Fluent 2015

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I had meant to write up my thoughts on Fluent 2015 as soon as I got back home, but, life has a way of - well - being life. And as I'm about to leave for another conference tomorrow I figured I'd better write up some thoughts about Fluent 2015 before I head out. I should point out that these nuggets are not in any particular order (heck, the first one is probably the least important), and that I've been to a couple Fluent conferences so part of my what I'm responding to are changes from previous years (and in every case - a good change).

  • One of my memories of the first Fluent was how awful the food was. Yeah, I know that isn't the most important thing, but if I can still remember that then you know how bad it was. (Or I'm just really preoccupied with food.) This year it was great.
  • Another memory of an earlier Fluent was having difficulty going from one room to another. I seem to remember a twisty path going up flights of stairs, entering a blue police box, etc. You get the idea. This year everything was nice and tightly packed. It was very easy to go from one room to another. I will gladly take a location that is half as fancy as another if it means a conference with easy to find rooms. Of course, this year the location was both fancy and well setup, so location-wise, it was perfect.
  • Wifi was a problem. Not always, but enough to stand out. That's the only black mark I can give this conference, and frankly, if they told me that wifi would be just as bad next year, it wouldn't make me reconsider going for one second. I'm going to include it here because it should be corrected and checked thoroughly for next year, but it certainly didn't take away from my enjoyment and education.
  • Content has always been a strong point of Fluent and this year was no different. This is one of the few conferences where if I wasn't elected to speak, I'd beg my employer to send me as an attendee. (And thankfully now I have an employee that would actually do so.) So yeah, the content kicked ass, but I think what stuck out the most was how the content topics seemed to have shifted quite a bit since my first Fluent. That's to be expected, of course, but I noticed a dramatic lack of Angular. In fact, I think this one session (Accessibility in AngularJS and Beyond) was the only one with Angular in the title. (I'm not going to review the entire schedule, I'm probably wrong.) It wasn't that I heard any Angular-bashing as well, it just seemed like Angular was everywhere previously and now... now it isn't. Of course, I used Angular in my session on Ionic and it wasn't called out in my title. So maybe that's the thing - it's just kinda assumed now? On the flip side, there was a big honking batch of ES6. I've been paying attention to ES6 but not actually writing any yet as it just feels a bit too early. Of course, I knew I could write ES6 now with transcompilers, but I have to be honest. I feel uneasy using them. It's the same feeling I had with CoffeeScript (along with not liking the syntax either). My gut felt like if I was writing code that would be completely transformed before it hit the browser than I was giving up some essential link to my environment. That's how I felt. Then I sat in on Brian Holt's React session where a transcompiler was part of a gulp script where it just made it all work automagically and you know what? Writing ES6 with React was pretty freaking cool. Cool enough for me to maybe think I need to get over my apprehension and start considering using it sooner rather than later. Parts of ES6 are - frankly - confusing as hell, but writing classes for React felt right to me. While I'm raving about content, I'll also give props out to my friend Brian Rinaldi and his practical web audio session. It had no code - just discussions of how one could use web audio in the real world (outside of games) and what would work and what would not. This type of content is something I wish conferences would push a bit harder to cover. It is something I've tried to focus on as well in my career. I've sat in too many "OMFG UNREAL GAME ENGINE IN JAVASCRIPT" sessions that were cool but useless to my development.

Anyway - if you missed out - you can still purchase a full pass to watch videos of all the sessions. At the time of this review it wasn't yet available, but this form would let you sign up to be notified when they became available.

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