Meetup Roundup

It’s been how long since I’ve written about one of these? Well. A quick recap of five neat things I’ve seen at Seattle meetups lately – Angular, React and state, React on the server, an innovative approach to finding available meeting space, and Meteor.

Jeremy Foster gave a talk on Angular 2, discussing some of the features it offers over Angular 1. I think he made a pretty good pitch for it. The combination of TypeScript and his dev environment let him demonstrate some pretty cool features, and there’s a lot of community support available. It’s certainly something I’d be interested in learning about – context-aware typing for example, where you can rename a function in one component and it will automatically rename in other components which use it. I’d be interested in that functionality no matter what framework I’m using.

I also attended a React meetup where Bo Borgerson talked about react-server and how to deliver extremely fast page-load with it. React-server is built for speed and provides a lot of tools and benchmarks aimed at finding slow points to help a developer get that, but it’s not just the tools – Bo made the point that without a culture dedicated to measuring, testing, and improving, it doesn’t matter how good your toolset is. I liked that point a lot; it’s important to use the right tools, sure, but we have to remember we’re people working on it, too.

At the same meetup, Jani Eväkallio gave a pretty intense talk on managing state over time in React. Conceptually, I followed this 100% – after all, time and entropy are universal, even if high-level discussion about React/Redux/etc are not. Some of the specific details had me going “yeah that’s cool … I figure I might understand what you mean in a few months.” I have to give myself a small bit of credit: I re-read my notes I took during the meeting and this is starting to be true. Progress!

At a Seattle JS meetup, Garth Henson did a talk on trying to solve a question with no easy solution: How to find an open space for a quick meeting when your office spans multiple floors with a mix of room types and sizes? The solution they’re testing as a proof of concept is passive IR sensors hooked up to a Pi 3. Aside from the devices themselves being interesting the talk was an encapsulated overview of the real challenges faced going from ‘wouldn’t it be cool if…’ to testing a concept to eventually producing a functioning, finished product on both the hardware and software ends. While I may never develop a Pi-based PIR sensor, the conceptual thinking behind it was excellent and well delivered. I wish them luck in getting to that finished product state; it’s already pretty compelling even as a proof of concept.

There was also a talk given about Meteor. I’m very fond of “run single command, ready to go” tools; Meteor does that for a fullstack JS development environment. I realize it’s not going to be a panacea solution, but there’s something really quite nice about watching someone run meteor create myapp and showing a compiled, functional application across desktop and mobile in seconds. Tools that help developers get repetitive setup tasks out of the way so they can get to writing better code faster? That’s never a bad thing to see.

Five good talks about lots of things; I’m really pretty happy with the meetup scene here in Seattle. And not just the talks; the organizers of the groups and the event hosts have all been really generous and helpful as well. I mean, I’m a developer, which means easily bribed with free food, usually pizza. The stereotype is true. 😀