This year, two Treehouse teachers, Guil Hernandez and myself, were selected by the organizers to give presentations at this year’s conference. Guil gave a presentation titled “Introduction to React Router” and I gave a presentation titled “Exploring TypeScript” (more about these presentations in just a bit). We were excited and honored to be given the opportunity to participate in the conference.
Location and Venue
I had a great time visiting Nashville. The airport was easy to get in and out of, the roads were easy to navigate, and the food was great. This was my first time visiting Nashville, so I took the opportunity to explore downtown on the last day of my trip. One of the sites that I visited was the Ryman Auditorium. It was amazing to see the auditorium where so many legendary country, rock, and jazz artists have performed over the years.
The beautiful Lipscomb University campus is located in the south part of Nashville. Nodevember utilized four of the campus’ buildings including Collins Auditorium (pictured above), which was large enough to house all of the attendees for the conference’s six keynote presentations.
Moving from building to building to get to the sessions that you wanted to attend was a nice touch, as it allowed you to get outside for a moment, stretch your legs, and enjoy some of the fantastic weather that we had during the conference. Ample parking and comfortable chairs (often difficult to come by at conferences) added to an overall great experience.
Common themes, topics, and technology from the presentations that I attended on day one included immutable data, pure functions, and various Facebook technologies including React, GraphQL, Flow, and Immutable.js. Also, more than once I heard the message that there’s “no one solution for every problem” and that developers shouldn’t be dogmatic about their chosen solutions.
It was refreshing to hear developers talk enthusiastically and passionately about technologies and techniques that they have found successful while promoting a mindset to research, explore, and test new ideas and technologies in order to find what works best for you and your projects.
Registration was smooth and painless, which is such a great way to start a conference. Each attendee received a Nodevember bag, t-shirt, stickers, and buttons. Thanks to all of the volunteers who helped make the logistics of getting checked into the conference so quick and easy to do.
Immutable Apps / Lee Byron
Lee Byron works at Facebook on React Immutable and GraphQL. And he’s done with MVC and REST, choosing now to focus on what he calls Immutable App Architecture. In this talk, Lee did a great job building a compelling case for embracing immutability, explaining how it helps overcome the various challenges that modern applications face. He also touched upon the roles that React, Redux, and GraphQL play in Immutable App Architecture.
Public Speaking without Barfing on Your Shoes / David Neal
David Neal gave an entertaining and inspirational talk for anyone who needs to prepare and give a presentation. Right away, David made the point that the audience won’t remember what you did or didn’t do, but they’ll remember how you made them feel. He then went on to demonstrate the power of illustrating your own presentation, by using his own illustrations and drawings throughout his talk.
A full list of resources is available here.
Exploring TypeScript / James Churchill
Slides, demos, and resources available here.
Speaker and Volunteer Dinner
At the end of the first day, Microsoft hosted a speaker and volunteer dinner at Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint in downtown Nashville. The drinks, food, and company were all excellent. Guil Hernandez and myself had a great time hanging out with students from the Nashville Software School.
I really appreciated the “human” centric messages from day two’s presenters. CJ Silverio reminded us that “people are harder than technology” and if you get that “right”, everything else will take care of itself. Christina Keelan reminded us how we can help someone who is learning to become a developer and Ryan Lanciaux encouraged people to help with personal open source projects if they can.
The Accidental Noder / C J Silverio
Now & Next / Guillermo Rauch
From Community Manager to Developer — My Path to Becoming an Engineer / Christina Keelan
Christina Keelan recently made the transition from working as the full-time Community Manager at RethinkDB to becoming a developer. She’s currently a student at The Iron Yard. In her talk, Christina touched upon ways to deal with imposter syndrome and how we can help those that are learning to become a developer. Great advice for developers of all experience levels.
Generating a New Async Workflow… with Generators! / Jordan Kasper
Introduction to React Router / Guil Hernandez
Guil Hernandez, a fellow Treehouse teacher, gave an informative talk on React Router, covering the basics of v3.0 including configuring routes, nested routes, active links, URL parameters, and more. He also showed examples of the new, pre-release version of React Router, v4.0, and how to migrate from the current version.
Slides available here.
For more information about React Router, check out Guil’s Treehouse course React Router Basics.
Ryan Lanciaux is the developer of the open source Griddle grid component for React. In this talk, Ryan gave useful advice—based on his own hard-earned personal experience—on how to start, develop, and manage personal open source projects. He also reminded us how important it is to lend a hand (when possible) to the projects that you use or rely upon.
Final Thoughts and Thanks
The above list of keynotes and sessions is not comprehensive; they’re just the ones that I attended and chose to highlight. There were many other great presenters and sessions, so definitely check out the full list of the speakers. You can also view videos for all of the presentations on the Nodevember YouTube channel.
One of the best parts of attending a technical conference is getting a chance to meet other developers, talk about their experiences, and hear their stories of how they got into our industry. Nodevember offered the chance to do exactly that.
Special thanks to the organizers, sponsors, speakers, and volunteers that made the conference possible. Nodevember was a wonderful conference full of useful information, friendly people, and great conversations. I hope to be back next year!
If you attended Nodevember this year, we’d love to hear your highlights in the comments below!
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