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Nordic.js 2017. Takeaways from the top 5 talks

Kajsa Unge • UI Designer, Frontend Developer

About Nordic.js

A two-day, single track conference on JavaScript. It aims is to inspire and foster learnings from others within the community. The conference offers lots of opportunities to mingle, play techno ping pong, dance, code in the dark, eat cotton candy and have a drink with like-minded people. The swag is awesome - I now have a pair of pink laptop earrings. Need I say more? Oh, and another great thing they do for attendees is “Dinner with strangers” - mix 6 people and send them to great restaurants around Stockholm city. How fun! It all comes together into a giant party called Festen where people who did and didn’t attend the conference are welcome to join the fun. Love it!

On the talks

With 8-10 quality talks per day and 2-4 short lightning talks, Nordic.js delivers a broad range of perspectives. The lightning talks are a good component, providing inexperienced speakers a chance to practice and share their knowledge and experiences. All talks are available on Youtube. Here are the takeaways from the talks I got the most out of.

#1 The State Of JavaScript - Sacha Greif

He’s amazing. Apart from many interesting side projects, podcasts and books he also created an online survey - The state of JavaScript - to gather data on JavaScript trends. It’s an annual survey, into it's second year with 23 695 answers so far for 2017. Key takeaways from this year’s survey:

  1. Typescript is the Next Big Thing.
  2. Datawise, graphQL is the Next Big Thing.
  3. Positive trend for Vue, React and Webpack
  4. Negative trend Angular

The survey is closed for this year, but keep an eye out for next year’s survey. The talk.

#2 5 architectures of asynchronous JavaScript - Tomasz Ducin

A world-class speaker delivering complex information using a lot of comparisons to real life. If you get a chance to see him, do so. Period. The talk. Tomasz explained when to use:

  1. Promises (async operations that solves callback hell) for single operations.
  2. Coroutines (promise + generator) or async await for a sequence of operations.
  3. Events for repetitive actions that does not rely on eachother.
  4. Reactive streams for repetitive actions that are complex or rely on eachother.

#3 Solving layout problems with CSS Grid and friends - Rachel Andrew

Rachel is experienced, professional and to the point. She speaks at a single track event where the audience just wants to hear about JavaScript. She goes on to explain that most of the stuff that comes into the new CSS spec is coming from the JavaScript community and that all ideas, workarounds, etc. are most welcome to be presented to the CSS Working Group. Here we go, the main takeaways:

  1. CSS grid - it’s two dimensional! All others … are one dimensional and not really grids.
  2. Works from the container in, not the other way around which means you don’t have to use any size specifications at all <3
  3. New keywords

    • Min-content - will wrap down to shortest word
    • Max-content - will wrap to how big the content is
    • Fit-content - you set a max and the content will not stretch
    • Fr - distributes available space and replaces the use of %
  4. It’s easy to write for browser support:

    • Use the cascade, ie write the grid related styles last
    • Example float, table-call and block on grid items get overwritten
    • Widths set on a grid item does not get overwritten :/ To solve that we can use Feature queries.

If you want easier and more secure layouts, take a look at Grid by example, sign up for Rachel’s newsletter on css layouts and start exploring. The talk.

#4 Reactive Web Animations with RxJS - David Khourshid

Animations hit my sweet spot, so I enjoyed this talk a lot. David explained that most top apps today have high focus on animations that capture and engage the user in the product. Why not just use regular eventlisteners? Here is are the main take aways:

  1. Declarative, Composable and Immutable. Together they make functional programing principles that are scalable, composable and testable. He suggests including animations in our unit tests.
  2. No fixed timeline - reacts to user input.
  3. Think of it as a stream. Observable as an array that happens over time
  4. It’s an observable, which means it can

    • Complete
    • Be indefinite
    • Have errors
  5. Relevant and useful links:

    • RxJS
    • Hammer - support for touch events
    • Rxmarbles - Interactive diagrams of Rx Observables, fixed
    • Rxviz - Animated playground for Rx Observables, live
    • Material-motion - Exploration of solutions for interactive motions

I’m super stoked and can hardly wait to get my teeth into RxJs and animations. The talk.

#5 Building Inclusive Communities - Karolina Szczur

I’m very impressed by this woman, who tenaciously addressed the lack of diversity and inclusion to an audience mainly interested in JavaScript, possibly cat pictures and live demos. When talking to Karolina later in the day, she explained that her aim with the talk was to provoke people’s thinking around the dynamics of our society, especially in tech. She definitely succeeded in making the crowd uncomfortably aware of today’s situation. Let’s hope that bring some change into our beloved trade. See the talk.

All in all, I’m super happy with the two days I spent on Nordic.js at Nobelberget - the talks were of high quality, the organisers and hosts did a great job and, above all, the crowd was super amazing.

See you next year!