FullStack 2015 - Retrospect and impressions

I'm currently sitting on my plane flying back from London where I spent an excellent couple of days attending the FullStack conference. FullStack is, oddly enough, a primarily front-end focused conference! Most of the talks had an element of JavaScript + a framework and/or a tool. It was all about writing cool front-end code(z). I'm sure my friend @rankida (David Rankin) would have loved it :) I was there to talk about TypeScript and how we can use it to improve JavaScript by leveraging ES6 and ES7 features.

I flew in on Monday and arrived at the venue shortly after the keynote had kicked off. The conference was organized by Enrico Meloni and it was located in Central London in the very funky offices of Skills Matter. The organisation was incredible and it felt like the organizers paid a lot of attention to details. The rooms were massive and there were over 450 delegates. Another big conference with a lot of interested and enthusiastic delegates. The community is certainly growing and thss is apparent every time I have the opportunity to attend one of the many confercnces organised across the whole of the UK. The speakers and talks were chosen carefully and it was all cutting edge stuff.

One thing I particularly liked was the room allocation. Instead of predefining the rooms, each room was allocated prior to the talk based on user votes on a whiteboard. For each upcoming talk, delegates could cast a vote to record their interest. This process took place twice during the day. Once in the morning before the start of the morning sessions and once at lunch time before the start of the afternoon sessions. Since the room allocation was based on demand and supply, all the rooms had good occupancy. This is something that all speakers can appreciate because no one wants to speak in an empty room. This arrangement ensured that each talk was ideally placed in a full room. I loved this approach and I hope that other conferences adopt it in the future.

The food and refreshments were excellent and there was a constant flow of hight quality coffee and tea (those Brits and their tea!). I'm sure no one can complain about the catering.

I spend the first day mainly working on my talk(s). I say talks because I stepped up to have an extra session because one of the speakers couldn't make it on the second day. We don't want gaps on the schedule now, do we? I was more than happy to give an extra talk because it was going to be on a subject I'm really passionate about - Open Source. It was a busy day and it got a bit more tricky when I started showing cold symptoms. Nonetheless, I percevered. I may have missed the after-talk drinks but it had already been a long day, so I went back to the hotel for a much-needed rest and recuperation.

The second day was much better. I was feeling a lot better after a good night's sleep. I got the chance to attend a couple of talks before finding a nice quiet (as quiet as could be) space to go over my talks one last time. With the talks and demos ready, I braced myself for 2 back to back sessions. I only had 15 minutes between each talk so there was no time to rest. Nobody ain't got time for that!

The Open Source talk was first and it went smooth. There was plenty of interest and I was surprised to find so many devs in the audience who never contributed to OSS before. There were a couple of questions towards the end of the talk but the interesting part came after I finished:

  • One of the delegates open sourced his project during my talk
  • A couple of people approached me to say that they were really inspired.

Goal accomplished! I felt really happy with the feedback as I walked into my next talk, ready to get people excited about TypeScript. This was a packed room and it was nice to see so many people interested on another Open Source technology. The talk and demos went well and I managed to finish right on schedule with a bit of time for questions. Based on the feedback I gathered from this talk, it seems that TypeScript is not seeing as a wide adoption as Microsoft would like to and that's probably due to a number of reasons:

  1. It's still perceived as a Microsoft product, even though it's Open Source
  2. ES6 and the upcoming ES7 bring a lot of features that TypeScript was designed to support (Classes, lamdbas etc).


In conclusion, I thoroughly enjoyed this conference. It was also the first one I attended that wasn't directly related to .NET. Surprisingly, there's a whole universe out there ready to be discovered and my first brush with it was enlightning. If you are a .NET developer, I would urge you to do the same and you'll be surprised with what you may discover.

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