Full Frontal 2010

Last week, our Strawberrysoup development team went on a trip to Brighton. Not for the sights and sea, but instead to listen and learn from some of the industries finest Javascript developers at the renowned JavaScript conference, Full Frontal.

Full Frontal LogoWith a mixture of talks and demonstrations, it gave us a great taste of what the next 5 years of web technology holds for us, from 3D visualisations to an even richer world of client interactions. Just a couple of years ago it would have been difficult to be taken seriously if you tried claiming that this rich client would appear so soon. Suddenly we have more than just bright gradients and border-radius; we can look forward to entire 3D environments browsable across any device and rest our servers a bit while the client transforms images before uploading them to the server.

With these great powers though come great responsibility. It could be very easy to see a new wave of 3D menus written in javascript, with developers claiming its accessibility (when even javascript can be made in-accessible). It could also mean longer development time for sites, although it is unlikely to suddenly become the norm to have all these incredible features everywhere; the current generation of content-only sites could disappear into a sea of interactive tours and multiplayer games.

Jan Lehnhardt’s talk on the Peer-to-Peer was a great talk on some architectural shifts. He believes it is necessary for the web to allow for secure sharing, as well as a more reliable and consistent experience in using the web on offline/online devices. This includes embedding a CouchDB system on the phone which syncs with your server whenever online, allowing all your important information is available wherever, as well as decentralising the web allowing for phones and people to communicate directly instead of through a central system such as Twitter or Facebook.

Although there wasn’t an entire talk on it, there was a brief mention of node.js. This is a project which puts an incredibly fast javascript engine (V8) on the server allowing for shared code on server and client. This may not be the first framework of its kind, but it could be the one which finally pushed Server-Side javascript to the front of the server-stack.

Overall it was a refreshing day to see that the community as a whole is moving forward and putting JavaScript where no JavaScript has gone before – writing games in JavaScript for the browser is cool, writing JavaScript games that can be run on a console is even cooler.