UtahJS Conf 2013 Review

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The Schedule

The conference covered a single day. Keynote in the morning by Tom Dale, co-creator of Emberjs. 3 tracks thereafter with 5 talks each. There was a specialized track, all focused on Angular, which was nice for anyone that wanted to focus on that framework. There was less Node focus overall compared to last year, which was disappointing. There were 3 talks focused on testing. We need more good testing talks.

My impression on the talks overall was that they were well done and that the speakers were generally engaging. The topics focused a little much on browser-side MV* frameworks, but I guess that’s hot right now. Every talk I went to was meant for beginners at a very introductory level. That was disappointing. Of the topics presented, I found myself surprisingly most interested in Emberjs. I have been tinkering with it since then and need to build something with it.

The Food

There was a plentitude of simple carbohydrates ready to serve to all learners at all times. That was awesome. Pastries appeared for breakfast, un-advertised. They didn’t do a boxed lunch this year. Some didn’t cry. I almost did. But I was pointed to a great gryo at a nearby Greek eatery instead. Apparently the host venue, the Salt Lake City Public Library, didn’t approve of serving food. This, I don’t understand, given that there was plenty of food floating around. Apparenly pastries are ok, and sandwiches are not.

The People

Always a fun flavor to a conference, the attendees were great to mingle with. The JavaScript community is a fun group to be with. In Utah, we’re a fairly small, tight group. It was fun to have Tom Dale show up. It was even said by some that the Ember folks were “actually nice” as opposed to what was thought to be observed by some on Twitter. Haha. I smiled quite a bit when I heard that.

The Afterparty

The party was put on by O.C. Tanner and Domo. O.C. Tanner is my current home base. We were in charge of prepping the space. It was like a classic text adventure trying to guide party-comers through the labyrinth of the O.C. Tanner building to the eventual pot of gold that was the party.

The food never stopped coming, even after my stomach had taken on its full capacity. Marvelous Catering (gotta love that name) provided a delicious “luau pork dinner”. I heard “luau” and assumed pineapple, of which there was none, which disappointed me just a little. The owner of Fongo Bongo, a local game shop supplied a great collection of board and card games. We had a couple Xboxen humming whilst TVs blasted fighting games to which I knew no combos. We had a great time.

Next Year

I’m glad that this event has shown some perpetuity. I hope it continues next year. I think they have a good formula. The price, the locale, the speaker lineup, and the associated activities make for a good one-day experience each Spring. I would focus on improving one bit next year: the website. It was the least well-done part of the conference. I find that extremely ironic given the target market for the event.

So next Spring, come to Utah and attend the JsConf.