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!

Universal Analytics Injector

When Google announced that Universal Analytics went out of beta in April this year I thought it was time to create a WordPress plugin that is up-to-date with the new scripting syntax. I also wanted to add more features out of the box compared to the script you get in Google Analytics when you have activated a profile to be able to measure what you want.

I have previously created a couple of plugins to enable Google Analytics tracking on WordPress but this time I combined both the original Universal Analytics tracking script and a lot of extra tracking:

Universal Analytics Injector WordPress plugin settings page
The settings for Universal Analytics Injector WordPress plugin
  • Outbound links
    When the user clicks on a link that navigates the user away from your site it’s good to know where they went to be able to know if the exit was good or bad for your business. Eg. if you have your conversion on a separate site the exit is the goal but if they leave your site where you want them to continue, you want to know where and why.
  • Downloads
    Which files are downloaded and from where? This is good to know if you want optimize your site and bring your most wanted files to the front.
  • Mailto clicks
    It’s good to know from where and when your visitors need to contact you. If you know that you probably find short comings in you web site or just make sure you have the resources during busy times to answer their questions.
  • Video tracking for YouTube and Vimeo embedded videos
    To produce video can be quite expensive and you would like to know if your visitors watch and get your meessage. Which videos do they begin to watch and for how long? Do the see your selling point or do they leave before they have had the chance?
  • Anonymized ip filtering
    If you want to anonymize your visitors ip addresses before you send the analytics data to Google you just click on the checkbox and it’s all done!

 

If you want to know what your users are doing on your site, how they navigate, what material they interact with and last but not least: improve your site from the knowledge you get out of web analytics, this plugin is what you want.

Install the plugin and paste your Google Analytics UA-xxxx code in to it and you are all set!

Download it from WordPress.org plugin repository: Universal Analytics Injector

A fresh start, a minimalist theme and zero content

This blog has been up and down for several years now and the content has differed from time to time. Now I want a clean start so I removed all the old stuff and installed WordPress 4.0 from scratch.
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New theme with minimalist design

I have also started to work on a new child theme with a minimalist design based on the WordPress Twenty Thirteen theme which is the theme used on this blog right now. The work is still in progress and not finished by any means but I will hopefully continue util I’m satisfied or bored with it.

The idea behind the design is to make the content number one and easy to read and consume. Everything else is secondary.

What I’m planing to write about?

I plan to write about stuff I do regarding web development, analytics, search, content I find inspirational, presentations by others and myself, technical insights, interesting new stuff etc.

I hope you find some content interesting and if you do, you are very welcome to share it or leave a comment, if not, just enter a new URL in the address bar of your browser and continue to something that interests you more. Internet has something for everyone 🙂