Leeds GDG Devfest 2019


Recently, I got the opportunity to attend the annual Leeds Google Developers Group DevFest 2019, sponsored by Google and Infinity Works.  It was a great chance to listen to some interesting talks by people in the development community from all over the world.

It's difficult to condense a day of talks into one single blog post, but here are a few takeaways.

Giorgos Bamparopoulos, Senior Software Developer at Bet365 talked about web performance and how it can be measured.  Website load time is extremely important, not just because it can be a ranking factor, but a slow loading site can lead to a poor user experience and ultimately could impact conversions.   

Google have produced tools like this one https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/feature/testmysite/, which can evaluate how a faster site can impact business in terms of revenue. Whilst page speed is important, the user-perceived performance is just as critical.  Having a blank screen and loading everything at the same time can confuse users, causing them to question whether the site is actually doing anything. Having elements rendering at least shows the user that something is happening.  The most important element of a page is also known as a “Hero Element”. Its key to get these hero elements rendered and usable in the least amount of time possible.       

Torry Yang, Developer Programs Engineer at Google talked about machine learning.  This was a talk full of demos about the power of machine learning and how it can be implemented.  The demos ranged from categorising a piece of content all the way up to the API telling you what's in an image or video.  For example, if you gave the API the following sample data:      

“The first trailer for the new Black Widow movie has dropped, ahead of the film's release in 2020. The new film, starring Scarlett Johansson, isn't an origin story, but it does come before the events of the last two Avengers movies, Infinity War and Endgame.”

It can tell you that Black Widow and Scarlett Johansson are both people.  I chose this content specifically because Black Widow is also a spider, so it has the intelligence to know that we are describing a person in this instance.  It also can categorise the content for you, in this case /Arts & Entertainment/Movies with a confidence level of 0.99.  The other main thing it can tell you is the sentiment.  So let's look at one of our reviews:

“Very smooth delivery of our new corporate website, good feedback and guidance on our requirements during the process and productive collaboration with the Wish team in the creation and switch over to the new site.”

This has a score of 0.9 with a magnitude of 0.9, so overall it says it’s very positive.  For the SEO people out there, this technology might sound very similar to BERT.   https://www.blog.google/products/search/search-language-understanding-bert/

Wesley Chun, Senior Developer Advocate at Google went through a list of Google's products. He walked through some of the APIs that they provide.  I've used some of their APIs before, like the Maps, Search Console and Analytics APIs, but other APIs were mentioned with examples of how they can be incorporated to help improve workflow and help automate processes.

A big thank you to everyone who was involved in organising the meetup, all the speakers and Infinity Works for hosting the event and feeding us all.   

Wish Agency is an award-winning integrated marketing agency, get in touch to discuss your web development needs.