JS Conf Australia 2018 Recap

Table of contents

Last week I attended my second JS conference ever since my time at Backbone Conference 2014. This was a completely different experience, since I have been working in earnest for about 18 months on JS platforms to build and deliver products.

During this time I’ve been using mostly Meteor, which is a Mongo + NodeJS framework, plus React. Javascript and its surrounding community is definitely thriving in terms of innovation, and I’m sure that in a short time it will stopped be called “The New Way” to just be known as “THE WAY”.

The event gathered 450 attendees from three continents. I’ll share some of the most interesting things that I saw and experienced.

The Awesome

On most conferences hot beverages are the source of long queues, but let’s face it, without these stimulants the sessions would mostly be a bunch of snoring folks.

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the organization added sweets to tackle the problem. The cloud-based company Twillio pitched in as a sponsor not only for coffee but for hot chocolate as well. As a non-coffee drinker, I definitely appreciated this.

If you are not familiar with them, Twillio is a communication APIs platform that facilitates things as simply sending an SMS with your order and getting back a nice response with your order information and a link to check how the solution was implemented.

When your order is ready you get another SMS and you can just pick up your beverage. How cool is that? Never get your name spelled wrong anymore, and use that queue time for whatever you want.

The Highlights

Using Chrome Developer Tools to hack your way into concerts, by Amy Nguyen

A fun session about how to hack a ticketing system. Check the slides here for a full overview of the process, or play around with the demo code.

Pumping up Node.js modules with Rust!, by Vigneshwer Dhinakaran

This session was a little dense and deep, but the core is that Rust is another language that could transpile to get executed inside NodeJs. I know this may sound overwhelming or even a bit esoteric, but you can think of Rust as a PHP Extension written in C/C++ for NodeJs.

Rust is recommended in the following situations:

  • Computational-heavy applications
  • Accessing hardware in cases like IoT
  • Handling concurrence

I’m afraid your browser has been talking to the robots again – a gentle intro to WebUSB, by Suz Hinton

In my opinion this was the most impressive session of the event. WebUSB is a specification and implementation in progress, about how to connect devices using USB from web pages.

During the demo, Suz deployed some images from her web browser to a OLED screen connected into an Arduino, which in turn was connected via USB to her computer. Pretty neat to say the least!

OUTBREAK: index-sw-9a4c43b4b4778e7d1ca619eaaf5ac1db.js, by Alexander Pope

An awesome storytelling presentation, Alexander made a sort of zombie movie around ServiceWorker. You can find the presentation here. It may take a while to load, but I promise it is totally worth it.

A service worker is a script that your browser runs in the background, separate from a web page, opening the door to features that don’t need a web page or user interaction.

This technology is a work in progress, as you can tell from the message you get at its specification page.

In spite of that, this technology seems to have great potential to achieve mind-blowing results.

The Conclusion

In general, I feel the event was a good combination of current technologies and others that still need a bit of work to reach their full potential. Kudos to the community talks which emphasized inclusion and diversity. Let’s hope that next year we can see a JSConf 2.0 in Australia!