Over the weekend, I got to visit Chicago and learn technical and leadership skills from various developers. I will highlight 6 talks that were spectacular. (A special thanks to Trek Glowacki for being a great emcee!)
All talks from EmberCamp will be posted online (note to self: provide links here), so I hope you will check them out.
I enjoyed Lily's talk because I was able to connect with her experiences as a new developer in Ember. Since 2011, Ember has changed a lot for the better. Unfortunately, the codebase that Lily works on has a mix of old Ember, new Ember, and "you" Ember (her team's own solutions). As a result, it's hard for new team members to know which Ember they are seeing.
Lily's solutions are practical and inspirational. If you are a new member, take a look at the Ember history, create a story around a difficult concept, and proactively ask questions. If you are experienced, record technical debts and custom code as a reference for everyone on your team.
Admittedly, I had felt a bit bitter before hearing Spencer’s talk because I had also submitted an Ember-D3 talk but didn’t get accepted. :)
I’m glad now, as Spencer’s talk made me realize I could refactor my D3 code using multiple small components. I got to think about its pros and cons over my current approach (one big component). Spencer's talk also reminded me that I should address accessibility when creating visualizations.
by Jen Weber
Jen's closing keynote surprised me because it made me feel human. Jen shared her fears and struggles and addressed problems that we, as new or experienced developers, likely face—a topic that we often see on dev.to.
The names and designs that Jen gave to her monsters were just brilliant. The rainbow scratch paper, where we got to draw the monsters as colorful lines and shapes and write down 1 to-do in the middle, reminded us that our monsters are not as scary as they may seem initially.
by Shirley Wu
Shirley, who presented a few of her professional and personal projects in D3 and did a live code demo in React, firmly set the tone of the new conference. This is a place for developers to share what they created and are proud of.
The extent to which Shirley went to analyze her favorite musical, Hamilton, and tell a meaningful story after repeated failures, inspired me to want to go back to a data visualization project that I have yet to complete.
by Josh Justice
Josh shared his experience of learning something new (private fields) by contributing to Babel, an open-source project that he uses often.
I found Josh's talk memorable because of his skills in teaching. In 5 minutes, his simple example helped me see how we can use WeakMaps to implement private fields, even though I have never used WeakMaps before.
By covering both theory (abstract syntax tree) and application (skimming code to get the gist), Josh showed that we can get started with contributing to Babel by understanding just parts of it.
by Evan Bacon
Evan's talk, though it lacked detail for us to start writing code, had plenty of live, working demos that I wanted to practice React Native and three.js more to create my own AR app. Evan discussed the open problems that Expo is working on and kept the audience entertained throughout.