We ran our first conference, React Finland, in 2018. The event was a great success; we ran it several times in 2019, 2021, and 2022. We had to skip the 2020 live event due to a worldwide pandemic, and even in 2021, the situation forced us online. GraphQL Finland was our attempt to run a GraphQL-focused conference, but we had to cancel the series due to a lack of interest in the local market.
Shift in the marketplace🔗
The market has shifted in several ways compared to 2017, when we decided to run our first conference. As a topic, React has become mainstream. That’s both a good and a bad thing as it means it is mature and stable, but, at the same time, it is less bleeding edge as a technology. Due to the shift, we did an internal pivot in 2022 as we introduced softer content to the conference program. Although it would have made sense for us as organizers to run React Finland at least one more time from a business perspective, it did not feel like a conference we would like to participate in anymore as we’ve started to look beyond React, as shown by the pivot.
The realization led us to a dilemma: after organizing a conference several times, we know how to run events and have the necessary infrastructure in place, including technical, financial, and social structures. At the same time, we believe that at the same time, there’s room for a frontend-focused conference in the Finnish market, especially as there aren’t many events here due to the low population compared to central Europe, for example.
New concept - Future Frontend🔗
It is from this background that the idea for a pivot was born. In basketball, pivoting means keeping one leg fixed while moving the other. We are utilizing our existing organizational structure and shifting the topic and brand. As a conference, Future Frontend is a forward-looking one to bring the leading minds of frontend together in Finland. Our target is to bridge the Finnish frontend community with the global one while running a world-class conference.
We’ve retained several elements from React Finland while scoping down the conference slightly to reduce the risk of running the event for the first time. The first run’s success defines whether it makes sense to keep organizing a conference series, and our minimal financial target is to break even before paying the organizers. Ideally, we can also compensate the organizers since that allows us to keep running events without running into personal financial trouble.
Future Frontend 2023 in numbers🔗
The 2023 edition of the Future Frontend will look like this:
- 06-07.06 - Four workshops
- 08-09.06 - Two days of a single-track conference
- 15 speakers, eight themes, up to 250 attendees
The conference is held at the historical center of Helsinki in Pörssitalo, and we’ll find a location for the workshops nearby. Given the event is held in the Summer, you’ll have an excellent opportunity to enjoy Finland at its best time.
Future Frontend session themes🔗
One of the things that worked well in React Finland was the concept of themed sessions arranged in a single track. Admittedly running multiple tracks at once would give more to choose from in case there’s a topic that’s not interesting. At the same time, going for a single track reduces the complexity from an organizer’s perspective while providing a unified experience for all. We’ve gone from three speakers to two per session, allowing us to give more time per speaker while controlling rising costs due to inflation as we’re bringing more speakers from the United States than usual.
Each session of the conference takes 1.5 hours and has two speakers. The idea is that instead of treating a talk as a conference unit, it is the session. The speakers own their sessions, and it’s up to them to plan the timing and related aspects. I expect many will go with 30-minute talks, as that leaves roughly half an hour for a public QA, but we may also see other arrangements.
We’ve included half an hour breaks (one hour for lunch), so there’s enough time to refresh and exchange. Often, these times allow you to reflect on the sessions and meet other developers. For some people, the hallway track is the actual conference.
We’ve selected particularly forward-looking session themes, and many of these would not have fit React Finland, given they are so far from the topic. The first day (08.06) of the conference begins with an opening by Miško Hevery (Angular.js, Qwik) and Ryan Carniato (Solid.js) after which we’ll delve into static site generation with Felix Gnass (Capri) and Matthew Phillips (Astro). Mohammad Khazali and Thais Santos will help us to understand how to develop universal design systems that enable us to build software across different types of hardware. Regarding the frontend, we don’t discuss audio often, so Ken Wheeler and Tero Parviainen will end the first day of the conference with beats.
The second day begins with green computing as Satu Lapinlampi and Janne Kalliola help us to understand the emerging topic and its importance for frontend developers. Given the urgency of climate change, it felt like an excellent soft topic to bring to the program. From green computing, we go to edge computing as Dmitriy Akulov (jsDelivr) and Sunil Pai help us see how the approach is changing the way we develop our applications. In the following security session, Samuel Macleod (Cloudflare) and Liran Tal (Snyk) give us practical advice on how secure our frontends. To end the conference, Miško Hevery will provide us with a sneak peek of the future in his demonstration.
As traditional, that’s not all. We will have an afterparty where to unwind from the week of learning and meeting other developers. We don’t have an exact plan yet, but I’m sure we’ll be able to find a suitable arrangement especially given it’s likely warm enough to run an outdoor event.
Future Frontend workshops🔗
Our experience has shown that a big part of the value of why you would drag yourself to Finland (unless you are a local) has to do with our workshops. It’s not only the conference that’s interesting but the workshop days before it. Tuesday (06.06) and Wednesday (07.06) are dedicated to learning together, and this time around, we have prepared four workshops for you as follows:
- 06.06 - Cloudflare Workers from zero to hero - Samuel Macleod - Full day.
- 06.06 - Wearing different hats: understanding and practicing the designer/developer workflow for digital products with a design system in place - Thais Santos - Full day.
- 07.06 - Beats with Ken - Ken Wheeler - Full day.
- 07.06 - Building Fast WebApps with QwikCity - Miško Hevery - Full day.
Each workshop is limited to 20 seats. For some, the price of a workshop has been subsidized by the company of the workshop instructor and therefore the price level is cheaper then.
In the past, we have often sold out workshops. The earlier this happens, the better this is for you, as this means we can usually add another workshop to increase capacity.
Call for sponsors🔗
Although selling enough tickets to cover our costs is essential, that’s not the only source of income for a conference. You could say that it is the ticket sales that make the event happen and then sponsorships that allow us to increase production quality and do extras we otherwise would not be able to. It takes a surprising amount of money to produce conference photos, videos, drawings, and whatnot.
Our model this time is similar to what we did earlier, so there are bronze, silver, and gold levels with limited availability. Given the reduced scope compared to React Finland, we have reduced the cost of sponsorship accordingly. We are happy to find creative solutions that allow you to meet your sponsorship targets. Often, sponsors do their activities during the week, especially after the workshop days and the first conference day. We are also open to collaboration on the afterparty.
See the exact details and pricing on our sponsor page if your company is interested in supporting us.
I hope you decide to join the first edition of Future Frontend. If you have been to one of our events earlier, you know what to expect. If not, this is your perfect excuse to visit Finland while understanding where the frontend is headed. For the locals, it’s a great way to connect with the global community without traveling too far.
As we use early bird pricing, make sure to buy your ticket now. Your early support is crucial as it will keep the stress levels of the organizers down, so do not wait too long.