My amazing time at FutureJS

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Barcelona-FutureJS-2014

I have a headache. I’m not sure if I’m slightly hung over from last night, or if my brain has simply been over-stimulated these past three days.

FutureJS, Barcelona 2014

Right now I’m sitting outside of a small Dessert shop in beautiful Barcelona, trying to digest all of the great experiences I’ve had since thursday morning, when the first ever FutureJS kicked off.

It’s been three hectic days with incredibly talented and inspiring people, new tools to use when I get back home and live demo’s that literally made my jaw drop.

Why I benefitted from attending the conference, rather than saving my money by watching the videos online?

Jeremy Ashkenas at FutureJS 2014

Image credit arqex

1. I got to meet one of my heroes

Jeremy Ashkenas is the author of three tools, that I am using nearly every single day: underscore.js, Backbone.js and CoffeeScript. Jeremy has enabled me to build stuff that would have been impossible if not for these tools.

There is something very special about talking, in person, with someone you’ve following professionally for years. Someone who’s only been an avatar on Twitter, or a voice in podcasts and interviews.

Actually meeting people humanizes them. All of a sudden you understand, that since these heroes of yours are just regular people — like you — there’s a plausible chance that you too, could create something one day, that helps thousands of people and makes the World a little bit better.

2. I discovered a solution to a challenge I’ve been thinking about for quite some time.

I have been looking for something to manage highly dynamic views. Interfaces that smoothly update on the fly, as the underlying data changes. I’ve been digging into Angular.js, and while it’s powerful, there are a number of things I do not like about it.

One of the last speakers was Pete Hunt. Pete used to work on Facebook, and he now manages engineering at Instagram. He’s also a core contributor to React.js — Which is the engine behind most of the new UI stuff on Facebook and Instagram.

React is doing most of the things right, that I think Angular does wrong. It also seems to be running circles around Angular, when it comes to performance. I had a few questions to the technical aspects of DOM manipulation in React, so I approached Pete at the after party and he was kind enough to walk me through it. Step by step.

Getting the technical explanation, from the person who actually wrote it, is pretty damn awesome.

Pete made it all connect at a higher level for me. He’s the reason I’m learning something now, that will make me a stronger developer, and allow me to build better products.

Conclusion

I’m so overwhelmed by amazing experiences, that it all seems a little surreal at the moment. However, one thing is sure: Our industry has a very bright future.

Oh, and check out my article on The Virtual DOM in React.js to learn more about React.

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