Zach’s ugly mug (his face)

Zach Leatherman

In Case You Missed It: 2015

01 Jan 2016 Zach Leatherman

Rather than a bunch of individual “In Case You Missed It” tweets, I thought I’d repeat what I’ve done the last two years and just do one big yearly semi-comprehensive recap of the web community things that I did this year. Enjoy!


Holy shit—I’m on the stage at The Whitehouse.

This was the year I really got into public speaking. I gave a total of six talks this year, the highlight of which was surely a short talk at The White House about NebraskaJS. This was something that I will never forget. It was amazing to be invited.

My next favorite talk was an un-talk at Barcamp Omaha about Public Speaking. I spent a fair bit of time preparing a web site that would let me type and add GIFs to slides in real time. I thought it’d be fun to give a talk about public speaking without actually doing any speaking. It was a lot of fun.

About to go on stage at SmashingConf Barcelona

Vitaly was really great to invite me to give a talk at SmashingConf Barcelona about Font Loading. Smashing Conferences continue to prove themselves as the best run conferences with enthusiastic and well informed attendees. I hope to do more of them in the future!

Last but not least, I gave two talks at Velocity about Font Loading: in Santa Clara and New York City, a talk at NebraskaJS Lincoln on Performance and Responsive Web Design, and a podcast episode of The Changelog.

Blog Posts

Top five posts written in 2015, ordered by total page views.

  1. Font Loading at Filament Group: This post is now deprecated. We now use Font Load Events, also described on the Filament Group blog.
  2. Flash of Faux Text: an approach I still use on this blog, I still consider it to a great way to reduce jarring reflow changes when your web fonts load. I have modified and upgraded this approach to be even better on slower connections, look for a post on that soon.
  3. Compatibility Table Compendium
  4. The Infinity Hamburger Menu
  5. The Mitt Romney Web Font Problem


It was over four years ago that I took over NebraskaJS, and in 2015 we had 17 different meetups in Lincoln and Omaha and 23 different speakers, not counting the two Omaha developer group co-op parties and NEJS CONF. We added 314 meetup members in 2015 to bring our total to 920, which is a big improvement over the 187 we added in 2014. We may hit 1000 total members in 2016!


The plan to run a conference was born, like so many conferences, out of a seed that was planted attending the amazing JSConf Conference in Amelia Island. It is bittersweet to see their last event come and go. I wish the Williams family the best and hope they return to full health soon!

We had 200 attendees at the first ever NebraskaJS Conference, a single day single track conference at the Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium. We were excited to have an open call for proposals, a live band at the after party, and speakers from all over the world including keynotes from Christian Heilmann and Ethan Marcotte. Even though it was our team’s first time running a conference, excitingly I think we can call it a success!

Smashing Book #5

I was invited to be a technical reviewer for Bram Stein’s chapter about web fonts and font loading in the latest Smashing Book, #5. It turned out really well, his chapter really is a great comprehensive resource on font loading—I highly recommend it!


Open Source


So many personal things happened interleaved into my professional life that looking back on it seems crazy. My daughter was born in May of this year and adjusting to fatherhood has been the most challenging aspect of the year. Two weeks before she was born, I was at the White House. About four weeks after she was born, I was giving a talk in Silicon Valley. I was getting up every two hours for feedings while preparing for talks. We also moved to a new house the week before Velocity New York.

It really drove home this year that so much of life happens in parallel. I may do my best work when I only have one iron in the fire (I know multitasking lowers my efficiency), but this would have been a real short post if I followed that constraint. I think it might be more accurate to say that I do my best work when I have a deadline, and when you have multiple tasks that need accomplished, deadlines are everywhere.

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”—John Lennon and others

Thank You Notes

Huge thank you to Nick Nisi and Blaine Kasten, my co-organizers for NebraskaJS; additionally the co-organizers of NEJS CONF, Jerod Santo, John Hobbs, Matt Steele, and Sandi Barr. Thank you to everyone that put in a proposal to speak at NEJS CONF. Thank you to our keynote speakers that agreed to speak at a first-time conference and especially Ethan Marcotte who agreed to come on early (I believe before we had launched our website). I also feel grateful for everyone involved in organizing the twice-a-year Omaha developer meetup co-op parties (Kevin Berry especially).

I’m also grateful to Steve Souders, Vitaly Friedman, and Meetup for giving me some really great speaking opportunities this year.

And a huge thank you to Filament Group. I continue to learn from my amazing colleagues and was grateful to get paternity leave this year—it really meant a lot to our family.

Of course, the biggest thank you goes to my wife. She has shown extreme patience with our busy schedule this year and I really can’t thank her enough. Only 44 years left until our 50th wedding anniversary!

Retweet to share this post