txjs

I’ve already helloed into the box about this, but I am still sort of having some issues getting over it. Hlysht, Texas Javascript was amazing. Pretty much everything I saw was just crazy awesome. I learned things, which was a problem I had with most of the technical talks I went to at SXSWi (note that sx didn’t inspire me to come back and drool about it on my stupid never-updated blog). There was exactly one talk that didn’t teach me something new or make an argument I hadn’t heard before, and even that would have been mind-blowing if I hadn’t been working on the specific project I’ve been working on for the past year. I wish I could do this shit every weekend.

My favorite talks were Crockford’s, John Resig’s, Nicole Sullivan’s, and Paul Irish’s. I’d link to them, but as far as I know they’re not online yet.. I plan to link to them, though, because I want to revisit every single one of them (and most of the others, honestly).

It really never occurred to me until yesterday how jaded I am about what I do. It’s like I left my brain back in the 90s, when front end development was something dirty and every other kind of developer thought you were a moron if you messed around with webpages (something I still contend is bullshit, because it’s a lot easier just getting something to compile and run on a server that’s completely under your control than to build applications that have to work in places you’ve never even imagined out of what in the past amounted to packing peanuts and duct tape). While I’ve been walking around with a giant chip on my shoulder after having been talked down to one too many times, Javascript has been transforming into something thoroughly badass. I’ve been aware of this, but never actually noticed, if that makes any sense. Even if the frontend still doesn’t get the respect it deserves in certain circles, um, we have geniuses.

The one thing I regret about yesterday was not trying to talk to more of those geniuses. For reasons I can’t really explain, I was completely terrified of them, even though the ones I did manage to speak to were totally nice and awesome. Ok, that’s not 100% true, as I was rude (stupidity, not malice) to one of the speakers and pissed him off. So two regrets, the other being that I didn’t go to any of the server side Javascript talks. I got my ass schooled at the Driskell and am now finally convinced that this is something I should find a way to implement as soon as possible.

A final to-do item is to try and contribute some of the plugins and fixes I’ve made for my own use to the open source projects they correspond to. I feel like there’s another world where the Javascript is more exciting by orders of magnitude, and it’s kind of chickenshit to hang out around the perimeter implementing things other people have written instead of trying to actually participate. On the whole, I feel genuinely inspired in a way I haven’t since I started doing layouts with CSS instead of tables. There’s some really cool shit going on and I can’t believe I’m just now realizing it.

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6 Responses to “txjs”


  1. 1 jdbartlett June 9, 2010 at 10:10 am

    “It’s like I left my brain back in the 90s, when front end development was something dirty…”

    totally! the depth of skill and diversity of specialization i saw at txjs blew my little blue-collar web developer mind. like you, i’ve been aware of it, going on, but having it all thrust at you in person and in the space of a few hours is quite different, and actually overwhelming.

    i’m sure you didn’t upset anyone! if it’s any consolation, i made nicole facepalm a couple of times while describing the nastier css habits i’ve formed over the years. πŸ™‚

    re. server-side js: i recommend ryan dahl’s “introduction to node.js”: http://developer.yahoo.com/yui/theater/video.php?v=dahl-node — there isn’t a tremendous amount of overlap with tom hc’s talk @ txjs, and it’s a solid introduction to node itself. i went to txjs excited about node, and came back… amped!

  2. 2 garann June 9, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    Cool, I’ll definitely watch that (the Node.js video). Thanks!

    Overwhelming is totally the right word. But in a good way. I thought I was a pretty good Javascript developer, but now I realize I have a lot of catching up to do if I want to take advantage of where it is as a language and the possibilities around the corner. It’s thrilling, but I could see it kind of taking over my life.. πŸ™‚

  3. 3 slexaxton June 16, 2010 at 5:11 am

    Who’d you offend? I’ll totally patch it up for you…

    Really glad you enjoyed the conference and glad you came out for Austin JS. Hopefully we’re at least kind of as cool as TXJS was… at least as cool as you _can_ be without Paul…

  4. 4 paulirish June 16, 2010 at 5:55 am

    It was super dope to meet you Garann. Also please holler directly at me or any of the other speakers if you wanna ask questions, pick brains or figure out how best to get involved in something.

    All <3z.

  5. 5 rmurphey June 16, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    I’m so glad to hear your TXJS was crazy awesome. Being in the midst of all those ridiculously smart people can be weird, I agree, but now that I’ve done it a few times, it turns out they’re just people, and pretty wonderful ones to boot. I organize stuff like TXJS exactly because I get to spend time with so many smart people all at once.

    Like Paul said, definitely reach out to speakers and really anyone interesting you meet at these things — in my experience, if they’ve got the time they’ll almost always give you the time of day. And if you have a chance to buy them a beer, well, a lot of them like that too πŸ™‚

    By the way, links to presentations are up on the site at http://texasjavascript.com, and Paul just posted a screencast encore presentation of his 10 Things I Learned from the jQuery Source at http://paulirish.com/2010/10-things-i-learned-from-the-jquery-source/. I’ll add more links to the TXJS site as I find them.

    Hope to see you next time!

  6. 6 garann June 16, 2010 at 8:11 pm

    Wow, 3/4ths of yayQuery all commenting in a row. Auspicious!

    @slexaxton – Nothing to patch up, I was just drunk and running my mouth. I’m appropriately embarrassed about it. πŸ™‚ And Austin JS was rad, definitely gonna be back.

    @paulirish – You too! And thanks again for your talk. I’ve been using the hell out of the tips you presented.

    @rmurphey – Cool, I’m keeping an eye on the site not just for my own purposes but because I tried to summarize a lot of the talks for my coworkers and determined it would be better just to wait for slides. The slide/talks we’ve discussed so far have generated some interesting conversations, and same’s true with people outside of work. It’s like the gift that keeps on giving. πŸ™‚


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