Meta Refresh 2014

On the construction of user interface on the web

Criteria for proposing sessions: You must be a practising web designer/developer, and must be able to show how your own work has advanced the state of the web in the past year. You are expected to present original work that your peers — this event’s audience — recognise as being notable enough to deserve a stage.

About Meta Refresh: Meta Refresh is a conference where Design and UI development converge. A beautiful experience on the web is a result of a deep understanding of your user and the nuances of the medium. Meta Refresh aims to be the platform where designers and UI developers exchange ideas and skills and learn from each other.

Format: This year’s edition spans four days, with two days of workshops and two days of conference. All days feature a single track.

We are accepting talks on:

  1. Front-end implementations, mainly workflow, processes, tools and automation,
  2. CSS, animation, UX, trends, and typography, and
  3. Short, crisp talks on front-end tricks.

Talks on implementation have to be about original work. While covering scalability and productivity aspects to explain implementation details, proposers must also explain who is the user and what is the context in which their product is being used. Therefore, how content and design were tailored in each specific instance.

We also invite workshop proposals on:

  1. Build systems such as Grunt
  2. CSS frameworks such as Bootstrap 3 and Foundation
  3. MVC/JS frameworks such as Angular
  4. Animations/UX

Workshops will be held on 12th and 13th February at the TERI auditorium in Domlur, Bangalore.

If you are excited about someone’s work and believe it deserves wider recognition, we recommend you contact them and ask them to submit a proposal.

Last date for submissions: 12 January 2014.
Confirmations: 15 January 2014 onwards.

There is only one speaker per session. Attendance is free for selected speakers. HasGeek will offer a grant to cover your travel to and accommodation in Bangalore from anywhere in the world for speakers delivering full sessions (30 minutes or longer). As our budget is limited, we will prefer speakers from locations closer home, but will do our best to cover for anyone exceptional. If you are able to raise support for your trip, we will count that as a speaker travel sponsorship.

Travel grants are reimbursed at the end of the conference. You are expected to make your own travel and stay arrangements. We will assist with hotel recommendations, visa letters and general advice on travel.

Commitment to open source

HasGeek believes in open source as the binding force of our community. If you are describing a codebase for developers to work with, we’d like it to be available under a permissive open source license. If your software is commercially licensed or available under a combination of commercial and restrictive open source licenses (such as the various forms of the GPL), please consider picking up a sponsorship. We recognize that there are valid reasons for commercial licensing, but ask that you support us in return for giving you an audience. Your session will be marked on the schedule as a sponsored session.

Non Accepted Proposals

If your proposal is accepted for a session > 30 minutes long, we will cover your event ticket. If your proposal is not accepted, you can buy a ticket at the same rate as was available on the day you proposed. We’ll send you a code.


For queries about proposals / submissions, write to

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Benjamin Lupton


Why templating engines suck. A history lesson.

Submitted Jan 7, 2014

JavaScript Today: EJS/Eco/ECT, that was soo 2 years ago. Moustache/Handlebars, that was soo 6 months ago. Facebook React, that’s the new hotness.

PHP 5 Years Ago: PHTML, that was soo 2 years ago. Smarty, that was soo 6 months ago. Symfony/Zend Templating, that’s the new hotness.

PHP Today: Templating engines suck.

JavaScript 5 Years From Now: Templating engines suck?

Is EJS the new PHTML? Is the Handlerbars the new Smarty? Is Facebook React the new Zend Templating? Did we not learn from our mistakes? Are we doing things wrong? Are our choices going to bite us on the bum? This history lesson of templating engines proposes where the different solutions came from, in a way of researching if we are making progress, or reinventing the same broken wheels we’ve had before.


People seem to have forgotten the lessons of No Smarty a campaign against Smarty, the templating god of the PHP Templating World, back then. Because of this campaign, many people realised that the problems that Smarty set out to solve, weren’t being fixed, or which solutions added new problems.

I’d like to take this talk as a history lesson of how templating engines have developed over the years. I did a paper on this many years ago as part of a school assignment, and also developed jQuery Smarty, the first reactive templating engine for JavaScript in 2008. After implementing that, and using it in a few projects at the time, I started to realise, that implementing Smarty in JavaScript, even with awesome reactivity, wasn’t solving the right problems in the first place. It just improved the broken wheel we already had, rather than fixing it.

We’ll cover the flow chart of templating engines, what problem they set out to solve, whether they did, how they did, and what new problems their solutions caused, and then the new projects which tried to solve those problems. We will then go over proposals of what clean solutions could look like.

We’ll answer questions like:

  • Which templating engine should I use?
  • Which templating engine is the best?
  • How did templating engines end up in the mess they are in?
  • What are the different types of templating engines available to me? and what are their problems?


Beginner JavaScript and HTML Knowledge

Speaker bio

Benjamin started off writing C#.NET programs to generate static websites, then moved onto PHP with Smarty, and then progressed onto Zend Framework and Symfony. In 2009 he quit PHP and embraced JavaScript full-time, having had great success with his jQuery Plugins:

jQuery Smarty, the first reactive javascript templating engine
jQuery Lightbox, the first lightbox plugin for jQuery

  • jQuery Sparkle, a don’t-repeat-yourself plugin/effect framework with consideration for AJAX websites

Now he has moved on from jQuery plugins, and has become the founder of Bevry, a company in Sydney dedicated to empowering developers everywhere. His new open-source javascript and node.js projects are some of the most popular in the world. He still works with jQuery, with Backbone and MicroJS like frameworks. You can read more about his approach to client side development here (advanced).


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Meta Refresh is an umbrella forum for conversations about different aspects of design and product including: UX and interaction design CMS, content management, publishing and content marketing Information architecture more