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Thoughts after the London Fullstack Con 2016

September 14, 2017 / by Luca Marchesini

This summer, I travelled to London with my team-mate Gilles Guirand to attend Fullstack Con, an amazing 3-day event about Javascript, Node and IoT organized by Skills Matter a company devoted to spread knowledge within developer communities. We had the chance to be there thanks to the 32-bit sponsoring that Kuzzle.io proposed to the event. This enabled us to have a booth and make a lightning talk about our wonderful project. A great opportunity to reach many curious and top-level developers (the event was attended by more than 400 people).
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The whole event took place in a great venue called CodeNode, a first-class building in central London, providing 9 different spaces (from the massive auditorium to some smaller 40-people rooms). Each space is equipped with top notch broadcasting material so that all the talks are now available on the internet.

The conference featured more than 70 talks on an incredible variety of subjects. Many talks were performed at the same time (all the rooms were full) so we had to choose what to see and hear… which was very hard! Some talks just blew our minds, some other sounded more familiar to us but yet, every one of them brought food for our thoughts.

DAY 1 – OPEN WEB AND SERVICE WORKERS

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The event opened with a great keynote by Chris Heilmann, a smart guy who worked for Mozilla before landing at Microsoft to finally kill Internet Explorer. Chris is deeply in love with the web in its pure nature. The web is a place for freedom, tolerance and knowledge-sharing. On the web, the information is accessible and easily distributed.

Over the last years, we as users have been shifting to a more app-oriented workflow, losing many benefits of the web. In his talk, Chris reminded us about the importance of making the web a better place, and this cannot be done without working all together on browsers. He reminded us that browsers already provide a huge quantity of features and that their main flaws are caused by the divergence from standards. Browsers are mostly open source software and we as users can (and should) contribute to them (not only with code but also with feedback and opinions).

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Another talk that I really enjoyed was the Introduction to Service Workers by Phil Nash. The talk was very well structured and Phil is a great storyteller. It was a great pleasure seeing him on stage. I didn’t know much about Service Workers and the opportunity they offer to make our web apps work offline as a progressive enhancement just blew my mind. This talk also introduced the Progressive Web Apps, one of the leitmotiv of the Fullstack Con.

 

DAY 2 – LUCA GOES ON STAGE THEN PLAYS WITH TESSEL

On  the second day, I was quite stressed about my talk. Several people attended and this made me really happy!

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The most interesting thing I attended was Tessel workshop. Tessel is an amazing IoT device that you can program as if it was a NodeJS runtime environment. It’s astonishingly easy: you code like you’re using Node, then drop your code on Tessel via CLI. And it works! Tessel team provided us with some basic core devices and a lot of funny extensions. Jon (my workshop buddy) and I got an accelerometer, which we used tomake a red square move on screen based on how the device is oriented in our hands. It was real fun!

But what really blew my mind were the presentations from the other attendees. I was stuck about their creativity and smartness on how those projects were presented. I learned a lot about pitching a project in a funny and interesting way. That was really great!

 
 
DAY 3 – PROGRESSIVE WEB APPS AND MENTAL BIAS
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For the last day of the Fullstack Con I attended the talk by Pete LePage about Progressive Web Apps, which definitely convinced me about the importance of this feature provided by modern browsers. Basically, you get the benefits of a fully native-app experience in conjunction with the ease of distribution of websites. And everything is done without bothering the user, nor the developer! I am really looking forward for all the browsers to support them!

 

During the afternoon I skipped two round of talks because I had a very interesting conversation with Kelsey Breseman from Tessel project. She told me their team is fully remote and volunteer. Tessel is a fully open-source project that manufacturers can get for free and print circuits. The company only sells the licence to put the brand on devices. The team works on Tessel as a part-time non-profit project and spends the rest of their time travelling around the world, making conferences and freelancing service. Mind-blowing!

 

Mark-Rendle-video.pngThe event closed up with a hilarious talk by Mark Rendle: The Things That I Like Are Superior to the Things That You Like which, at the beginning, looked like a lot of satirical troll but ended up being a very interesting compound of different types of mental bias. Mark approached in a funny way one of the most controversial problemsfrom our community: we are really not aware on how we make up our opinions about things. Talks like this help us being more open-minded, which is something we really doneed.

CONCLUSIONS

2016 is definitely being another great year for our community. This year IoT, Progressive Web Apps, modern front-end frameworks and distributed backend technologies have made many steps forward. Our community is still keen to be nice, share ideas and have fun, which is just awesome.

As soon as events like Fullstack Con exists, it feels good to be a web developer.

SEE YOU IN BARCELONA!

fullstackfestival.jpgBut it’s not over! On September 5th I’m going to Barcelona to attend Full Stack Fest with my buddy Anthony from our Kuzzle team. And I’ll give a long talk: “Frontend is a Full Stack”. I’m so excited about it! Kuzzle will also be a sponsor so come and meet us! We’ll be happy to see you there!

To learn more on this article: “Meet Kuzzle team at Fullstack Fest 2016 in Barcelona

 

Luca Marchesini

Written by Luca Marchesini

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