Notes from FullStackFest 2019 conference

I love conferences. They are a great opportunity for me to catch up with like-minded people and learn about new and up-coming technologies in a digestible format. This year, I was given the opportunity to attend the FullStackFest conference and I had a blast! I went in with high expectations, and as I review my notes, I’m actually very pleased with how much I have learned.

The conference lasted for three days and the whole thing is freely available on the Codegram’s YouTube channel, so if you have the time you should check it out! If not, keep reading! This year’s FullStackFest was heavily focused on the web in one way or another – either how it has evolved, how we use it now or how we will be able to use it in the future. Some of the talks were about a specific new technology, some were really inspiring and motivational, and some others left you with plenty of ideas for how to do things better.

Since three days of talks can be a bit overwhelming to go through, I’ve decided to list all the topics and highlight some of the ones that really caught my attention. Since some of the talks were pretty easy to follow and could be interesting for people that don’t necessarily have a technical background, I’ve also added some labels (“Technical Talk”, “Somewhat technical” and “Not technical”) so if some of the topics look appealing, you will more easily be able to decide if they are for you. Within brackets, the talks have been sorted alphabetically by the speaker’s name.

Please remember that this is my personal opinion and by no means scientific or the sole truth, so if you want to watch all of the talks, then by all means go do it!

Must-watch

A programming language for a continuous delivery world

Ellen Chis – @ellenchisa Technical talk

This, to me, was the most mind-blowing talk of the conference. If you are looking for new cool tech talks to listen to, this is it! Ellen talks about Dark, a programming language that completely changes how to think about delivery when programming. I think Dark is still a bit far from being widely adopted – and this isn’t really a bold statement; it wasn’t even officially out by the time the conference took place – but very cool nonetheless!

Applied Accessibility: Practical Tips for Building More Accessible Front-Ends

Sara Soueidan@SaraSoueidan  – Somewhat Technical

One of the best talks in the whole event. Sara’s knowledge and passion of the subject are a bliss to watch. The talk is very practical and filled with examples that I’m sure you will some way to apply to your daily job. As someone with limited previous accessibility knowledge, I felt I was able to learn a lot in the 1 hour the talk took. I highly recommend it, even if you are not a very technical person.

The Future of Web Animation

Sarah Drasner@sarah_edo – Somewhat technical
Sarah talks about some of the new technologies that are on the horizon for web animations and how we can turn static sites into completely new experiences. There are plenty of practical examples (code included), and we also get a glimpse of several very creative ideas that before the talk I would have sworn were still very far away! Overall, it is a very inspiring talk on how we can, and should, push ourselves to use technology to improve the experience of people on the Web.

Worth a watch

It’s probably fine

Cate Houston@catehstn  – Not technical
Cate talks about dysfunctional teams and leadership and how one can try to improve both of them. Also, raccoons!

HTTP/3 – HTTP over QUIC is the next generation

Daniel Stenberg@bagderTechnical talk
Daniel goes through HTTP/1, HTTP/2 and HTTP/3 and the challenges that come with migrating these protocols. The talk does get quite low level, but the topic itself is so general and well presented that it should probably be higher up. I learned a lot from it!

Closing talk

Sara Vieira@NikkitaFTWNot technical
While Sara’s informal style isn’t for everyone, there is a really important message to be taken from her talk. If you are feeling overwhelmed with the content of this post, this is a good talk to watch.

CSS Houdini Today

Una Kravets@Una – Somewhat technical
Even if you aren’t a very technical person, it is really cool to see what CSS Houdini will enable us to do. There are plenty of examples throughout the presentation, which left me in awe quite a few times.

Watch if the topic interests you

Your Tests Lack Vision: Adding Eyes to Your Automation FrameworkAngie Jones Not technical

Angie talks about Applitools’s Eyes and how you can use to find visual bugs in your application.

Dev experience stuff?Ashley WilliamsNot technical

An interesting topic for a developers conference and the presentation itself is quite cool! I am a big fan of the idea that we should be building tools that help teams develop faster and better.

Spreading the JAM throughout your CI workflowBrian Douglas – Somewhat technical

It is a really fun, easy to follow presentation! Brain’s basketball anecdotes are great and you might even get a good chuckle midway through. If you like basketball and want an overview of a continuous integration workflow or what GitHub actions are, then give it a shot (pun intended)!

Standardizing JavaScript Decorators in TC39Daniel EhrenbergTechnical Talk
I really liked Daniel’s talk, but I would only recommend it if you are curious about the process that JS features go through before becoming standards.

We are gonna program like its 1999Lee ByronTechnical Talk

Lee gives an overview of how the web has evolved.

Bringing WebAssembly outside the web with WASILin ClarkTechnical Talk

WebAssembly, but on a low level. I would recommend Steve’s talk (further down) as I felt it was easier to follow. Watch if you want to know even more about WebAssembly!

Why p2p deserves another chancePaul Frazee – Technical Talk

An interesting talk if you want to learn more about peer-to-peer networks and some interesting applications of it.

(Programming Languages) in Agda = Programming (Languages in Agda)Philip WadlerTechnical Talk

This is a wholesome talk on a programming language capable of writing proofs. Watch if you would like to know how a programming language can come to be!

Rust, WebAssembly, and the future of ServerlessSteve KlabnikTechnical Talk

Very interesting talk! Steve gives a nice overview of what WebAssembly is.

How to build a social network entirely on serverlessYan CuiTechnical Talk

If you want to know how big business handle infrastructure migrations, this is the talk for you!

Lightning talks
The lightning talks are a mixed bag. Most presenters weren’t used to the big stage, so delivery was impacted. If I had to choose, I’d recommend the first one on performance and the sixth talk on creating mazes.

Final notes

Overall, the FullStackFest conference was a wonderful opportunity to learn and reflect on how the web can become better in the future. What about you? If any of the topics caught your attention, or if you attended a different event in 2019 and want to share your learning, leave a comment or contact us to let us know!

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