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JSCamp 2019 was not about JavaScript

And that was a good thing.

A year ago, in my JSCamp 2018 recap, I listed some of the best talks. You might notice that most of them were “technical”. That’s totally expected, right?

This year, however, things were a bit different.

JSCamp logo

While debreafing the event, my former colleague Xavi and I noticed some recurring topics. And those weren’t the topics you’d expect from a JavaScript conference.

So here’s the trend we noticed:

Kyle Simpson, author of You Don’t Know JavaScript and the workshop I attended at Trivago HQ, talked about progressive enhancement, and how the term hasn’t… aged well. In contrast, he proposed to go back to roots, and focus on empathy to empower people (not “users”) because we have the tools to make it happen. In Kyle’s words, we should become people advocates. I couldn’t agree more.

Then, Sean Larkin shed some light on his role of advocating performance in a huge company. Microsoft; you might have heard of them before. So he was talking about (his) users’ experience: they happen to be developers, but they are his users after all.

Garance Flore discussed accessibility in common UI patterns (unfolding menus, consecutive modals). So, again, she tried to teach us ways of showing empathy to whoever is using the keyboard to navigate our apps.

Even Shawn Wang, from Netlify, explained to us how web development evolved to provide a better development experience. The goal?To let us focus on delivering.

Talking about delivering efficiently. In what could’ve been a simple showcase of Svelte, Rich Harris’ talk turned out to be an ethical-based, thought-provoking lecture about how to do more and write less. I can’t recommend it enough.

Finally, Henri Helvetica nailed a retrospective of the web. He urged us to remember things we shamefully forgot: collaboration, inclusiveness, accessibility.

Do you see the trend, there? I even highlighted several words. Connect the dots.

So, no: JSCamp wasn’t (only) about JavaScript. We focused on the people using our apps, and how to provide them with better tools and experiences.

It felt great.

Make no mistake; it was about JavaScript, too

This is not to say the conference wasn’t “technical”. We had a good dose of error handling, V8 internals, algorithmic performance, PWAs, CSS in JS, and iterators. The part you’d expect from a regular JavaScript conference.

By the way, I love single-track conferences. No more “am I choosing the right talk?” thoughts. No more “Where should I go next?“. Quality over quantity. One less thing to worry about. We could call it atendee experience (see what I did there?).