Feedback on my first conf

Hey guys! It’s been a while I haven’t post anything; last month has been pretty intense. Especially since I recently had the amazing opportunity to be a speaker at KiwiParty!

It’s a one-day French conference at Strasbourg (France) gathering 10 speakers and more than 150 persons to talk about front-end technologies, accessibility, ergonomy, webdesign, and so much more.

Code is poetry - photo by Alexandra Lucas

So Friday June 28 at 2:00PM I was on stage to talk about Sass, and how we can use preprocessors to push our stylesheets to an upper level: “Kick-ass CSS with Sass” (“Des CSS kick-ass avec Sass”).

Basically, my talk is a collection of code snippets and real-life usecases of Sass to show how we can use a preprocessor further than declaring a couple of variables while keeping the code simple enough not to turn it into a Rube Goldberg machine.

About the conference

I’d never been at a conference before so it was pretty much what I could expect. A bunch of awesome people, great talks, food, and most of all: web. It was an amazing day, for sure.

Laptops and food - photo by Alexandra Lucas

Plus, we had the opportunity to meet two awesome dudes of our field:

  • Bert Bos -co-creator of CSS- introduced the day by telling us about CSS for books. Pretty amazing what we can know do with CSS when we know it was first intented to style basic text documents.
  • Tristan Nitot -founder of Mozilla Europe- concluded the conference by talking about Firefox OS. He’s such an awesome speaker; totally worth seeing him.

I could also meet all those great French guys and girls from Twitter and put some faces on names. Probably the best thing of this day. :)

About my talk

It went great. People seemed very interested in the topic and I felt like they were understanding the main point of the conference, so it’s something!

Focus - photo by Alexandra Lucas

I was kind of nervous, obviously. My laptop dying the night before the big day was not to help though… Hopefully I could buy a Chromebook (which will probably the topic for another article) and all went well.

This experience was kind of incredible actually.

This experience was kind of incredible actually. I walked into that room where dozens and dozens of boys and girls were waiting for me to talk to them. My hands were kind of sweaty and I was shivering a little at first but it all disappeared when I started talking.

Then a little voice popped in my head saying “dude, this is too complicated”, or “this is obvious to you but not for them” or “what the hell are you trying to explain?”. It stayed there during the whole conference and was kind of disturbing. I couldn’t have real-time feedback of course (imagine what it would look like) so I had no idea if people were enjoying my talk or hoping it was soon finished.

In the end, I had a couple of questions (most of them very relevant) which I was prepared to answer. Yeah that’s right, I prepared the Q&A guys!

Why Sass?

Well, it’s been almost 9 months now I am using Sass on an almost-daily basis. In the last few months, I’ve been intensively hacking around the language, reading every tiny bit of documentation I could find (especially Compass’ one) to push things further.

When my girlfriend suggested I give a talk at KiwiParty back in April, I laughed. I had nothing to talk about. Then, it was kind of an inception; the idea kept spinning in my head looking for a topic to speak about. Until I found it: Sass.

It was a risky bet.

Retrospectively, it was a risky bet. Speaking of CSS preprocessors can be quite complicated, especially in France where the topic is pretty controversial. I could have been faced to fervent opposants to CSS preprocessing, turning my talk into a troll. Luckily, I haven’t been.

Moar!

Unfortunately, my talk wasn’t recorded so no way to access it online, sorry guys. :(

Regarding pictures, my girlfriend took a couple of photos as you can see in this article. Otherwise, you can find more pics of the whole event on Flickr tagged #KiwiParty.

Oh, and of course here are my slides (in French, but it’s mostly code); read top to bottom then left to right. I’m currently writing a blog post digging deep into my slides, so be patient English-speaking friends. :)

Final words

Stuff - photo by Alexandra Lucas

So all in all, it was an amazing experience. Big thanks to the Alsacreations team and to all of you who were in the room to hear my talk.

I hope to be part of it next year as well. Meanwhile, I’m available to hack your Sass. ;)

Cheers!