Mobile JS Conference: A Wrap-Up

By: Sam Hutchings

It was a sunny Saturday in May when we all gathered for the MobileJS conference in the Mobile World Centre, Barcelona. Patrick Heneise and Alina Mierlus brought together a broad range of speakers around JavaScript in mobile environments and on mobile phones.

There was no talk of LTE or 4G. No mention of the iPhone 6 or whatever number Samsung is up to now. This was about JavaScript, HTML5 and CSS3: the technologies that allow you to make killer mobile web apps (and in some cases, as Javier and Sonia taught in their Titanium talk, native apps) without having to learn entire new languages, APIs, SDKs, and the nuances and pitfalls that lay therein.

The day opened with a talk from Andrew Savory, of Adobe, on Cordova, PhoneGap and rapid mobile development, summing up the theme for the day. He shared his past experiences of learning the SDKs for various mobile platforms, many of which do not exist today, and the time it could take just to learn enough to build a simple “Hello World!” application. (And the amount of space this would take up on your computer.

JSConferenceHis point: Developing for mobile devices using web technologies is easier. There are no fiddly SDKs and ever-changing APIs to twiddle around with. You can write the application core once and deploy to multiple platforms easily (either through a web server or the native app stores). You can use the exact same technologies that have made the web interactive and powerful over the last few years and do the same on a mobile device.

The day continued with great speakers. Sergio Gimeno showed us how the open-source Ionic Framework makes it easy to create powerful, beautiful applications for mobile devices using HTML5. Sarah Rink explained that “your app is not your product”, but rather the user experience the app provides is your product. In reaching your goal, your app may change guise many times to prove or disprove the initial hypothesis.
Rounding off the day, after some amazing coffee (thanks to Xing for sponsoring that) and burgers, were three incredibly different talks.

Javier Zorzano from Telefonica R&D taught us how to become millionaires with JavaScript running on embedded systems and microcomputers like the RasperryPi and Arduinos and what the possibilities lie in the future of mobility.

Andree Huk spoke about mobile growth hacking, and how simple changes to the things we take for granted, such as the prominence of buttons in a welcome email, can greatly affect results. (He also taught us all how to game Tinder to find those who like us. Not something many of us expected to learn that day).

Francisco Jordano, from Mozilla, rounded off the day with his talk – “Mobile web: pushing hard for browsers modernization.” A great look at Mozilla’s Firefox OS, and how what they’re learning from the Mobile OS space is informing design and engineering decisions in the browser, and vice versa.

Having lived through the mess that was Palm’s webOS, it was rather refreshing to see that Firefox OS has been better thought out, and adopts modern web technologies to deliver great experiences on mobile devices from the low end to the high end.

In a delightful panel discussion, Andrew, Javier and Francisco talked about open standards, the mobile web, and the benefits of JavaScript technologies.Mobile JS Conference

Overall, MobileJS was an awesome day. The balance of the subject matters (design, UX and hard-core tech) in the talks was just right and the speakers were brilliant. The JavaScript community in Barcelona is second to none, and it was great to see many of them all sharing stories and information.

Working hard to keep everything organized and on time, the teams at MobileJS and BarcelonaJS really outdid themselves, and put on what I hope proves to be a popular and reoccurring event.

Here’s to MobileJS 2015! All talks have now been posted as videos on Vimeo.

If you are looking for help with all things Mobile, be sure to check out these guys at The Mobile Firm.

 

Sam was born and raised in the UK, and only recently moved to Barcelona in February, 2014. He currently works as Community Manager at Typeform, where he helps the world ask awesomely. You’ll most likely find him with his nose in a twitter feed or Facebook app of some kind, or trying out the local food.

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