WDC2016 Bristol

Written By Graeme White
Posted On November 14, 2016

WDC2016 Bristol

Not to be confused with a recent fashion show held a week earlier WDC2016 was the Bristol Web dev Conference held at the Watershed – an excellent independent cinema and home to the innovative pervasive media studio situated on Bristol’s iconic harbourside.

Sat in a cinema where I’ve normally watched complex plots unfold from bohemian world cinema showings the event kicked off with an interesting talk on empathy within the web industry. Our speaker wanted to make the point that we don’t work in a tech industry because we don’t build things for ‘tech’ , we build for people.

Bristol suspension bridge

Lightning talks followed covering cool tech projects including a cut out Elvis that was ‘supposed’ to detect passers-by and slide along with them, but the motor burnt out and nearly caused an office evacuation.

The dreaded burn-out and refactoring css

Nicolas Alpi from cookiesHQ gave an interesting talk on running his own business, making the move from France to Britain where after several successful years of growth he suffered the dreaded ‘burn-out’ business owners can suffer when things become all encompassing and a much needed work/life balance must be enforced.

As a front-end developer the one talk by Harry Roberts that really touched on my day-to-day work was about refactoring css, basically advice on how to take nightmare legacy stylings and effectively clean them up. One really simple really nice take home was his advice on using two simple classes that draw either a red border or a blue border ( or whatever color you wish! ) around your page blocks, so you can mark which components have been refactored and which are still to be done. He also mentioned his adoption of the shame.css file to place all those niggly fixes you’re not quite happy with but are essential to get things sorted – something he had established after chatting with the eternally cheerful Chris Coyier of CSS tricks fame.

Another piece of css enlightenment came from


all: initial;

That little line will effectively reset all the css stylings on a block/component to their default values as defined in the css spec, further reading found here and here

Midi and a dancing t-rex

Further talks revolved around MIDI, the talk sadly marred by projector problems but the speaker Ruth John battled along and made a cool presentation of her web controlled midi instruments.

The final talk by Gavin Strange certainly finished the day with a bang.  He entered with some weird and wonderful visuals of a pokemon running clumsily through an unstable minefield with some heavy bass playing as he danced around the stage before a t-rex entered the room to break dance with him to some fair applause.  It was a great start to an uplifting talk about motivation, about going out there and simply following your dreams, go and build!

The day was pretty interesting, less technical than I expected but I felt it was aiming to cover the web industry in it’s entirety not just for developers but designers and other creatives.

I may not don a t-rex costume anytime soon, but I certainly did leave feeling motivated and touched at the passion people have for the ever evolving web industry.  Onwards and upwards 🙂

For more info visit the conference website here.

Photo for Harry R from @iamkeir

Graeme White
A front-end Web Developer specialising in WordPress

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