I am consistently delayed in writing the things I want to write, so it should come as no surprise when I give my post-jsconf reflection over a month after the event itself. That said, I really wanted to get these thoughts down, so I have decided to opt for better late than never.
These are points that I fully understood going into the conference, but it was actually at the conference, at Andrew Dupont’s “Everything is permitted” talk, where I had my epiphany and the last piece fell into place explaining why I love JavaScipt. I realized that community is somewhat of a language construct.
For context, when I graduated college I immediately jumped into .NET programing on a WinForms application. I’ve been working the same job and continue to work there to this day, though the work has shifted from installed applications towards web for me. As a developer on the Windows stack I have enjoyed an amazing IDE in Visual Studio where I can rename functions/variables throughout my application without batting an eye. I have benefited from an amazing and passionate local .NET community in Indianapolis that has inspired, mentored, and pushed me in my development. Still, in c#/vb, the code I wrote in my WinForms app was at worst making my little module worse so if I wrote bad code that was on me and on me alone.
Normally, when you see that in the same post as “c#” and “js,” it’s in a rant, but I love it. I think it’s beautiful that the flexibility of the language requires you to be mindful of those you will affect. This is where Zakas’s famous “don’t touch what you don’t own” rule came into contention as Andrew argued we should frame the community mindset in terms of social polite and impolite actions instead of moral right and wrong actions. These objects are shared and social norms have proven to be effective ways to manage shared property.
So there I sat, mind blown by this context switch when Mary Rose Cook got up to talk. Her talk began as a deep dive into the world of a game developer and ended as a beautiful story about code as art. Normally, when we engineers take on a project, we start by researching similar implementations and best practices, but she wanted to approach this personal project through a more intimate process of discovery. She even likened it to lovers discovering how to make love- a metaphor I found remarkably beautiful. From that point, she shared an anecdote where the interaction between her code and her life moved her to write a song. She also shared how she solved a hard problem in her game while partaking in this particular drink she loves and how now that drink is forever tied to that piece of her code and vice versa. It was a story of totally putting yourself into your work and discovering your work in yourself. Ahh, it was just amazing and you should watch out for the video when it’s posted.
And then the closing party came. We were told we were supposed to try Voodoo doughnuts when we were in Portland, so I was amused to learn they were being featured at the party. We had to get up before 5am the next morning to catch our flight, so we didn’t shut the party down. Still, when Laura was walking around and asked Kathryn and myself to get the dancing going, we delivered, as we always do. So that’s the quick wrapup. There were many other interesting frameworks released, tools discussed, and people met as well. It’s such a great conference, and I am so glad I was able to go this year.