Category Archives: Web development

[Video 343] Eric Carlisle: Dazzling Data Depiction with D3.js

Having lots of data isn’t enough; you have to present it in ways that are interesting and compelling. D3 is a popular JavaScript library that makes it straightforward to turn data into complex visualizations, in a variety of formats. In this talk, Eric Carlisle introduces D3, describing and demonstrating many of its capabilities.

[Video 331] Martin Gontovnikas: Rethinking backend with webtasks

Front-end development is popular and necessary — but it is also hampered by the fact that everything happens on the client. Perhaps “hampered” is too strong of a word, but there are times when a front-end developer wants or needs access to a server. In this talk, Martin Gontovnikas introduces “webtasks,” which can be described as a small backend application to support a large front-end application.

[Video 330] Hugo Giraudel: 3 years of purging Sass

CSS, the layout and formatting language of the Web, is hard for many people to use. Sass is one of several CSS supersets and/or replacements that have emerged over the years, allowing us to write our CSS more expressively and concisely. In this talk, Hugo Giraudel describes many of the Sass mistakes that he has seen, and corrected, in numerous open-source projects over the last few years — and thus, indicates ways in which you can improve your use of Sass,  and thus clean up your stylesheets.

[Video 329] Tara Scherner De La Fuente: I Like My Params Like I Like My Coffee

Ruby on Rails makes it easy to take user-submitted parameters, and pass them along to the database via Active Record. That’s great, but raises questions about security. In this talk,  Tara Scherner De La Fuente teaches us about  “strong parameters,” the mechanism in Rails that ensures we only pass to our models those values that we really want and need to pass along. She gives us hints for using them, and for ensuring that our applications are as protected as they can and should be.

[Video 326] Nick Niles: Command Line Magic For Designers

Front-end developers have always needed to know about HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. But lately, as the front end of Web applications has become increasingly complex, a number of command-line tools such as Yeoman  have arrived, to help us assemble our sites more easily and effectively. The number of such tools, and the fact that they rely upon the command line, might be a bit daunting to front-end developers, though. In this talk, Nick Niles introduces some of these tools, and describes when and why to use them.

[Video 312] Jacob Kaplan-Moss: Minimum Viable Security

Security is a big problem on the Internet, and Web applications need to have security baked in almost from the first day in order to avoid being attacked and/or exploited. But security needs and concerns can be so overwhelming that a new site might decide to put off worrying about security at all. In this talk, Jacob Kaplan-Moss describes which staff members should be thinking and worrying about security (everyone), how to plan for problems, and what to document — as well as considerations regarding the implementation of security policies in code and tests. If you’re a Web developer, then you should at least think about these security issues.

[Video 309] Andrew Godwin: Dubious Database Design

Web applications generally have a database on the back end. But how should we structure that database? There are many ways to structure our database in a database, and some of them are far more efficient and manageable than others. In this talk, Andrew Godwin discusses and shows many of the different ways in which people use and abuse their databases for back-end storage, and indicates why these might be bad ideas — whether you’re using Django, or any other Web application framework.

[Video 302] Jess Garms: Dealing with Unreliable Networks

Twitter seems like magic: You send a tweet, and it’s sent to your many followers in something closer to real time. But of course, Twitter — like all network applications — makes use of millions of networks that are not under its control. Many of those networks are slow and unreliable. How can you create a network application that appears to be seamless and reliable, working with images as well as text, when it is built on such an unreliable, unmanageable infrastructure? In this talk, Jess Garms describes the ways in which Twitter has worked to increase not just the reliability of their systems, but also the appearance of reliability for their users.

[Video 298] Wim Godden: When Dynamic Becomes Static: The Next Step in Web Caching Techniques

So,  your Web application is running slowly. Does this mean that you need to switch languages or frameworks? Buy (or rent) a larger server, or more servers? Start tinkering with the database calls? Perhaps — but it could be that a smart cache, aka an HTTP accelerator, will help you. Caches and HTTP accelerators are no longer as simple as they once were; they can be clever about static vs. dynamic content.  In this talk, Wim Godden describes ways in which Varnish and other accelerators work, but then describes where such systems are limited, and some advances that nginx has made in this direction.

[Video 291] Allen Wirfs-Brock: ES6 — JavaScript for the Ambient Computing Era

ECMAScript 6, the new JavaScript standard that’s being released this year, is a huge improvement and upgrade and change from previous versions.   That’s because ES6 is in a new world, with different requirements.  What are these changes, and what led the ES6 designers to make them? How will this affect the ways in which we’re using JavaScript, and computers in general?  How do these changes reflect the new ways in which we’re using computers, which weren’t around when JavaScript was first written? In this talk, Allen Wirfs-Brock reviews not just the changes in JavaScript, but the reasons behind them, and how modern computing differs from what we used just a decade or two ago.