So this last weekend I flew to Boston for the jQuery Conference. Quite a big deal for me being one who does not like to break routine and oh yeah, had not flown in sixteen years. Traveling sucked, but thankfully the conference was awesome. Let me tell you why, and why you should attend one also.
How often do you get to spend a weekend surrounded by a bunch of people with a kind temperament and a passion for the same thing you love to do everyday? Not very. Yet, that is what the experience is like with the folks at the jQuery conferences. This was the second one I attended, the first was back in April in the (much closer) Mountain View, CA. Met some good people there and was thrilled to see them again this time around.
The jQuery team are, from what I have seen, people first. Then developers, and then celebrities. Dudes like Doug Neiner who are always willing to chat and help me out with questions in person or even on Skype. Doug gave a talk on Contextual jQuery which increased my knowledge by leaps and bounds at the same time as firing me up to go back over some old code to re-work it and getting excited to write new stuff. At the first conference I got to meet Mike Alsup, who the man behind the phenomenally useful Cycle plugin. A great man who is, again, always willing to help out and I am thrilled to converse with as well. These are the kinds of people I think we should all want to meet, simply to say thanks for doing what you do, and knowing them as people has helped me strive to want to be a better developer.
Fun little highlight, during a talk by team member Karl Swedberg he posed the question, “Why is there no fade-toggle option in the core?” He glanced down at Paul Irish who I was sitting adjacent to, and I got to watch Paul literally checkout a copy of jQuery from their repo and update then commit the changes. Minutes later jQuery now had a fade-toggle option built in. Awesome.
Women in web development. There are quite a few, and they are awesome. I think this is why I enjoy Rebecca Murphy so much, she is very talented and on a mission to bring more women out into the light in this field. At the conference she even led a breakout session to talk about all this, I have no idea what went on behind closed doors, but I can imagine it was well thought out and inspirational. Hopefully we will begin to see more and more women designer/developers come forth to share their awesomeness.
Speaking of awesomeness, and women, I also got to meet Garann Means. A super smart developer with a sense of humor to match, and she gave a presentation that was both funny and incredibly informative. Got to love code snippets that have humor instead of Latin. She spoke on using templating with jQuery and the performance pros and cons of such. I had never considered templates before, and was glad to attend her talk as the information was vastly helpful in understanding just what exactly they even were.
I have a few more pics from the event up on Flickr, check them out if ya like!
So there is my little blurb, a great time full of friends, fun and new knowledge. I can not wait until next year to go back, although I hope it is in California again.