A look back at NodeConfEU

By davglass

I have been in the NodeJS community since the very beginning but have never had the chance to attend a NodeConf before due to scheduling issues. When the opportunity to attend and speak at NodeConfEU was presented to me, I immediately jumped at the chance to go.

First, I’d like to thank Cian Ó Maidín & nearForm for leading up this massive effort. This conference was well run and a fantastic experience. I will definitely be attending more of them in the future.

Meeting others

On Sunday, Sept 8th I arrived in Dublin and had only a few hours to look around before the event. So I shot off a tweet asking if anyone was around, I immediately got a few responses and we organized a “pre-meetup” at a local pub. This was just the beginning of a fantastic week full of good friends and even better discussions.

When I first started in the Node community, I helped work on this little project called JSDom with Elijah Insua back in 2010. We collaborated on that project for a very long time together, talking almost every day. We finally had the chance to meet and hang out in “the real world”. Meeting him the first day was just the tip of the iceberg. I spent the rest of my time there meeting several hundred wonderful people and loved every moment.

The Venue

Waterford Ireland is the oldest city in Ireland, it’s situated along the southern coast of the main island. The town is absolutely lovely and the people are the probably the friendliest I have ever encountered. If it wasn’t enough that we were in this lovely city, we actually stayed on an island and lived in Waterford Castle during our off time and for the provided workshops.

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The Talks

The variety of talks given at NodeConfEU was amazing, there was something for everyone. From the "this is how you get started with x" to the "when you need to squeeze 2 nanoseconds off your execution time do y". Every talk at NodeConfEU was fantastic, but below I’ll try to highlight just the few that stood out to me in no particular order (this is just my personal opinion and there were way too many to cover).

Ben Acker from Walmart Labs gave a fantastic presentation. Ben’s slides were all hand drawn, funny and kept the audience engaged. They were also very informative and explained a great deal about how they work internally at Walmart Labs. It’s nice to see others showing these things.

Nexxy LoveElijah Insua each gave different talks on hardware. Nexxy’s was all about Node and micro controllers. I found this one interesting because she showed a few tools and discussed a few things that made me want to do more hardware hacking. Elijah’s talk was interesting due to the fact that he designed & manufactured a portable CNC machine just for this conference and fired it up on stage. How can you not love something like that?!

Paolo Fragomeni (aka hij1nx) gave a very energetic and thought provoking talk on using social media as a public key source for signing packages. It’s a very interesting concept and look forward to hearing more (and seeing the code).

Isaac Z. Schlueter's presentation was, to me, one of the best that I've seen in a very long time. It takes a lot for a community leader like Isaac to stand up and ask the community to come together and learn to talk to each other. His talk focuses on our interactions with other humans and how important it is that we “check our selves” from time to time to ensure that we are communicating with one another in a positive and effective manner. His talk struck a cord with me, you should definitely watch it when the video is released.

All of the talks were amazing, but I couldn’t write enough notes to cover them all. When the videos are released make sure you watch them all, there’s info in each of them for all NodeJS community members.

My most memorable moments

Meeting all these digital friends in person, as well as making new ones is beyond words!

NodeCopters! Do I really have to say more??

Watching geeks skeet shooting - (Mikeal Rogers was our winner for most shot!)

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And last but not least, having the mayor of Waterford, John Cummins, buy the entire conference a round of drinks at a local pub. That was completely amazing and totally unexpected.

Final Thoughts

The NodeJS community is one of my favorite, if not my most favorite, communities on the internet. The people involved with it and its events are absolutely fantastic people. After spending so much time with them online, it was truly a pleasure to meet them all in person and have some serious face to face time with them. I think I now admire and like them even more than I did before. This event made me want to participate in this community even more than I did before. I’m very much looking forward to the next time I get to see them all again.