After many years of watching jQuery conference dates come and go without attending, this year I finally got to go, and as a speaker to boot.
At jQuery conferences, you'd expect to meet all the big names in jQuery development, from Ben Alman to Jörn Zaefferer, and San Francisco did not let me down in this regard. Many of the speakers were people whose work I've followed for years, so it was nice to finally meet the people behind the innovations. By far, the most memorable person I met was Adam Sontag, a character and a half and someone who was made for conferences like this one.
Nearly every talk felt targeted towards an intermediate to expert level audience, which I greatly appreciated but could see how that might have put some potential attendees off. Given the Bocoup training session that was held just before, I would have figured there would be one or two basic-level talks to start off day one. The event was single-track with a breakout room for lightning talks to whomever wanted to present, which I hope is a pattern more and more conferences adopt. I would have been a bit upset if I didn't get to see both the deferreds and game dev talks if it were a multi-track conference.
The highlight of the conference, however, was the very first announcement that jQuery 2 would drop all support for IE8 and below. I couldn't tweet that information fast enough. We've never really had issues with supporting IE8 at Hashrocket, but I know that dropping support leaves a lot of room for more features while keeping the code footprint the same. I can't wait to see what new goodies are introduced once this takes place. It was also mentioned that a new custom builder would be released for jQuery similar to what is currently on the jQuery UI site. I don't know how fine-grained it will be, but it will be great to pare down the library to a core subset for my quick demos and leave methods like $.ajax out.
For the evening of the first day, a semi-impromptu (scheduled during the speaker dinner the night before) hackathon was organized just after the drinkup in the first floor of the conference center. Over 60 people were hacking away at coding all of the newly designed jQuery websites, from the main site to the jQuery Foundation site. I chose to lead a group to code the jQuery Foundation site, jquery.org. Despite some initial hurdles, we were able to get a good start, and I was left so motivated to continue to help that I coded the remaining pages assigned to my group while waiting in the airport the morning after the conference. I'd love to show you the new designs, but there's still a lot of work to be done. However if you're curious enough, you can probably see the pages somewhere in my GitHub account ;)
Overall, I think it was well worth the trip just for the conversations I had with other jQuery team members. I'd love to at least attend some of the other 12(!) jQuery conferences that are to be planned throughout the next year around the world, if not speak at them. Hopefully my next one will be the Toronto date! It's been a long time since I've been to Canada.