October 21, 2013

What happened at HarvestJS

I went to HarvestJS this weekend. I knew it was for beginners but I still wanted to go so I could a) support the community and b) maybe pick up a few things. I feel like an “advanced beginner” but truth is I feel that way about almost everything.

In the morning it was “self paced JS training” and it was in a big stadium seating room with uncomfortable seats not well suited for using a laptop. I used the time to work on some other project and was contemplating leaving since it wasn’t a good way to work. After about an hour or so they announced we were all going upstairs to one of several empty rooms where the same content was going to be presented by 3 different people. I ended up in Chris Cowan’s room and he made the “intro to node” section so I figured it was a good room to be in. Found out later he is @uhduh and he turned out to be more personable than I thought he would be after following him on twitter (just the avatar kinda scares me). That was mostly self paced with Chris and Rob Rich going around and helping people that were stuck and when everyone was ready move on we went to the next challenge. After that was “intro to express” which was a self-paced thing with no instruction except what was on the site (and I skipped it since I’ve used express already and could go back to it since it was online).

Then lunch. They had a “lunch truck” and the food was excellent (though the line was kinda long). They had snacks and drinks out all day. They never ran out of Diet Coke. Couldn’t have been better. Thanks Rackspace!

After that they did sessions that were being repeated three times in 5 different rooms. All of the speakers did talks in the “hands on” way I always dreamed of.

  • Luis had 6 slides that basically said “websockets is awesome, go get this repo” and the rest of the instructions were in the repo. I enjoyed the review even though and I’ve played with websockets before and even won a hackathon using them.
  • Blaine made a “choose your own adventure” style game with node and interactively taught people about npm. There were fireworks! But I never got to them because I was too busy asking questions about whatever else that he was happy to answer (as long as it wasn’t about Borderlands)
  • I learned the most from a a talk about async by Rob Rich that was “go check out this repo” and in the repo he had 9 folders and in each folder was two files that did the same thing but in very different ways. The repo and instructions were great and the way he explained some core concepts wasn’t like what I has seen before and really clarified a few things for me.

I didn’t get to go to either of the presentations by the Fractal guys . . . it’s like I was boycotting them or something. But I really should have went to the Mocha one and I wanted to go to the Mongo one but then Luis mentioned he liked Postgre now because it had native support for a JSON field (which I read about before and was wondering if anyone was making good use of it).

Anyway, it was well done. And the code and content is all on github so I can relive it anytime. Thanks to Rackspace and all the people that put it on.

Sheldon