Connect.Tech 2016 recap

By on November 1, 2016 6:54 am

I was back in Atlanta a couple weeks ago for Connect.Tech, the largest JavaScript focused conference in the southeast with nearly 1,000 attendees and 11 concurrent sessions. Connect.Tech is a community conference and covers a wide variety of topics over two days. This year I was invited to speak on the topics Composition vs. Inheritance and Testing ES6 and TypeScript Code with Intern.

The first day began with Josh Marinacci’s entertaining Infopocalpyse 2020 talk, which reminded us that trends throughout history have emerged that changed the way we think and work. Todd Gandee of Big Nerd Ranch then talked on his topic, Prototype to Production – Ember to the Rescue. Todd’s talk was very informative in explaining how Ember has solved the needs of their team on several apps they’ve built and how Ember has influenced the CLI developer tool productivity trends.

After these talks, I delivered my first presentation on composition vs. inheritance, wherein I looked at some of the work SitePen has done with dojo/compose. Highlights included the challenges SitePen encountered along the way in creating a reusable class-like system with TS and ES6 that discourages anti-patterns. SitePen has evolved and refined dojo/compose quite a bit since first announcing dojo/compose. Expect a follow-up post in the near future with more details.

During lunch, the JavaScriptAir Live Radio Show was streamed to the world. I then enjoyed Brian Lonsdorf’s session, Oh Composable World!, which offered an engaging look at functional programming concepts in JavaScript. Afterwards, I spent some time in the hallway track speaking to engineers about trends in JavaScript. Topics ranged from complexity with ES6 and TypeScript to Angular 2, Aurelia, React, Dojo 2, testing, and more.

On the second day, I enjoyed An Intro to Web VR by Dee Del Rosario. WebVR is a hot topic and something SitePen has discussed during  our recent meetups this month. Afterwards, I spent a fair amount of time again in the hallway track visiting with others before my talk in the afternoon.

For my second session, I talked about testing ES6 and TypeScript code after giving an overview of the exciting features coming in Intern 3.4. On the surface, testing with ES6 and TypeScript is easy: just transpile your tests into ES5 and use remap-istanbul to preserve code coverage analysis against transpiled code. The bigger challenges occur when you want to test ES6 features within the same 24 hour period. SitePen looked at these challenges around modularity, features such as async/await, and more to reduce the struggle with testing.

Overall, I enjoyed the conversations I had during the conference and enjoyed showing some of the things we’ve been working on with Dojo 2, explaining how our efforts fit into the JavaScript ecosystem. It’s really amazing to see how many people embrace JavaScript today. Engineers are being very productive with JavaScript, ES6+, and TypeScript, though also are somewhat frustrated with how much things are changing, how brittle the ecosystem can be, and how there are still numerous architecture and engineering challenges. We hope to help improve the state of things with our efforts on Dojo 2 and Intern 4! With all the amazing things being done on the web, we’re happy to be part of the ecosystem and happy to help organizations thrive with building powerful, modern web applications.

After my final session, the conference concluded with the organizers giving away roughly 30 prizes ranging from Tile to MacBook Pro. Conference speakers were each provided with a Tile, a very handy device for making sure you can quickly find your phone and keys using Bluetooth.

Conferences are challenging to organize and I applaud Vincent Mayers and Pratik Patel on their excellent job in creating Connect.Tech, delivering a very well run event. Do attend if you have the opportunity.


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