Web Development Conferences

How cool is it to be in a place where everyone is interested in the same thing?  For example, going to a college football game is great because you are there alongside thousands of other fans of one team (or maybe you are there for the away team, but you get the point), it is an awesome feeling to see everyone in sight wearing the same colors for supporting the school.  This is what conferences are like.  I have the pleasure of attending Coderfaire in Nashville last month.

I still consider myself to be a real novice in web development, so going to the conference really took a leap of faith.  I wasn’t sure the conference was for me (especially after reading some of the topics being presented).  But I took that jump, and I am really glad I did.  I got to meet some awesome and smart individuals in the industry.  Sure, many (possibly most) of the talks were over my head, but I made it a point to find something in each talk that I could learn and use not only in my journey in becoming a web developer, but also in my full time job right now.  So I thought I would run down and just briefly discuss each talk I went to, the notes I took from the talk,  and what I learned after the talk was over.

  • Keynote Talk – Eliza Brock —  She talked about the history of computer programming and what the origins of computer programmers are.  The main thing I gathered from the talk was the saying “Ready, Fire, Aim”.   I really need to use this approach more in my learning journey.  Don’t be afraid to just make things, and see where to “shot” at and refocus afterwards.
  • Javascript Promises – Winston Hearn — So I didn’t understand everything being presented here (common theme for most talks).  But it seemed that a ton of the workarounds people do in js would be made easier by using promises.  It seemed a bit like a do-while loop structure.
  • Throw-away Scripting in Ruby – Nathan Fritz — This talk was really over my head, but I really paid attention to the way he approached problems and how he found solutions.  His approach was really close to the scientific method of experimentation.  He continually focused on evaluating after the project was over.  I enjoyed the problem solving aspects of this talk.
  • Modern Front-End Development – Michael Leigeber — This talk was really just to allow people to see ALL the different aspects in front-end web development today.  The beginning of the talk I was able to stay with and comprehend.  However, he quickly got to things that were over my head.  One thing I noticed was how excited he got with each topic he discussed.  As he continued deeper and deeper into the aspects of modern development I could see the excitement and passion for the various methods and approaches to development.
  • Graduate your Stylesheet Strategy – Gabriel Cziprusz — Basically a talk over really considering how you want your CSS written.  What tools do you want to use?  It seemed like a call to consider a very structured approach to CSS, as opposed to just jumping in and changing things.
  • Gruntify Your Front-End Development – Elijah Manor — He showed all kinds of tools possible to help front-end developers automate tasks.  This seemed geared to the developer who has plenty of stuff he or she needs to create, but medial tasks are taking up all the time.
  • Building Desktop Apps w/HTML and Nodekit – Andy Matthews — I really noticed here how much the browser does for front-end web developers.  This talk reinforced in me that the browser is not just a program that regurgitates what your code is doing, but the browser is capable of so much more.  The base layer of the browser (e.g. Chromium in Google Chrome) is very powerful.
  • A Workflow for Collaboration, Quick Fixes, and Reliable Deployment – Kevin Smith — Other than the keynote, this talk had the most people in it when compared to all the other talks I went to.  His talk was over the need for structured processes when working with a team.  Super helpful, and I really took many of the thoughts here and tried to apply them to my job (teacher).
  • Laravel, Django, and Rails, Oh my! – Chris Roberts — There are so many frameworks! But each framework is more helpful for different things.  It is about finding the right tools for the right job.
  • Real World React – Jon Beebe — This is a library for creating UI, and it is based off of Facebook.  I really gathered how important it is to test what you have made.  This library is, apparently, super powerful.  Sometimes this caused the library to do crazy things in different situations where in other libraries the expected thing happened.  Really interesting.

I want to thank those who took time to talk with me.  It is really cool to meet people who know a ton about this stuff and I know absolutely nothing (it kinda felt like lol), but they were willing to talk to me.  Thanks to all those who gave talks.

Also, I am planning on going to another conference next month called Nodevember.  It is primarily about JavaScript and Node.js.  I am super excited about this conference because now I know what to expect from a conference, and this one seems to have a ton of big name companies going to it along with smaller companies.  If you are planning to go let me know!  I hope to meet up with someone from the last conference.  These are exciting times people! Get out there and attend a conference!  Thanks everyone!

Posted in Blog Posts, Web Development