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Conference Spotlight: FullStack London 2018

FullStack London is the biggest JavaScript conference held in the UK. This year it moved to a new venue (London Business Centre) in order to accommodate more people and more talks. The conference ran over 3 days and each day had 5 tracks, so you can imagine how difficult it was to choose which talks to attend!

There were some big names at FullStack this year; Brendan Eich, the creator of the JavaScript language gave the opening keynote. Douglas Crockford, author of JavaScript the Good Parts, Sean Larkin, part of the Webpack Core Team, and Sarah Drasner, Vue.js Core Team Member and staff writer at CSS-Tricks, were also keynote speakers.

FullStack 2018 was an opportunity to find out more about what’s big in the world of JavaScript and to get an insight into what will likely to be big in the coming year. Participants and speakers travel from all over the world to attend FullStack London - it has a very international vibe.

Sean Larkin


Which talks did you enjoy the most?

Sean Larkin's keynote 'Webpack and the Future' was probably the talk I enjoyed the most. He spoke about features added to webpack (an open-source JavaScript module bundler) which have made a huge impact in further reducing application build times. He also talked about how webpack development is driven by a desire to improve the developer experience as well as his role in building a supportive community for webpack users.

Colin Eberhardt gave an excellent talk on WebAssembly and the future of JavaScript. WebAssembly (a new format for compilation on the web) will allow languages other than JavaScript to run in the browser and in the future may also be used to compile JavaScript making it run even faster. He talked about how WebAssembly has already allowed some desktop applications to migrate to the browser (AutoCAD) and how more will likely follow.

Sarah Drasner's keynote on Serverless functions and Vue.js was really interesting. She talked about the benefits of going Serverless if you have to scale up or down, in that you only get billed for what you use. She also talked about the use cases for Serverless functions within a Vue.js application and demonstrated how easy it is to create a Serverless API.

Takeaways from the conference?

The popularity of webpack is growing and configuring it well could reap big rewards. WebAssembly is likely to make a massive impact on web development. WebAssembly likes Rust (programming language) a lot. SVG animations are awesome. Everyone loves React but some people love Vue.js more. Serverless sounds amazing even if it doesn't mean without a server. And, as Brendan Eich reminded everyone, always bet on JavaScript!

Sarah Drasner


Which talks did you enjoy the most?

Two of the talks which Erica has already mentioned, from Sarah Drasner and Sean Larkin, were both stand-outs. The introduction of zero config in version 4 of webpack has changed my perception of the bundler, and Sean’s infectious enthusiasm has me looking forward to seeing what it can do in the future. Sarah’s demonstration of Vue.js and Serverless functions highlighted the ease of use and power of the two when combined, and piqued my interest in a framework and a model that I haven’t used before.

Felix Rieseberg

Felix Rieseberg’s talk was on another framework which I haven’t yet used. I’d known of Electron for some time, being that it’s behind desktop apps that I use daily, such as Slack and Visual Studio Code. However I hadn’t appreciated quite how easy it was to get started and the myriads of problems that it actually solved. I always think that a speaker has done a great job if you want to go out and start using the technology they were talking about, and that was the case here.

Douglas Crockford effectively gave us the specification for the language that he feels should follow JavaScript. But I’m not going to be dropping JavaScript anytime soon (not that he was suggesting we could or even should). What Douglas did do however, was describe a readable and pragmatic approach to coding that I really appreciate, and try to stick to in all of my work.  

Takeaways from the conference?

I’ve been to FullStack for the last two years now and have found that, both times, I’ve come away wanting to try more new frameworks and ideas that I’ve not used before. My takeaway is an ambition to try all of those things. The target is to do it before I come back from FullStack 2019 with another list!

Dave and Erica. All photos by Skills Matter and Telling Photography.