Interview with Render co-host Addy Osmani!

Interview with Render co-host Addy Osmani!

Earlier this week, we had a quick catch up with Render 2016 co-host and Google Engineer Addy Osmani, and we couldn’t resist putting a few of our burning questions to him. Read on to find out his favourite underrated DevTools feature, and the weirdest thing that’s ever happened to him as a speaker.

We’re excited to have you as one of our two Render co-hosts this year! What made you want to chair this conference?

Everyone I’ve met that either attended or was involved in jQuery UK last year seemed truly passionate about the open web and helping share knowledge in the community. I deeply enjoyed being a small part of that and wanted to play a bigger role in helping craft that experience for this year’s attendees. The front-end is changing at a constant pace and learning how to navigate those waters whilst staying excited about it is something we all think about. I believe this year’s speakers will do a great job of helping folks with that. Yes, the speakers paid me to say that. Also, thank you speakers <3.

You spoke at jQuery UK last year. What was your favourite moment from the conference?

Getting kicked off stage! :) I gave a talk on what’s new in the Chrome DevTools last year and had wayyy too many tips to squeeze into my time slot. I kept tried to add in just ONE MORE TIP when the bell sounded and the audience laughed me on every time I tried getting yet another tip mentioned. I’ve had half a dozen people walk up and mention that moment over the last year. It’s a little ironic I’ll be keeping an eye on time for Render Conf’s speakers this year but… I think this is the organisers’ cruel way of forcing me to learn to keep time. Basically, every speaker gets a 5 hour slot for their talk is my new rule. Sorrrrry.

The Render 2016 line-up is pretty amazing! What talks are you most looking forward to and why?

All of them! I think we’ve managed to secure a diverse line-up of speakers who who have experienced enough of the joy (and tears) of working with different aspects of building for the web that everyone is going to leave having learned something new. Bruce is covering where we’re hoping to take the web platform next, Ola’s going to bring us up to speed on what new questions we need to ask ourselves around offline support in our apps, Val’s talking about truly meaningful web animation, Alicia’s going to dive into the (vast) landscape of front-end testing, Sara’s covering the intricacies of SVG animation, Lee’s covering how to build high-performance UIs with immutability in mind, Harry, Maxim, Robin, Frederik, Jade, Ashley, Martin, Claire, Ricardo and Jeremy are going to wow us with their talks too. Am I forgetting anyone? Oh… Jake.

My friend and colleague Jake couldn’t be arsed to send in a talk summary. Jake, we love you dearly, but please make up something to talk about. Even if it’s just a talk on HTTP codes :)

Yeah, come on Jake! OK, we know how much you love sharing DevTools tips, Addy. What’s your number 1 favourite pro-tip that a lot of people might not know?

Network Throttling (in the Chrome DevTools Network panel and Device Mode) is a great way to emulate what your users experience when they’re offline or on a slow or spotty network connection. Think conference/hotel wifi or loading anything on a train. As more and more of what we build factors in mobile and being on the go, emulating slow speeds should be an essential part of your workflow in 2016.

Network throttling

Love that tip! Finally, you’ve spoken at 65 conferences all over the world – what’s the weirdest experience you’ve ever had as a speaker?!

The weirdest speaker experience I’ve ever had was in Amsterdam a few years ago. It was my first time there, I’d just landed and had about 2 hours to get to the talk venue. I didn’t realise how dense the city centre was and - naively - I thought I’d Google Maps my way to success. 90 minutes (and a few wrong turns later) I was nowhere closer to my destination. I started freaking out. In the end, I asked directions from a friendly local pimp who turned out to be lot more accurate than any app on my phone. You can never underestimate local knowledge :).

Huge thanks to Addy for answering our questions. If you’d like to join us at Render 2016, grab your ticket here.


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