Development Track

Ben Galbraith explores The State of Developer Tools; Elliot Jay Stocks knows Progressive Enhancement; Mark Stanton can Speed up Your Site; Mike Williams and Rob Mitchell want to Test Your JavaScript; Kevin Yank looks at CSS Frameworks; Gian Wild tells you only What You Need to Know About WCAG2; Dmitry Baranovskiy peers into the Heart and Soul of Canvas and Earle Castledine Creates Engaging User Interaction with jQuery.


Photo of Gian Wild

What developers need to know


Gian Wild

So WCAG2 - version 2 of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines as set out by the W3C’s Web Accessibility Initiative - has been released as a Candidate Recommendation. What does that mean for Australia? There are many issues that were addressed in WCAG1 which have been left up to policy makers and developers in WCAG2. This session will highlight these issues and talk about what kind of impact they will have on your development and on your audience.

From testability, to cognitive disabilities, we’ll go into the nitty gritty differences between WCAG1 and WCAG2 and what you will need to know to make sure that your site isn’t a potential target for litigation. In addition to development principles, we’ll address the current state of play in Australia; what the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) are doing and what each state has decided to do with WCAG2.


Photo of Dmitry Baranovskiy

Standards based 2D and 3D rendering for the modern browser


Dmitry Baranovskiy

Since the earliest days of the web, perhaps the single biggest missing piece of functionality has been a standards based, browser native way for developers to do 2D (and 3D) rendering. Now, the Canvas element, supported in all contemporary browsers other than Internet Explorer, and part of the HTML5 specification, provides these capabilities, and is being widely adopted in cutting edge websites and applications.

In this session, JavaScript ninja Dmitry Baranovskiy takes us into the heart and soul of Canvas, looking at what it does well, and not so well, how well it is supported, and how to use it in cross browser compatible ways. Developers with a good grasp of JavaScript will be able to add another dimension to their web solutions based on what they learn in this session.

The State of Developer Tools

Photo of Ben Galbraith

Get up to speed with the developer tools landscape


Ben Galbraith

For many years, developing for the web left quite a bit to be desired when it came to the tools at developers disposal, particularly in comparison with the sorts of development environments available for desktop applications.

But the rise of browser native tools, in Safari, Internet Explorer and Opera, browser based add-ons like Firebug, web based tools and more mean that developers have a vast array of powerful tools to help develop, debug, profile and otherwise improve their applications. But, just what’s out there? And what can be done with them?

In this session, co-founder of, and The Ajax Experience conferences, and now head of Mozilla Foundation’s new Tools team Ben Galbraith will take us on an expedition through the developer tools landscape. Learn what’s out there, and what they can do to make you more productive, your sites and applications better and faster, and your life as a developer more enjoyable.

Test your JavaScript

Photo of Mike Williams Photo of Rob Mitchell


Mike Williams and Rob Mitchell

Increasingly, web-application behaviour is split between logic running on the server, and JavaScript logic running in the browser. Automated testing of the server-side component is fairly common, but too often the browser-side logic is left out in the cold.

Mike Williams and Rob Mitchell will explain why you should test your JavaScript code, what to test, and how to go about it. They’ll talk about full-stack browser-based tests, as well as true unit tests, and explain where each are appropriate. They’ll also discuss integration of your tests into an automated build, and you’ll leave with a burning desire to try it out on your own projects.

Best practices for speeding up your site

Photo of Mark Stanton


Mark Stanton

As we pack our pages with AJAX and RIA goodness we often lose sight of the fact that the key to exceptional user experience is the responsiveness of your site. Inspired by the excellent work by Yahoo!’s Exceptional Performance team, this talk will have something that every site can benefit from. You will learn how to analyse what your end users are experiencing and how to reduce your load times by 25-50% using a range of simple techniques.

Progressive enhancement

Photo of Elliot Jay Stocks

Reach the future sooner by writing forward-thinking code


Elliot Jay Stocks

In the summer of ‘07 in a flood-soaked Oxford, England, Elliot appeared on stage for the very first time. His presentation, ‘Progressive Enhancement & Intentional Degradation’, looked at how to reward modern browsers with the latest CSS tricks and punish IE by dropping certain site features. Over two years later, what has changed? We’re starting to see the ideology of progressive enhancement — especially with CSS3 — spread throughout the web design community, but more work needs to be done.

What can we do to spread the message further and design a better-looking web faster? Elliot will look at how features of the CSS2.1 and CSS3 specs can enhance your websites and he’ll examine the implication of using such techniques. He’ll look at the issues surrounding font embedding and the recent development of the font-as-service; the arguments about browser support; the potentially controversial irrelevance of validation; and how we can attempt to reach the future sooner by writing forward-thinking code. In this motivational presentation Elliot will urge you to embrace the techniques of modern web design and to stop worrying about the so-called restraints.

CSS frameworks

Photo of Kevin Yank

Making the right choice


Kevin Yank

With the proliferation and widespread adoption of JavaScript frameworks, smart developers have wondered if a similar approach to smoothing over the rough spots of CSS might work. Thus, CSS frameworks like Blueprint, YUI Library CSS Tools, Boilerplate, and many others were born. In this session, we will survey the landscape of CSS frameworks and consider how each of them deals with the unique challenge of creating generalised, reusable CSS styles.

There are a number of different approaches, and some are better than others. Choose the right framework and you’ll save yourself a lot of work. Choose the wrong one, and you’ll find your projects weighed down by restrictive assumptions and masses of code that you don’t understand. When it comes to CSS frameworks, making the right choice is everything. By the end of this session, you might just decide that the right framework for you is no framework at all.

Engaging user interaction with jQuery

Photo of Earle Castledine

Applying old-school game development to a JavaScript library


Earle Castledine

The Atari 2600 provided a debilitating palette of raw objects meant for creating simple games like Pong, Hockey, and One-Player Pong. From within these documented constraints, daring developers pushed the machine well beyond its conceived limitations - creating such epic masterpieces as Pitfall! and E.T. and raising the bar for game development forever.

In this session we’ll see how the application of old-school game development ideas to jQuery might push us to look beyond the intended uses of current web technologies: and how doing this can lead (and has lead) to innovation in web development. We’ll apply these insights to the creation of interesting widgets and UI elements with animations, effects, and networked communication - to show that all user interaction needs to be fun and engaging to be a useful addition to a site, rather than a token bit of UI eye candy.