Being based in the heart of Tech City means that we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to meetups and conferences. At UVD we pretty much cover the full spectrum of frontend, backend, design and marketing, so we decided to keep an ongoing log of the best we attend to help you decide which is right for you.
Full Frontal Conference 2015 – October 2015
“For a second year I’ve been fortunate enough to attend the Full Frontal conference, last year was fantastic and this year didn’t disappoint either. Although it was my first visit to Brighton that wasn’t sunny, so the day was tinged ever so slightly with the dispelling of the myth that it’s always sunny in Brighton.
What I love about ffconf, in a similar way to responsive day out, is that the talks are all curated by the host, in this case Mr Remy Sharp, which means you’re guaranteed insight and a great diversity of topics. You can read my detailed highlights from this fantastic day here.”
Marks out of ten: 9
AngularConnect Day 2 – October 2015
I also had the added bonus of winning a free years’ WebStorm licence from the guys @jetbrains after entering a competition, that certainly enhanced my overall experience of the event!”
Marks out of ten: 9
SymfonyLive – September 2015
“SymfonyLive, the first conference I’ve been to with UVD, was hosted in the QEII Centre (a fantastic venue) in Westminster.
The event opened with @seb_ly’s “Getting artistic with code”. Although there wasn’t really anything Symfony related, it was a great keynote and the best live coding I’ve seen. I’ve generally shied away from frontend JS, preferring server side programming, but it was interesting how easy it was to get some really cool effects with HTML5 canvas and I’ll definitely give it a go.
I was pleasantly surprised by the sponsor talks, one of these being platform.sh, a Platform as a Service (PaaS). I much prefer writing code to DevOps, and whilst there are plenty of PHP PaaS providers out there, platform.sh is the only one I’ve seen which supports everything we need (RabbitMQ, redis and elasticsearch).
A couple of other notable talks were ‘Symfony and Drupal 8 – Changing the world one community at a time?’ by Richard Jones which covered how a longstanding CMS was transitioning to Symfony and how it affected their community. I look forward to seeing Drupal 8 when the stable version is launched. It will soon enter the first release candidate, so it shouldn’t be too long. Another (albeit similar) talk, by James Solomon covered migrating the legacy spotify.com codebase in ‘How Spotify.com transitioned to Symfony’. However, from a more commercial view point.
The talks were mostly great and the only negative point I can make is that a few were more suited to a meetup rather than a conference.”
Marks out of ten: 8
House of Kaizen Conversion Masterclass – July 2015
“I was recommended House of Kaizen talks by a friend so I was really happy when this came up. It was basically one guy talking for 2.5 hours, which sounds like hell, but it worked. He talked so quickly that you had to stay alert so as not to miss anything, and it was all really interesting, not just SELL SELL SELL. He talked about psychology which opened up an interesting discussion about UI/UX and showed us how the brain goes into meltdown if we have to process something difficult, or something we’re not used to. If our websites don’t follow ‘usual’ or ‘expected’ patterns, it confuses users.
The example he gave was this old classic. Say the colour of the word:
It’s also the first Marketing event I’ve been to that talked tech. Usually the tech limits in Marketing events are limited to WordPress, so it was refreshing to not feel like I was getting the dumbed down version.”
Marks out of ten: 8
Responsive Day Out 3 – June 2015
One of the key reasons that I enjoyed RDA3 so much was down to the format which included four blocks of talks, each containing three 20 minute presentations followed by a quick Q/A session with the speaker from that block. The quick nature of the talks provided information on a wide range of topics whilst only focussing on key points in each area, which really kept interest high. The question and answer session yielded some fascinating unscripted entertainment and knowledge that every other conference I have attended has perhaps lacked. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the day and if they decide, more in hope than expectation, to put on further conference I’ll be first in line for a ticket.”
Marks out of ten: I’ll give it a 9 (Some free beer might have sealed a 10!)
Here London 2015 – June 2015
“After attending several tech events and conferences I got a bit fed up of listening to talks that could actually be read in a blog post, or of people just showcasing their work, or uninspiring talks. That’s how I ended up at Here London 2015; a perfect mix of designers, photographers, illustrators and writers talking not only about their craft, but their roots, their processes, their successes and their failures (something that you won’t hear as much from the usual tech conference).
I enjoyed most of the talks, but the ones that got me really inspired were ManvsMachine who showed their excellent work for Channel4 and Film4 in various mediums, Jordy Van Den Nieuwendijk who dug into his roots talking through his career from the ground up and how his creativity and style evolved year after year, and finally Annie Atkins who revealed the incredibly detailed and meticulous work for many Wes Anderson movies including The Grand Budapest Hotel.
Between talks, the food and drinks offer was top-notch with a wide choice of healthy (yes, I said healthy) food and drinks, topped with a lot of fruit.
An excellent conference I’ll be attending next year.”
Marks out of ten: 9
Awwwards Conference Barcelona – March 2015
“Along with the spring sunshine in Barcelona, Awwwards treated us to a 2 day track with some outstanding speakers covering topics such as responsive images, successful side projects, user research, a sneak peek into the future of development tooling and one of my favourite talks was a critique of human/computer interaction based on popular sci-fi films from the past 50 years!
On a slightly negative note however, the conference had a somewhat corporate undertone compared to some of the more grassroots events in Tech City or Brighton. There was a ‘gold ticket’ / ‘silver ticket’ lunch segregation which was a little unpleasant and didn’t quite foster a community feel at the event. There was perhaps a few too many ‘showcase’ talks too, that didn’t offer much insight besides showing off agency work.”
Marks out of ten: 7