Blake McLeod / Development / March 17th, 2014

FluentConf 2014 Stresses Collaboration and Community

If I only had three words to sum up FluentConf 2014: JavaScript, Collaboration, and Community. Luckily, I get more than three. Fluent was a rush of inspiration and a four-course meal of knowledge. Where else can you spend 3 days listening to some of the brightest web professionals participate in more than 20 workshops, keynotes or presentations each day?

Beyond all of that, there were “flock” sessions in the lobby and “birds of a feather” lunch tables that let groups of similarly interested people chat on topics like AngularJS and EmberJS or any tech topic they liked. Apart from the major tech companies lining the exhibit halls, I bumped into tech giants like Scott Hanselman (who gave an awesome, hilarious keynote) – and everything revolved around building a better web tech community.

fluent-2014-Language of the Future

Javascript is the language of now (and the future). I’ve had my doubts about JavaScript being used on the server side, but seeing its power and simplicity, along with the support it receives from companies like Google, New Relic, and Lynda.com, I’ve been convinced that this is where the web is moving.

Brendan Eich, the creator of JavaScript, showed off some planned additions in the ECMAScript 6 and 7 spec which will make it even easier to write performant and solid JavaScript applications. The majority of presentations involved JavaScript in some way, either as a framework’s core language or as a polyfill for browser features that are not yet supported in current releases.

Better Together

Collaboration was another big theme at Fluent. Have an idea to improve someone’s project on Github? Submit a pull request with your changes. Modern barriers to entry to improve software are crumbling away.

Matthew McCullough and Brent Beer of GitHub gave an excellent presentation on using Github to collaborate with your team effectively. Rather than working individually, teams should strive to branch as necessary to develop new features, and submit pull requests for code review and merging to production ready code. Many of the speakers had their code on Github and encouraged the audience to investigate and improve their work.

Community Builders

The online community behind the tech industry is strong, but I was amazed to experience that community in person. Reddit, Twitter and Hacker News (to name just a few) give us a great way to stay up-to-date and converse with each other, but face-time goes a long way. Being on the opposite side of the world to the tech mecca that is San Francisco, I hardly ever get to see the brilliant engineers from Intel or Google in person.

It was a great experience to be surrounded with like-minded people and to meet in person the people who are advancing the web. I especially liked Lea Verou’s keynote on border-radius which demonstrated how much you can do with a simple CSS property and some imagination.

Overall, FluentConf2014 was an amazing experience and an incredible learning opportunity. It was an exciting look at the current state of web technologies and the future that lies ahead. It is inspiring to be a part of this community and to grow with it. I can’t wait for next year’s Fluent.