08. August 2017

Tales of GUADEC 2017 Part 4


The day would begin with breakfast kindly provided by Collabora. On the way there, Kat encouraged me to give a second open talk. Still feeling elated from events prior, I jumped at the opportunity. I decided I would give a talk about fast game development with Phaser and gjs.

Once I penned down the idea, I made my way to Philip Chimentos talk about the current state and future of gjs. He helped bring me up to date regarding the JavaScript features it currently supports and where it’s headed for GNOME 3.26. The slides and links within make for a great introduction for anyone curious.

I spent a good deal of time thereafter in the cubicles writing the slides, building the game and hanging out with folks. I had a number of interesting conversations along the way too.

Towards the end of the day I presented my efforts as a lightning talk. I gave a brief overview of Phaser and gjs, demoed the game and set the stage for a hackfest. I had a lot of fun delivering this talk, and it’s a moment I look forward to reliving when the video comes out.

Steve's hastily built game for GUADEC 2017
Clearly not a AAA endeavour, but it’s a start right?

Immediately after the lightning talks, the conference closing ceremony took place. It was announced that GUADEC 2018 would take place in sunny Almeria, Spain. You can bet I’ll be there!

The evening closed with an impactful city tour. I enjoyed soaking up Manchester’s history and present day culture. The city’s bee symbolism in particular resonated with me.

By the time we reached the Alan Turing Memorial, I was feeling a little subdued. GUADEC was coming to an end and I would soon be heading home.

David Tenant in Doctor Who

It wasn’t all over yet though. A great curry and an equally matched Connect-4 game would raise my spirits again. I would be attending the first of the unconference days in the morning, so there would still be more value to give.

07. August 2017

Tales of GUADEC 2017 Part 3

GNOME Anniversary Party
Party time!

This is the third of a multi-part report from GUADEC 2017. You can read parts one and two here and here.


Saturday was perhaps the most relaxed of the main conference days for me. I was able to enjoy many of the talks, learn a lot and connect with people.

I first attended Martin’s talk on Emeus, a new layout manager for GTK+ that supports constraints. I’m very new to the GNOME platform from a development point of view, so it was good to get an idea of how interfaces can be assembled in 2017.

I then attended Carlos and Florian’s GNOME Shell State of the Union session. I’ve lost touch with the Free Software desktop in recent years, so it was nice to get an idea of what has changed and what features will be coming down the pipeline.

That afternoon, Jonathan delivered a comprehensive history of GNOME. My first exposure to GNOME was around the mid 2000s, so it was great to get an understanding for all the events leading up to that time. The talk reminded me of the many highs and struggles the desktop has experienced over the years. With Ubuntu making it’s way fully back to GNOME and Flatpak really taking off, it’s an exciting time to be involved in the project.

Next up was a moving talk by GNOME Foundation Executive Director Neil McCovern. He presented a vision for a potentially dark future. The talk struck a chord with me and inspired some thinking around the ethical implications of what I do. There’s a better way to do web services and data, and I should lend my experience to those efforts.

The day closed with the GNOME Foundation AGM and group photo. The takeaway for me was a much clearer understanding of the GNOME Foundation, the various committees and how resources are allocated to particular efforts. I was also inspired by the concept of a hackfest here, since it was reported that hackfests were down in the year prior. More on that later…

We wrapped up the day with the GNOME 20th Anniversary Party at the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry. I want to thank everyone who approached me that evening asking questions and pointing me towards particular people. I had a great chat with Todd from Purism in particular - making the case for PWAs on their upcoming mobile platform.

This event, the many discussions I had and the walk back afterwards made this one of the highlights of the conference for me. The good feels would stay with me long into Sunday.

07. August 2017

Tales of GUADEC 2017 Part 2

This is the second of a multi-part report from GUADEC 2017. You can read part 1 here.


The day began with me penning my talk idea on the Open Talks board. There were four slots available in total. I would visit the board several times throughout the day anxiously checking the vote.

The first talk I attended was with Michael, where he made the case for GNOME Web. Web’s deep integration with the GNOME platform puts it in a unique position compared to the many other browsers available. It is to GNOME what Edge is to Windows and likewise what Safari is to macOS: a deeply integrated browser that’s native to the platform. The most interesting takeaway for me was an understanding of who’s involved in the project and the various ways I could add value.

I feel there’s a misconception among front-end developers about who makes Webkit. Prior to Michael’s talk I assumed Apple were the primary force behind the project, but I learned that organisations like Igalia and Collabora also add significant weight to the project.

Prior to GUADEC, I wasn’t familiar with Endless, so it was great to attend Joaquim’s talk where I was able to experience what they’re all about. I was drawn in by their sympathy for the offline condition - a topic I’m passionate about in my front-end work. Their platform and app ideas spoke to me in many ways, and it was refreshing to meet people from the team throughout the conference with like-minded thoughts and values.

In the afternoon I delivered my first public talk. I made the case for Progressive Web Apps on GNOME. To my surprise it resonated well with those attending including maintainers from GNOME Web, gjs and others. I can’t thank you all enough for voting, asking questions and chatting to me at various points thereafter. I’ve been to a handful of conferences, but this was the first time I felt like my views were valued. You all rock 🤘

Thanks to Kat for encouraging me to give the talk, for practising & refining the slides with me and being present when I needed her. I fought one of my dragons that day and discovered something new about myself. I couldn’t have done it without her. I also want to thank Richard, who delivered his open talk prior, for his support and kind remarks.