JSConf 2014 Adventures

By on June 13, 2014 12:27 pm

JSConf 2014Warm weather, ocean water, and sunburn. Yes, I just attended a JavaScript conference! JSConf is a three-day conference that has talks by a number of great speakers, split up with a “choose-your-own-adventure” day in the middle. The talks covered a wide variety of topics, from front end tooling to JavaScript robotics.

The first day of the conference had many great talks. The one that stood out the most to me was the User Interface Algorithms talk by Mark DiMarco. He described Voronoi Diagrams and, using The New York Times’ 512 Paths to the White House page, shows how they are used to determine which path to highlight in a tree based on the mouse position. He then examined the Amazon drop-down menu and explained how it knows when to keep submenus open.

The first day was wrapped up with a wonderful and hilarious talk by Jenn Schiffer where she introduced her new JavaScript sorting library, JortSort.

The second day of the conference was a choose-your-own-adventure day with a number of technical activities including Nodebots, Noderockets, Nodeboats, and Nodecopters, and also some non-technical activities like Segway tours, golf, and kayaking. I chose the kayaking adventure. We started in a marsh and made our way down the Amelia River with a stop at a nice beach before ending up at the pickup area.

JSConf kayak adventure

Having done the Nodecopter activity in 2013, I was excited to see what the challenge was this year. When I was finished kayaking, I checked in on the teams who were trying to program their drones to compete in a soccer match against another drone. The drones had to be autonomous for the first 15 seconds and then they could be controlled manually. It looked like a very fun challenge!

On the final day of talks, Angelina Fabbro spoke about 2D and 3D canvas performance and gave a number of really nice tips and tricks for optimizing animations. Building on that, Bodil Stokke delivered a great talk on Reactive game development where she exhibited her amazing live coding skills to make a 2D My Little Pony game using RxJS.

Bodil Stokke live coding at JSConf

Brian J. Brennan delivered the final talk at JSConf titled “Being Human”. His talk was incredible. He spoke on a very personal level about remembering that the people we interact with on the Internet are people. It was the perfect end to another great year at JSConf.

JSConf ended with a massive carnival-themed party, complete with cotton candy, funnel cakes, bouncy castles, Segways, and even a dunk tank, followed by one more night of pool fun at the resort! This conference had exceptional talks and great activities. Most of all, it had wonderful people which made it an unforgettable experience!