Four Kitchens

Trip report: DinosaurJS

3 Min. ReadEvents

DinosaurJS, Friday, June 24th, 2016, Oriental Theatre, Denver, Colorado. Organized by Steve Kinney as part of the JSConf family of Events; #dinojs on Twitter.

Inflatable dinosaur

Connecting with the JavaScript community

A couple weeks ago, I headed to Denver to learn more about what JavaScript can do and to connect with other engineers in the JS community. For the last few years, I’ve worked on JavaScript projects a lot, but haven’t attended many JavaScript focused events. So getting a chance to go to a conference specifically organized by and for the JS community was a great opportunity to broaden my horizons.

The single-track conference was hosted inside an old movie theater turned music venue, set up with with free cold brew, food trucks, and inflatable dinosaurs all around (Denver is home to some of the world’s most fossil-rich land). Lunch was held at a park a couple blocks from the venue and the weather was perfect.

Lunch at DinosaurJS

Great talks and time for tea

The presentations were given on a single large stage with a giant screen at the back. After each speaker was done with their presentation, they headed over to the side of the stage and sat down for tea and questions— literally, they had a cup of tea with the emcee, Jenn Schiffer, while fielding crowd questions from Twitter.

On stage at DinosaurJS

One talk that stood out for me was Server Farm to Table, presented by Jenna Zeigen. What happens after you type out a URL and hit enter? Understanding how the Internet really works is critical to understanding your platform. In fact, at Four Kitchens, we even ask this question during engineer interviews. Jenna did a great job of making a very complex topic fun and approachable.

Another stand-out experience was hearing about The Age of the JavaScript Powered Desktop from Evan Morikawa. As the talk title suggests, if you can write JavaScript, you can write desktop applications like Slack or Atom Editor. It felt empowering to be reminded that the skills I’m using everyday are becoming more relevant as the JavaScript ecosystem grows.

But by far, the most memorable presentation was hearing Suz Hinton’s talk, Single Page Access, about accessibility on the web— why and how to make our JS-based apps accessible. As a developer, the things that we do affect so many people: you can write ten lines of code and then millions of people can access it. Of the millions of people that access our sites, there are many who cannot access it—who cannot interact with it—unless we choose to include them. When we don’t choose accessibility, we automatically disqualify a group of people from interacting with our work. As Suz said so eloquently, “People are not edge cases.” It’s time our code reflects that truth.

Count me in

DinosaurJS was an amazingly fun conference; I had a great time, met some fantastic people, and got to hang out in Rocky Mountain National Park when I was done. 10/10 would recommend.

Check out the recap video to see if you want to attend in 2017! I’m in the first scene repping my Four Kitchens shirt!