QuirksBlog - Fronteers
Part of Society.
Back in Spring 2007 it dawned on me that what we needed in Holland was an association of professional front-end developers. Front-end was on the rise, but not nearly as popular as it is nowadays, and it was marred by archaic types who were still using table-based layouts and were discussing the use of CSS internally ... and discussing it ... and discussing it.
I started reaching out to front-enders I knew, and pretty soon it was clear almost all of them agreed that a professional association was a good idea. Consequentely, Fronteers was founded in September 2007, slightly more than five years ago. I was elected chairman.
In November I’m going to step down as chairman and board member (blogpost in Dutch), and I’d like to close off my active duty time at Fronteers with a retrospective. Which plans worked, which ones didn’t? Which lessons can you draw if you’re considering a similar association in your country?
Fronteers 2011, held last Thursday and Friday, was an extraordinary web conference. Where the previous three editions were good and could easily compare to the best international events, Fronteers 2011 was better. The upcoming videos will prove it.
I’ve been to a lot of conferences, and organised four. The ones I organised, and more than half the ones I visited were good, most others were not so good, but a few were extraordinary. Fronteers 2011 belongs in that select group.
And the wifi worked flawlessly with 450 simultaneous connections!
Yesterday morning I returned from my first visit to San Francisco, where I delivered my first real solo presentation at the Voices that Matter: Web Design conference, as well as visiting Yahoo! and wandering around town a bit. All in all it was a wonderful experience.
Last Tuesday, exactly one week ago, was one of the busiest and most exciting days of my life, and I think that it was a success all in all.
For me, it was the first time I organised a conference, moderated a panel, founded a front-end professionals' organisation, and went into a personal battle that for a moment threatened to become very bitter, but fortunately didn't thanks to the generosity of my opponents and an extremely professional chairman. And all that on one day.
Anyway, it's wrapped up now, and I thought I'd give my international readers some idea of what I've been working on these past months.
Zoals ik eerder heb vermeld, heb ik het idee gekregen om een Gilde van Front-Enders op te richten. Dit idee heeft behoorlijke weerklank gevonden; tot nu toe hebben zich 85 front-enders als potentieel lid ingeschreven. Ik wil hen, plus alle andere geinteresseerden, van harte uitnodigen voor het oprichtingscongres van het Gilde, dat gesponsord wordt door het PIBN.
(English summary: This is an invitation to the founding conference of the Guild of Front-End Programmers. The conference is in Dutch, so this entry is, too.)
To anyone following my Guild adventures it will not come as a huge surprise that I hope to be elected chairman at our meeting on the 18th of September. Last week, another candidate for chairmanship, Lon Boonen of Q42, entered the fray.
When I read through his ideas, I came across a few points that I absolutely disagree with. Furthermore I believe that the difference between Lon's and my ideas nicely summarises a fundamental decision the web standards movement has to take in the next year or so. I wrote this entry because this is something all standardistas should think about.
Basically, Lon wants to create yet another online community and pressure group—a grassroot movement, in other words. I, on the other hand, want to create a quite different type of organisation.
I believe that grassroot movements (of which the WaSP is the most important and well-known example, but far from the only one) cannot take web standards much further than they have done until now, because they don't reach the large website creation companies, which are crucial to the long-term success of the standards movement.
Last Monday I invited all Dutch front-end programmers to become members of my soon-to-be-founded Guild of Front-End programmers. I also promised to publish some more information in English.
This entry covers the certification we're planning to introduce. While reading it, please remember that all items I describe below are just plans right now (some of them my personal ones). They may still be voted down by the certification committee or the Guild members.
(lang="nl" interstitial: Mensen die meer informatie willen, kunnen onze huidige plannen bekijken en/of zich inschrijven voor de aankondigingslijst.)
Hierbij nodig ik alle Nederlandstalige front-end programmeurs uit zich aan te sluiten bij het Gilde van Front-Enders dat ik bezig ben op te richten. We hebben al 50 leden, maar we kunnen er nog veel meer gebruiken.
(English summary: I'm in the process of founding a Dutch Guild of Front-End programmers. This entry is a national call to action and is therefore in Dutch. Later I'll post something in English about my plans.)
Do we need a professional organisation that tests and certifies web developers? This question is suddenly very much in the picture, with
Mark Boulton, Richard Rutter, D. Keith Robinson, and Eric Meyer discussing it at length. I decided to throw in a few of my own thoughts and offer a field-tested rough-and-ready method that is quite reliable for separating the chaff from the wheat: the 2 minutes CSS test.