Improving Your Apps - Performance and Debugging

Most experienced developers will tell you that hardest parts of the job comes after the initial code is written - when it is time to refine, tune and test the application. It can take a deep understanding of the languages, tools and code to maximize the applications performance and experience.

In this session, we’ll take a deeper look at some ways that you can improve your application development - from a deep dive into CSS internals to more general trends and performance issues that can impact your applications user experience.

The Hunt for the Unicorn Performance Metric

Slow websites suck. We know that intuitively. But how do we define “slow”? And how do we define “suck”? These are ephemeral words, yet as developers, designers, UX pros, and performance engineers, we’re tasked with quantifying them, and then moving on to the next step of figuring out how fast is fast enough for our users.

The key to a good user experience is quickly delivering the content your visitors care about the most. This is easy to say, but tricky to do. Every site has unique content and unique user engagement goals, which is why measuring how quickly critical content renders is a hugely challenging task. In the past, we relied on metrics like page load time, start render, and time to first paint to measure user experience, but we now know that these metrics don’t tell the full story. There’s a lot of competition to define the next big unicorn performance metric, but does this unicorn actually exist?

In this talk, Tammy will walk you through a brief history of UX and web performance research. She’ll highlight key studies that connect the dots between performance and user experience. She’ll also demystify the current state of performance metrics and help you understand what you need to focus on for your site and your users.

It's Not Dark Magic - Pulling Back the Curtains From Your Stylesheets

All too often developers are left completely puzzled when the browser renders CSS in ways they didn’t expect. It’s not dark magic though and as developers, we know that computers are just parsing our instructions. While many talks discuss how to fix common bugs, this talk will focus on the why by taking a deep dive into browser internals to see how our styles are parsed and rendered.

Tammy has spent the past two decades studying how people use the web. Since 2009, she’s focused on the intersection between web performance, user experience, and business metrics. Her book Time Is Money: The Business Value of Web Performance (O’Reilly, 2016) is a distillation of much of this research (but there’s always more to be learned).

Tammy is a frequent speaker at events like, IRCE, and Smashing Conference. She also co-curates, an ongoing collection of performance case studies.

Aimee Knight is a full-stack software engineer at Tuft & Needle. As a former professional figure skater, she has a tremendous amount of energy and grit. Outside of work, she’s a Google Developer Expert in Web Technologies, a panelist on the JavaScript Jabber podcast and an international keynote speaker. Currently, she specializes in JS, React, and CSS, however, she’s worked extensively in Angular, Node, and Ruby on Rails as well. Her past community involvement includes being a weekly panelist on the Angular Air podcast, a co-organizer for CharmCityJS, and mentor for Baltimore NodeSchool and Rails Bridge.

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