device?”  While we’re currently limited by the practical and proprietary limitations of porting hardware abstraction layers, we hope that, for starters, by driving a critical mass of developers toward Open Web Apps and Firefox OS, that we can affect the current of change in this space.

    John Hammink on stage

    As with all things Mozilla, this followed up with an appeal for community. Yes, we need YOU, to help us test, to help us develop, to help us translate, and to evangelize in your language.

    To this end we finished with an appeal to join the Evangelism Reps program (which yours truly is test driving at the moment!)

  7. Dr.Seuss and Persona – Mozilla at Webvisions Barcelona

    Last week Webvisions, a 3 day conference covering everything UX and web lured a few hundred enthusiasts to the sunny Barcelona. Mozilla sent Crystal Beasley and Chris Heilmann to talk about logging into the web with Persona and the future of the web.

    Crystal gave a workshop on login systems and how to improve them and a talk on 13 signs your UX needs an exorcism.

    Having watched The Lorax on the flight over, and seeing that the audience consisted of a lot of parents we thought it a good idea to write the “Future of HTML5 and the web” talk in the style of Dr. Seuss so people can read to their kids and reflect on what we tried to convey at the same time. Many thanks also to Eric Shepherd for some rhyming help.

    Here are just the rhymes with all the links (also available on GitHub):

    1. There’s a big web out there, 
      it’s huge – I tell you, 
      it spans the whole world
      but it was boring and blue
    2. Then change came about, 
      in the shape of a fox
      it was cunning and open
      and it broke all the locks.
    3. Others showed up,
      and joined the good fight
      a singer, an adventurer
      and a shiny new knight.
    4. These all played together
      and spoke the same tongue
      which brought back old players,
      to join them in song. 
    5. A standard was set, 
      and it changed a few things,
      a richer web for apps
      was the promise it brings.
    6. Bah, standards! Who needs them?
      Some flashy ones said, 
      till a phone that was smart,
      kicked them out of its bed.
    7. We moved past one standard, 
      as web work is richer,
      so HTML5 and friends,
      paints a much better <picture>.
    8. Things that are fun
      should be shiny and cool,
      that’s why the new standards
      bring many a new tool.
    9. Watching and hearing,
      are what people like to do.
      Using <audio> and <video> is simple,
      and you can do it, too.
    10. Both of them are web-native,
      which is a reason to clap.
      They can interact with other content,
      and Mozilla Popcorn makes that a snap.
    11. If beats and frequencies are
      what you need to play,
      check the Web Audio API
      it gives you just that – even today.
    12. To play nice with batteries,
      use requestAnimationFrame(),
      don’t let it stop you
      that it has such a long name.
    13. 3D graphics are thrilling,
      as gamers will tell,
      we now have that on the web
      and it is called WebGL.
    14. Water goes everywhere you pour it,
      just ask Chris about his Macbook Air :(
      MediaQueries allow you be as fluid
      and respond instead of despair.
    15. Natural movements are smooth,
      just open your eyes.
      With CSS animation, transforms and transition,
      you can mimic this – nice!
    16. “The web means you need to be online”,
      I hear smartypants gloat,
      well, we have offline storage,
      so there – take your coat.
    17. Got a cam and some friends,
      and do you want to chat?
      WebRTC is what you need,
      even to show off your cat.
    18. Rhymes sometimes don’t come easy,
      as you just became aware.
      So let’s just move ahead quickly,
      this was just too much to bear.
    19. An artist needs a <canvas>,
      and HTML5 gave us that.
      Read, write and convert pixels,
      All in the client, it’s mad!
    20. “We don’t have rich elements!”
      many people complain,
      Use Web Components with X-Tag
      and create them – easy to maintain.
    21. Passwords are tough, 
      it is easy to see, 
      so allow login with emails,
      using BrowserID.
    22. The web is a mess,
      with third party buttons abound.
      Web Intents make them pointless,
      let’s not have them around.
    23. By design HTML5 is forgiving,
      its parser is great.
      It didn’t want to break the web,
      so let’s not break it in its stead.
    24. Course you can write weird things,
      and they will work – there’s no doubt.
      But will they be readable by others?
      This is what it’s about.
    25. You don’t create for yourself,
      or your friends who are the same.
      You develop for the next guy,
      so make sure you’re not to blame.
    26. You don’t jump in a river,
      if you don’t know its depth.
      On the web using Modernizr,
      should be your first step.
    27. Give new stuff to new players,
      and use it to enhance.
      Don’t support when it’s not needed
      IE6 walks – it can’t dance!
    28. With a vendor prefix browsers tell you
      “this is not ready”.
      So by all means, give them a go,
      but don’t expect to go steady
    29. And those prefixes vanish,
      you mustn’t forget!
      End with a prefixless version,
      It’s your very best bet.
    30. So we ask you to help us,
      build a web that will last.
      Be future friendly and look forward,
      and stop building for the past.
    31. The web is on phones,
      tablets, computers, TVs.
      We have to move it forward.
      or else our existence will cease.
    32. Hardware that is locked up,
      is not what we are about,
      so check out Firefox OS,
      if you like the web – you will like it – no doubt.
    33. Last but not least,
      if you find something’s wrong
      please file a bug and tell us,
      this is how things get done.
    34. So there you have a lot to play with,
      check out and share.
      We really want you to do that,
      come on, show us you care.
    35. Unless someone like you
      cares a whole awful lot,
      nothing is going to get better.
      It’s not.
    36. So well done for reading and listening,
      and going great lengths,
      that’s all we got time for today,
      so good-bye and thanks!

    Encountering a lot of hardware problems we couldn’t do a recording of the talk so I made a screencast of the presentation available on YouTube.

    Alternatively, you can also have a video version with just the rhymes

    Other formats for you to download and use:

    The audience reaction was very positive and we found out that when you rhyme your talk it flows much faster. The 45 minute slot was 20 minutes of our talk and another 25 minutes explaining in detail what we covered in a Q&A.

    All in all Webvisions was a great event and watch out for videos of the other talks being available soon and other slides on the web.

  8. Report from Ancona: CONFSL 2012

    Last month I attended CONFSL, an interesting conference about Free Software that took place in Ancona, Italy. I had the opportunity to meet other Mozillians (Iacopo Benesperi and Francesco Lodolo) and to talk to some people working for Mozilla: Tristan Nitot, Marcia Knous, Marco Bonardo, Paolo Amadini. They are amazing people who make our lives better with evangelism, development, quality assurance, translations and so on.

    The most impressive thing for me was to see how they are passionate about Mozilla and its mission. They all work harder than a typical company employee! This is what Mozilla is about: a great community to be involved in and a great organization to work for. If you believe that what you do will improve users’ freedom, you will work a lot faster and better.

    CONFSL 2012 - Mozilla Group

    But let me talk about the conference itself: there were many people from all over Italy and there were many interesting talks. Tristan’s keynote was about the Mozilla mission and the new projects to accomplish it: Firefox Mobile, Web Apps and B2G. (His talk was the most followed, and he did also some interviews for the Italian press).

    It is really exciting to see something that you’ve worked on (Web Apps) demoed! Especially if people show a lot of interest in it. Some of the recurring questions I heard were:
    1) Can we develop using “low-level code” for b2g?
    2) Do the webapps need an internet connection?

    These are, in my opinion, the most important questions we need to answer and let developers and users know. Here are my answers:

    1) Actually with JS and a pinch of WebAPIs, you can use every feature of the underlying hardware. There’s no need to write “low-level code”.
    2) This is probably caused by the name of the project. A lot of people think that web apps will work exclusively with an Internet connection, but this isn’t true at all! Web Apps are apps written for a particularly simple and powerful framework: the browser. You can’t see any difference between “native” apps and Web Apps. To
    create a web app that works offline, you just need to use this API:

    Another interesting talk was led by Marco Bonardo and Marcia Knous. It was about QA and how Mozilla successfully ensures quality for its software, also with the help of users. It was really interesting also because I’m studying testing and quality assurance for an University exam. And I saw something I’ve started to use: MozTrap, a really powerful manual test case management system written by Mozilla.

    The last (but not the least) Mozilla talk was about B2G. There were two devices with B2G installed and people were really excited to try them. They were also interested in how to create applications for the device and how to ship them. There’s still a bit of confusion about these matters because the project is still so young and devices are scarce. Someone asked if development was happening behind closed doors.

    Obviously not! Like every other Mozilla project, this is free as in freedom and you can participate in the development simply. You can start with pulling the repo or visiting the wiki. Just remember that the project is still in its
    early stages and so it isn’t stable for everyday use.

    There were also other interesting talks about free software, for example a keynote by Stefano Zacchiroli (the Debian project leader) and many talks about how to spread free software in Italian schools and public administrations and how to make these PAs use open data formats. There was also an interesting talk about Mozilla Open Badges, not held by Mozilla.

    So thanks to Mozilla, Tristan, Marcia, Marco, Paolo, Iacopo and Francesco. “Ci vediamo presto!”

  9. Bringing the web to mobiles – Mozilla and Telefonica at Over the Air 2012

    A few weeks ago, Over the Air 2012, Englands biggest mobile (un)conference in Bletchley Park, England (home of the first ever computer built to crack the German Enigma encryption machines) attracted a few hundred developers to hear about the latest happenings in the mobile space and hack with them.

    Mozilla’s contribution was not only the sponsorship of the much needed beanbags but also a keynote on the much discussed topic of web vs. native applications on mobile devices. Today the organisers released the videos of the talks and here is Chris Heilmann of Mozilla talking about If mobiles don’t come to the web then the web must come to mobiles.

    The slides are on the web and the screencast is on and on YouTube:

    Furthermore, we chatted with Christian Payne about Boot to Gecko and there is an audio recording available on AudioBoo:

    The Next Web also covered the event and had a few questions on HTML5 on mobiles.

    In addition to this, Francisco Jordano of Telefonica gave a talk about the Open Web Device which is powered by Boot to Gecko:

    There is much, much more to be seen about Over the Air, and you can browse all the videos, talks and coverage of the event on Lanyrd.

  10. Mozilla at SudWeb 2012, France

    SudWeb is a Web event located in the south of France. The second edition took place in Toulouse, “The Pink City” for two days of fun and Web on Friday, May 25th and Saturday, May 26th. SudWeb is unique in the French web landscape, it mainly focuses on professional best practices and sharing knowledge. It’s led by a few volunteers: These ten people were able to drive a kick-ass event that gathered more than 150 French web professionals (and a few foreign guests), from students to highly skilled web designers & developers.

    The audience is waiting

    Mozilla had a strong presence both as an official sponsor and by sending some notable French Mozillians.

    Mozilla at SudWeb

    For the official part, two big guys were sent: Anthony Ricaud and myself. For the unofficial part, we had the opportunity to meet up with: Thomas Bassetto, David Bruant and Théo Chevalier. Thanks to you guys, you rock :)

    Day 1: Conferences

    The first day was dedicated to a series of talks about the way web professionals can share and improve their skills about open Web technologies.

    Anthony gave the last talk of the day. He talked about the personal benefits of contributing to a FLOSS project whether as designers, developers or project manager. In my opinion, he ended the day with an awesome piece of engagement and inspiration.

    Anthony Speaking

    As for me, I was supposed to simply attend and represent Mozilla, but at the last moment a speaker canceled his talk and the staff asked me to replace him. I took this opportunity to talk about MDN and the documentation of the Open Web.

    That first day was full of very good talks: I noticed Thomas Bassetto, who spoke about using web technologies outside the browser on uncommon devices; Bruce Lawson, who spoke about the problem with technology monocultures on the Web (IE6 a decade ago, Webkit on mobile today); and Nicolas Perriault, who gave an inspiring lightning talk about the CasperJS library and the usefulness of the headless browser to automate functional unit testing.

    Day 2: Barcamp

    The second day was built as a Barcamp. David Bruant and I took the opportunity to run a small workshop about documenting the open web: We met a few people who want to know more about MDN and we ran a mini doc sprint to show what it is.

    A workshop about dev tools

    Anthony also ran a workshop with Karl Dubost from Opera Software. They launched an impressive discussion about the dev tools available in browsers. This was an opportunity to understand first hand what tool users were expecting, what tools were missing, what was cool with the existing tools and what was still needed.

    Anthony, David, Théo and I also spent time all day long answering questions about Mozilla, its mission, its products and its actions.

    The swag, the swag!

    Those two days were a big hit and all the attendees really look forward to the next edition of SudWeb.