Experiences on ScriptConf 2018

One of the benefits of living in Vienna is that it's easy to reach central Europe and its conferences. Given Linz is close to Vienna (about 90 minutes by train), I decided to visit ScriptConf.

ScriptConf is a JavaScript themed single-track conference, and the promise was great talks and great food. That was an offer I couldn't resist, and as a result, I found myself in Linz for a day. It's likely I'll visit again as the city was enjoyable and it felt like it has more to offer.

The conference was split into two days. The first day was for workshops and the second day for the presentations. I participated only in the latter day.

The Beginning of the Presentation Day#

The beginning of the conference

The curious thing about ScriptConf was that the official program started at 13:00. There was an hour for registration before that. I came from Vienna on the morning train, and that left me time to explore Linz and make some friends. I met a couple of other developers going to the conference before registering and we had a chance to get some beverages and breakfast to eat.

In retrospect, I should have eaten a proper lunch before the event given the first official coffee at three o'clock didn't have anything salty in it. As a result, we left the conference venue and found bosnas for ourselves. It was a new experience for me, but I'm glad we made this move as I needed the salty bit although the cakes provided by the conference were tasty as well.

Evan You on Open Source#

Evan You

The day itself began with a presentation by Evan You, the author of the popular Vue.js UI framework. It was about his journey into open source, and I think it was a fitting way to start the day. I could recognize many of his struggles and especially his version of hype cycle for open source development resonated with me.

Each project has its momentum that it either sustains or loses. More importantly, there's the personal side. As a project gains popularity, it has to deal with the pressures caused by this reputation.

For some reason, the entire day was riddled with small technical problems, and this caused the schedule to slip at times. It wasn't a big problem but something a little annoying especially given the day started so late.

Marcy Sutton on Accessibility#

Marcy Sutton

The day continued with Marcy Sutton's talk on accessibility. I feel this is an important topic that needs more attention from the web development community. Often it's an afterthought if it's given any thought at all. I became aware of aXe tools, and I'll use the Chrome plugin in the future.

I feel the talk would work exceptionally well in a workshop format as then you get to test the tools and see their impact on accessibility.

Simona Cotin on Serverless#

scriptconf-2018

Simona Cotin discussed the phenomenon of Serverless applications. It was an excellent overview of the topic although I'm not that interested in Azure myself. Perhaps something more platform-agnostic would have fit the conference better.

Michaela Lehr on Augmented Reality#

Michaela Lehr

Michaela Lehr covered the rise of Augmented Reality (AR) and related technologies (Virtual Reality (VR), Mixed Reality (MR)). The beautiful thing about the talk was that it gave a good idea of the potential and future. It will still take years before we see real mainstream adoption. Now is the time to experiment.

André Staltz on Cycle.js#

André Staltz

André Staltz approached his Cycle.js framework from a refreshing angle of paper coding. Instead of focusing on code, he focused on graphs to get to the concepts behind Cycle.js. Although Cycle.js was already familiar to me, the talk drove down the key ideas even further and explained the recent improvements which allow you to treat your applications as fractals - applications of applications.

The dinner provided after André's talk was adequate compared to some other technical conferences although it didn't reach the advertised level at least for me. But then, you don't go to these events to enjoy the local food. That's why restaurants exist.

Phil Hawksworth on Next Wave Infrastructure#

Phil Hawksworth

Although the talk had a dry premise, Phil Hawksworth's talk was one of the better ones of the conference. It made me even more convinced that static sites enhanced the right way is an excellent way to develop websites. The technology is maturing, and it provides even more benefits than I knew.

The ability to treat each Git commit as deployment is a simple yet powerful idea as it allows quick visual inspections during the development process. The fact that you can complement a static site with dynamic elements takes them closer to the CMS space, and you could claim that there's a significant overlap between the two. It's no wonder we have the category of static site CMS's these days as a result.

Charlie Gerard on Mind Control#

Charlie Gerard

Charlie Gerard discussed how to control JavaScript using your mind. That is, how to achieve this using a specific device. She showed how she acquired equipment and developed a Node.js API for it. The presentation was made even better by live demonstrations that drove down the points.

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly#

The MC

Overall, the second iteration of ScriptConf was a cool conference. Especially having an MC on the stage was a good idea and that's something I hope other conferences will copy as it improves the atmosphere surprisingly much.

The format of long presentations along the day felt a bit much at times. I would have appreciated lightning talks in between to get access to more ideas. The problem was made even worse by the late start time and technical delays.

Although the primary space of the conference was roomy, the place where you registered and ate felt too small. One way to solve this would have been to use the area on both sides of the venue to split the problem. The need for space might be a cultural issue, though, as I'm used to having room.

Conclusion#

Linz at night

I am happy I went to ScriptConf, and I feel it was good value. I spent approximately 200 euros for the entire trip, and if nothing else, I got exposed to new ideas and people. I might do this again next year.

You can find more of my ScriptConf 2018 photos at Flickr.
See also All you need to know: Script18 #scriptconf and Script18 - Impressions and Recap for other reports.
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