QCon Beijing 2016 conference recap

By on April 28, 2016 6:07 am

QCon Beijing Photos

QCon Beijing happened last week and I had the opportunity to travel and give a talk as one of the few American speakers.

Most notably, all talks were delivered in Mandarin which was a bit of a challenge given that I don’t speak Mandarin. Luckily words like JavaScript and Docker transcend the language barrier!

Here are some highlights from my trip.

Day 1: April 21

Paul Butcher gave the opening talk, speaking about trends in programming languages and the move towards functional programming becoming more popular, not just in usage of languages, but also with functional additions to other languages. Monica Beckwith then gave a talk about GC and memory management in the OpenJDK.

The final keynote of the morning covered the topic of rethinking mobile application development, delivered by a speaker from Alibaba. The talk focused on the trends of using native and HTML5/JavaScript solutions, and talked about the open source Weex framework developed by Alibaba, as well as React Native.

QCon Mobile

After lunch, the three western keynote speakers were invited on a tour of the Forbidden City. It is a very impressive palace and part of Chinese history, and is a must see when visiting Beijing.

Forbidden City

This day ended with a conference-hosted speaker party overlooking the Olympic Village at a “7-star hotel” and I met a number of the local HTML5 and JavaScript speakers.

Olympic Village

Day 2: April 22

I kicked off the future of the web track to a standing-room only crowd (!) with a talk about Lessons Learned with ES6 and TypeScript!

ES6 and TypeScript Presentation

There was a session before lunch from Lin Wei that is working on Qici Engine, a remarkable HTML5 and JavaScript game engine. The visuals are really impressive.

Gaming Speaker

That afternoon, I had the incredible opportunity of meeting with a team at Alibaba to tell them about Dojo 2 and Intern!


Then I met Li Jing, who has translated several JavaScript books into Mandarin, including Nicholas Zakas’ Maintainable JavaScript.

Dylan with Author

Day 3: April 23

On the last day of the conference I delivered a final keynote on JavaScript architecture. I really enjoyed giving this talk and received a lot of positive feedback from the attendees including some very good questions at the end.

Keynote - Dojo Toolkit

Conference Takeaways & Other PROTIPs:

    1. If giving a talk, speak slowly so the poor translator can keep up with you.
    2. There are a lot of people in China. Get ready to meet and greet!
    3. Remember that the firewall in China blocks many services, and most commercial VPN services are blocked fairly quickly. READ AS: Don’t plan on getting any work done unless everything needed is on the laptop you brought with you!
    4. Business cards, aka “Name Cards” are still used in China! Luckily I have tons due to non-use in the west!
    5. Setup a WeChat account because everyone has an account. It’s a very easy way to communicate, and it includes a streamlined interface for translation. Because Facebook, Google, Slack, and Twitter are blocked by the China firewall, WeChat is the defacto platform people use to exchange contact information, chat, and share updates. It’s even used by the conference as the login mechanism to view the speaker slides. I installed WeChat, and by the end of the conference, 250 attendees had connected with me in order to have future discussions. Now that’s social networking!


Speaking at international conferences is a great opportunity to learn from developers and grow from their experiences. There are definitely differing development constraints in priorities that we, as developers, face. I found QCon Beijing to be a highly rewarding experience, and I hope to speak there again in the future (and reconnect with all my new-found WeChat friends!).