The event covered a range of topics but kept a moderate complexity to the talks. The speakers explored the technologies used in development and also the applications in modern day. After finding my way into the visitor center (after walking around the block twice), the day was fittingly started by Ben Ilegbodu, a principal engineer at Stitch Fix web platforms. For his talk during the beginning of the day, Ben walked through some of the most prevalent technologies within ReactJS. He goes on to explain the importance of each part of the development process, and the pros and cons for each design choice with technologies.
Ben recommended through each part of the process the following technologies:
Emotion is Ben’s recommendation. For beginners, he also suggests starting with component css, then moving into more eloquent styling.
This is composed of data fetching and routing (keeping your UI in sync with the URL). Ben recommended Reach Router. Data fetching he said can be done in many ways, but the easiest ways include regular Fetch API, Axios Libraries, and JQuery GET.
This was an interesting topic because he discussed how it was also used in determining the performance of your application. Performance also impacts Search Engine Optimization (SEO) since it is a key indicator. It also has an effect on Social Media Optimization (SMO), since sharing links via Slack and Twitter and having the preview counts SSR. Options include Gatsby, Next.js, Node, and Razzle. Next.js was his recommendation.
The day continued with Kathryn Nantz, a designer turned developer. She argued that UI designs now lack consistency, and it has been a rush to create more and more designs instead of adhering to basic use principles. She mentions that when the UI is complicated, users cannot learn and have trouble using your systems. Simplifying your UI libraries then can make life easier for your developers as well as users too.
Kathryn used StoryBook (a tool for developing UI components) in tandem with GreenSock, AwesomeFont, Animate.css, Rollup.js, and some regular css3. She recommends keeping the component library to about eight to ten separate components all together, and create new components by combining existing ones. Usually, she says each component has a primary, secondary, and small versions of themselves (think of buttons). The primary goal is to keep consistency while making development easier. Then, gathering feedback and understanding context while growing and removing components over time helps your library evolve. Plus, building in accessibility to the components in the start helps prevent a headache of adding them later!
The conference was overall very fulfilling and introduced a bunch of topics and technologies with which I wasn’t familiar with. In between talks, attendees networked with each other and visited booths provided by Element 84, Social Tables, and of course, CustomInk. Each provided cool swag and the conference included free nationJS shirts. Conferences like this help build community and encourage others to explore their creativity and possibilities with these technologies. I recommend all developers across all fields try to attend!