Future Of Web Apps – London 2014

Last week I visited London for the conference Future of Web Apps 2014 #FOWA. This year there were two distinct tracks, one with APIs and one with JS tools.

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Remember… APIs first and don’t make the developers angry!

During the first day I participated in a workshop held by Kirsten Hunter (@synedra) where she covered both the basics of APIs and followed up with real world examples, good and bad. She talked about designing APIs, how to keep the developers happy and how to make your APIs irresistible. At the end all the participants crated an API which we deployed and tested on Google App Engine.

Good tools and resources for designing, building and maintaining APIs

The best take away’s in my opinion were all the links to tools and resources that we used or discussed during sessions. Some of them are listed below.

  • Apiary (apiary.io)
    A tool for design, mock and test APIs which also generate documentation.
  • Runscope (runscope.com)
    A tool for testing and debugging of APIs
  • http://www.designinghypermediaapis.com/
  • {A}APIs.json (apisjson.org)
    A simple and extensible way to describe where your APIs are and how they are used. The description is placed in the site root almost like robots.txt files for search engines to consume.

JS build tools

Several talks covered different JS/webapp build tools and gave a good overview of the different variants and comparisons.

Grunt (gruntjs.com)
grunt-logoGrunt is a JavaScript task runner for linting, minifying, compilation and more. Eg. stuff that you do often and want to automate can be handled with Grunt trough a Grunt file. In Grunt you configure your tasks and the community is large with many plugins to use.

 

gulp-logoGulp (gulpjs.com)
Gulp is also a JavaScript build tool for minifying, linting, compiling etc. but you use code more than configuration compared to Grunt. The code seems easier to read and shorter but the community is not that big yet.

 

bower-logoBower (bower.io)
With the use of Bower you can add a manifest file, bower.json where you describe what packages you want in your project (Package manager). Bower take care of the downloading, saving and in the end only requiring one version for each package. Bower is often used with other build tools like the ones above.

yeomanYeoman (yeoman.io)
This tool helps you to set up (scaffold) a projects with so called generators. An example of a generator is the generator-webapp that gives you a project containing HTML5 Boilerplate, jQuery, Modernizr, and Bootstrap. Yeoman is often used with Bower as the package manager and Grunt as the build tool.

 

Over all I think it was a good conference, both content wise and how it was arranged. The mix of a workshop in the first day and then presentations was good, the venue forced the developers to socialize and the people from Future of Web Apps made sure we had a good time during the three days in London.

Over and out!

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