JSConf Budapest

jsconfbp

I was so excited about this conference, you have no idea! It represented a great opportunity for me to get introduced to the incredibly warm JS community. Since my personal goal for the first half of 2016 was to perfect my JS skills, this conference represented an amazing chance for me to get up to date with the latest trends, news and practices and also meet people from whom I can learn.

I was lucky enough to be awarded a scholarship to attend JSConf and I am extremely thankful to the organisers and the NGOs that created this possibility for me. I’ll highlight in this post some of my key learnings from my favourite talks, without forgetting to mention the fact that I received an over dose of inspiration that allowed me to start my very own creative project (I love it!!).

First of all, the “master of ceremony”, as the organisers called him, Jake Archibald (@jaffathecake) has been an incredible incredible MC! All his introductions or interventions on the stage were super super funny. I particularly liked his call for programming/movie puns, which revealed some hilarious ideas : “Chrome Alone 2”, “Planet of the APIs”, “Batman returns true”, “Forrest Gulp”, “The usual SASSpects”, “Gruntzilla” and much much more. He also advised participants in the beginning that “being on fire is highly discouraged”.

Safia Abdalla (@captainsafia) had a great talk on memory management in JS. A topic I didn’t think of much before the conference. She discussed the V8 JS engine only and explained how it works and how it allocates memory under a heap structure. If you’d like to find out more about this topic, here’s a webpage/course she created related to the talk. Next, Yan (@bcrypt) had a great and very relevant talk on encryption and the move to HTTPS. It was great to find out about the Let’s Encrypt project, an open-source initiative from EEF, Mozilla and the University of Michigan that automates the TLS config process and issues HTTPS certificates for websites at no cost.

Denys Mishunov (@mishunov) discussed website performance as the users’ perception of how a fast website might behave. It encouraged developers to move a bit away from overthinking metrics and focusing on how the users’ brain perceives the difference between a website that loads in 700ms and one that loads in 800. He stated that a website needs to be at least 20% so that the users can notice any difference. Then Nick Hehr (@hipsterbrown), a front end developer from Brooklyn, NY ended day one with a great talk on empathy in the developers community. He talked about encouraging each other and offering constructive feedback as often as we can.

Day two started with an incredibly inspirational talk from Suz Hinton (@noopkat), an Australian front-end developer based in NY. She talked about a creative project she developed on her own, recording sounds in the subway, transforming notes into pixels and then editing the resulting image to form beats and a nice funny web app. Her story motivated me to go on and put in practice my own creative idea and I can’t tell you how happy I am to have started worked on it 2 days ago. I plan to finalise it soon, by the end of this month.

Then Nicolás Bevacqua (@nzgb) gave another great talk on site performance. This talk did focus on improving metrics by optimising TCP, HTTP, HTML, CSS, fonts, images and of course, JS. He recommended High Performance Browser Networking, a book by Ilya Grigorik, which sounds like a very good read to get an in-depth perspective on this topic, which I am sure will prove to be super useful for any future project.

A great talk was offered by Rob Kerr (@robrkerr) as well. He is a researcher at IBM Watson in Australia and he showed how JS helped him and his team develop some incredible data visualisation tools that were very useful in their research on neurons. One of the things he mentioned in the beginning of his talk is that, indeed, the web was created at CERN for the scientific community. It is great to find out that it still complements researchers’ work.

As the last talks, Claudia Hernandez (@koste4) explored JS particularities in a very funny Alice in Wonderland themed presentation, while Lena Reinhard (@lrnrd) sent a very powerful message about debugging the tech industry. She referred to the problem that is between the keyboard and the chair and talked about the diversity and inclusion challenges the industry is facing at the moment.

I am so so happy and thankful for being offered this incredible opportunity and I cannot wait to start taking some action and using the learnings and inspiration I gathered to develop my own amazing projects.