Reflecting on my time at NodeConf EU 2022

Published: Oct 5, 2022

Over the last few days i’ve had the wonderful opportunity to attend NodeConf EU 2022 at the stunning Lyrath Estate, Kilkenny. I had a great time and met some great, knowledgeable people. In this post i’ll be reflecting on my time at the conference - along with my thoughts on the talks I attended.

Day Zero

I arrived in Lyrath on the Sunday evening before the event, where there was time to network & converse with other early attendees. I checked in to the room and freshened up before heading down to check into the event and meet some of the Charles River team in person for the first time since joining the company. On checkin, a bag of goodies & an attendee badge was provided with some conference swag, some free drinks vouchers, some stickers (big shoutout to Holly, Dean’s daughter for the amazing sticker!) and a card from Charles River which, if dropped to the booth, would count towards a donation to Tech for Good Dublin. This, from what I could see, had been well received amongst attendees - giving money to a charity instead of providing swag that people would not use.

I met some of the team and immediately was welcomed and introduced around, where conversation flowed easily. Food was circulated for a good length of time, a delectable selection of veg risotto, fish pie & Thai red curry. They definitely made sure everyone was well fed! We then headed to set the stand up (who knew it was so hard to set up?!) and got a first look at the other stands (NearForm’s ‘Open Source is Art’ tees were definitely a highlight, a work of art of their own!)

A trad band played in the hotel bar, keeping everyone amused for the evening, with beer taps flowing along with lots of interesting conversations.

Kicking off

An early rise, with plenty of coffee & pastries consumed before the talks kicked off. All headed down to the conference hall to be greeted with a warm welcome by Cian, founder of NearForm, followed by an intro to some of the latest and greatest features coming soon to Node. A selection of very interesting and informative talks followed, a notable one for me being by Cody Zuschlag, with insight into the modern development stack - with a specific focus on modularity and code that can ‘run anywhere’, be it in the cloud on a provider of your choice, or on your local machine as you are ‘in the clouds’ on a plane with no connection. Definitely food for thought when choosing a stack for my next project.

An introduction to Records and Tuples followed by Bloomberg’s Robin Ricard. James Snell & Jean Burellier followed with similarly insightful talks on a performance bug introduced in Node & heavy computation using Rust. These were followed by a great insight by Matteo Collina of the issues with ORMs and what he is doing differently with Platformatic, a recent project he is a part of. A live demo of the Platformatic tool in action, building a backend within just a few minutes, is definitely a very interesting concept with a lot of potential as it grows and matures.

A great word of advice was then given to all on inclusivity, to follow the ‘pac-man’ rule, leaving a space open in groups for anyone to join the conversation. As the workshop I signed up for had been postponed, a live panel talk had been arranged on TypeScript vs Javascript. This was definitely a great panel talk to listen to, hearing the great things - aswell as the pitfalls - of TypeScript, and what is being done to improve the language.

After an insightful day of talks, people grouped up to chat and relax. Pizza was served in the restaurant over great conversations and buses arrived to take the crowds into Kilkenny city. After a long day, I opted out - instead choosing to wind down and call it an early night.

Day Two

I woke early, and as with the previous day, coffee and pastries were calling me, so I pored over them as I used the earlier rise to put some time into testing & approving PRs on the Tutors GitHub repo, which gained great traction thanks to Hacktoberfest. I headed down to the conference halls for the talks of the morning - a great medley from Ethan Arrowood, Liran Tal & Danielle Adams.

I then headed to the lobby with Patty O’Callaghan, a colleague - Tech Lead & Full Stack Developer at Charles River - to work on & help prepare for her TensorFlow workshop early in the afternoon. Some frontend changes were made, along with a full run through to ensure everything would go smoothly. In what felt like no time later, the workshop commenced, and this was an amazing insight into the setup of TensorFlow and getting simple feedback immediately using pre-trained models and your laptop webcam. This was a well structured workshop which gathered a great crowd and generally received very positive feedback.

After the workshop, the Charles River team gathered to chat before getting prepared for dinner. It was great to get to know more about the team on both a professional and personal level. Dinner was served in a more formal manner, with a main course of, hands down, the best Lamb dish I have ever had. After some networking with other attendees, I decided to head to my room early to wind down.

Almost over

The third and final day came along, with the unfortunate thought that this was the final day of the conference. I followed the usual ritual of coffee and pastries, in the emptier-than-usual breakfast room, and headed to the conference rooms. It was very quiet up until 9am when the talks were to start, and the crowds soon came along.

Talks on this morning were very insightful, I particularly enjoyed Gil Tayar’s talk on his proposal for type annotations in JavaScript and the proposed implementation along with Kas’ talk on WebAssembly (and acronyms!).

To finish up my time at NodeConf EU, I attended the Bangle.js workshop - which included a great last minute addition of TensorFlow after Gordon attended Patty’s workshop and came up with a novel solution to check if a person is going to pick their nose using TensorFlow! - and helped take down the Charles River stand.

Until next year…

It was great to meet some of the local Charles River CXE team, many other like minded people who attended the conference, along with finding out & learning about the latest and greatest in Node. It was a great opportunity to be able to attend the conference at an early stage of my career and definitely a conference that I would attend again if the opportunity arose.