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Seven Must-See Videos and Presentations for Web App Developers


In previous video roundups, we’ve collected together some interesting videos and presentations from a variety of speakers discussing topics covering usability, graphic design, CSS frameworks, web standards, and more. In this small roundup, we’ve included seven videos that we think would be of great interest to web app developers in particular, with less focus on design and standards.

These presentations are a little more technically heavy than ones we’ve featured in the past, but we think they’re worth every minute. Check them out, and be sure to comment to include links to any related videos that you feel are worth mentioning.

Speed Up Your JavaScript Link

Speaker: Nicholas C. Zakas

As an interpreted language, JavaScript is filled with hidden performance issues that conspire to slow down your code and ruin the user experience. Learn exactly what is fast, what is slow, and what you can do to squeeze that last bit of performance out of your JavaScript code.

Notable Quotes:

“The problem is that JavaScript is slow… And the secondary problem is that people notice that it’s slow, because a lot of the web is about perceived performance. If your [code] is slow and people perceive it to be slow, then you’re in a lot of trouble.”

“Really the issue is, browsers aren’t going to help you with your code. They don’t care that your code is running slow, they’re not going to do anything to adapt for it. So really, if something has to be done to speed up your code, it pretty much has to be done by you.”

Series of articles by the author on the same topic:

Further Info:

HTML 5 and Internet Explorer 9 Link

Speaker: Giorgio Sardo

Giorgio Sardo talks about HTML5, CSS3, SVG, and fast JavaScript support coming in the Internet Explorer 9 platform. His presentation includes demos showcasing the latest code, providing best practices on how to make web application standards compliant, fast and interoperable across browsers.

This is a humorous presentation that will be of interest to front-end developers who want to create cutting-edge applications while keeping up with the latest developments in web standards.

Notable Quotes:

“How many of you are still on IE6? You’re more than welcome to leave the room now.”

“Microsoft is committed to web standards. And I’m very serious when I say this. [audience laughter] It’s not a joke!”

“Our job as browser vendors is to make sure that we give you a professional implementation of HTML5, something you can rely on, something that, if you start building your application today, in one year from now it will not break just because the standard changes.”

Further Information:

Introduction to HTML 5 Link

Speaker: Brad Neuberg

If you want to know what’s new in HTML 5 but haven’t had a chance to do much reading on the topic yet, this video by Brad Neuberg provides a solid introduction to HTML 5’s most powerful capabilities and features. In this presentation he discusses five aspects of the HTML5 spec: (1) Canvas and SVG; (2) HTML5 Video; (3) The Geolocation API; (4) The HTML5 database and application cache; and (5) Web Workers.

This is a great video and a must-see for anyone that wants to start building powerful web apps using HTML5’s newest features.

Notable Quotes:

“One of the things that’s really unique about HTML5 is it [allows you to] drop SVG right into a normal HTML page, so it really makes SVG a core part of HTML.”

“Currently, video is complicated, and it’s outside your control… In 2009 video really should be a part of the browser… HTML5 now gives you a video tag that really works very similar to the image tag, so you don’t have to have very complicated objects or plugins — video just works.”

“Using all this JavaScript… we can end up not writing apps great, that end up freezing the browser, causing it to run slowly… HTML 5 gives you something called Web Workers, and this lets you run JavaScript in the background in such a way that it won’t ‘hose’ or kill the browser.”

Further Information:

eCSStender: the ‘jQuery of CSS’ Link

Speaker: Aaron Gustafson

In this video, Aaron Gustafson discusses an overview of his new JavaScript library along with demos and example code to demonstrate how it can be used. Along the way, Gustafson includes some interesting points on the history of the HTML and CSS specs. He also discusses the library’s compatibility with IE6 and CSS3 selectors.


Notable Quotes:

“You can use [eCSStender] for patching older browsers… basically standardizing implementations across browsers.”

“What the extension in the case of border-radius is doing is actually figuring out what it is that it needs to do and then building the implementation that the browser wants… It greatly simplifies the design process.”

Further Information:

10 Things I Learned From the jQuery Source Link

Speaker: Paul Irish

This is a unique, informative, and entertaining screencast from one of the web’s best JavaScript developers. Irish is funny and down-to-earth while he reveals some cool little nuggets that he’s discovered from examining the jQuery source. The screencast is a remake of Irish’s presentation at the recent Texas JavaScript Conference.

Notable Quote:

“Everyone… considers jQuery this black box, and this black box is this magical box that just works — it has this great API, we use it, we don’t have to worry about how it actually works internally, we’re not going to look inside the source and figure it out. But I’m here to say, if you do, I think you’re going to benefit from it.”

Further Information:

Steve Huffman on Lessons Learned at Reddit Link

Speaker: Steve Huffman

A presentation from Future of Web Apps Miami 2010 by reddit co-founder Steve Huffman. Huffman explains some of the most important lessons he and his development team learned while reddit was growing. This is a highly technical presentation that concludes with some audience Q&A.

Notable Quotes:

“If this talk had existed when we were starting reddit, I think it would have saved me a lot of time, so I hope something in here isn’t obvious to you now and you can learn from it.”

“I dreaded my phone ringing. Nobody would call me for any other reason than to tell me Reddit was down. Even my mother would call me and say, ‘Steve, your website’s not working.’ Thanks mom.”

“Wasting disc and memory is totally fine if you’re not making your users wait. Discs and memory are far cheaper than annoying your customers.”

Further Information:

The Paradox of Choice Link

Speaker: Barry Schwartz

This video, on the surface, is not about web development in any way, but provides an interesting viewpoint on “freedom of choice” and may well remind app and website designers to avoid bombarding users with choices and complicated options. Some very controversial insights are given here into what makes people happier, providing some food for thought for those concerned about usability.

Notable Quotes:

“The way to maximize freedom, is to maximize choice. The more choice people have, the more freedom they have, and the more freedom they have, the more welfare they have. This I think is so deeply embedded in the water supply, that it wouldn’t occur to anyone to question it.”

“[Having too much choice] produces paralysis rather than liberation. With so many options to choose from, people find it very difficult to choose at all.”

Further Information:

Smashing Book #5

Hold on tiger! Thank you for reading the article. Did you know that we also publish printed books and run friendly conferences – crafted for pros like you? For example, Smashing Book 5, packed with smart responsive design patterns and techniques.

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Louis Lazaris is a freelance web developer and author based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs about front-end code on Impressive Webs and curates Web Tools Weekly, a weekly newsletter for front-end developers.

  1. 1

    Very usefull, thank you Louis…

  2. 2

    Excellent Post provided me with hours of good watching thank you

  3. 3

    thanks for this info.


  4. 4

    Well done Louis, very nice post :)

    Greetings from Greece.

  5. 5

    Hynek Zatloukal

    July 18, 2010 2:38 am

    Great fun for Sunday’s afternoon :)

  6. 6

    Arnoud ten Hoedt

    July 18, 2010 2:54 am

    Nice post. Like the top one the best. Some of the others are kinda slow.

  7. 7

    Really, really handy thanks for posting. Particularly liked the Reddit presentation – more of these please!

  8. 8
  9. 9

    I can learn alot from these videos and I will.
    Thank you.

  10. 10


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  12. 12

    Aleksandar Tasevski

    July 18, 2010 10:32 pm

    Will watch them all when I go home. Super post!

  13. 13

    Oh my god! A good post on Smashing!

  14. 14

    A lot of great points where made here and will prove to be a valuable resource for developing our next project.

  15. 15

    This is definitely a great selection of videos. Just one of them is enough to keep the mind occupied for the whole week. I was gonna say maybe it would help to add a vid by Douglas Crockford, but we already have a lot of JavaScript goodness in this list so never mind. :)

  16. 16

    Nice post, except Paul Irish who is annoying, I cannot listen him.

  17. 17

    No way! He’s a hoot! Totally refreshing, and entertaining, and of course very practical and informative.

  18. 18

    great information for sharing.. cheers.

  19. 19

    Sorry, daniel. I support your choice to not listen to me. :)

  20. 20

    It’s so nice post.

    Is it have korean vasion? kkk

  21. 21

    Very useful. Thanks for sharing.

  22. 22

    might be very useful will surly watch all of them tonight at home :)

  23. 23
  24. 24

    Thank you for posting this. This is very useful!

  25. 25

    Awesome video collection. Thanks!

  26. 26

    Video that links to 71 web design tutorial videos. HTML, CSS, SQL, JavaScript, XML, JQuery, PHP and more.

  27. 27

    Gunisigi Balaban

    July 22, 2010 11:45 pm

    Very informative, thanks for sharing Louis.

  28. 28

    I particularly liked when you spurned the curly brackets. “cuz whatever, pfft… Eff Brackets.”

  29. 29

    Thank you!!!

  30. 30

    Look at these
    κατασκευή eshop


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