October 7, 2019

Dabbling with React @ React India 2019: A Tweet story

My experience of India's first React conf, React India 2019

Categories: conferences
Tags: React GraphQL javascript vipulgupta2048 community FOSS Redux India React-Native conferences

Lush green trees, monsoon weather, soul cooling winds coming from the tumultuous waters of the beach where sounds of waves splashing over the dry sand can be heard by people walking by. Now, just imagine a tech conference on a piece of software that powers almost half of the web today at the place that I just described. How could you stop yourself? I couldn’t. Here’s a brief twitter story of my adventures at React India.

React India was the first-ever international, community-led beach conference that provided a platform for developers to share, discuss their insights and experiences with React and React Native. The three-day conference was the first of its kind in India broken into workshops and conference days with community talks from 26th September - 28th September 2019

Before setting off, I planned to capture a picture of everyone I met at the conference & tweet about it, that way when the conference ends. I could write this blog much more easily. And now you know why exactly it’s called a tweet story.

The Journey

The journey starts with me filling the diversity scholarship form for React India and in turn getting selected from a pool of hundreds. Happy to say, the other nine people who were selected were gems in their own fields. I had a marvelous time interacting with each and every one of them.

I hopped on an early morning flight to Goa and was met with a brief patch of Goa rains. We boarded the airport shuttle arranged by React India, filled with fellow attendees. From there on, we started for the beautiful south side of Goa, along the narrow lanes of the countryside where we saw colorful houses, cottages behind tall coconut trees everywhere the eye could wander.

Workshops Galore

The first day of the React India was all about workshops and connecting with individuals. I met professionals from Accenture, Verizon, Paperphile and made new connections while touring the amazing property of Planet Hollywood. It was a beach conference, why not enjoy it?

Many workshops were happening that day, most notably of Siddharth’s about Building your first Design System: from scratch to production and Vladimir Novik’s workshop about Practical ReasonML for React devs.

Tell us more about the conference

The conference was extremely well organized. I have seen almost nothing like it, the entire main hall where the single-track conference took place was made out of German hanger tent, completely waterproof, Air-conditioned and was located out in the open. There were community talks, quizzes, games, company stalls and even an after-party where Ken Wheeler performed remotely!

Day 1 begins

The conference started out with the very talented and extremely renowned speaker, giving the opening keynote, Sunil Pai. GraphQL was in the air as a lot of talks focused on refactoring, DRY approaches for it, even some great applications with it as Nader talked about in his talk.

GraphQL is much more than efficiently pulling data, and I am glad Nader’s talk helped make the case for it as he showcased the powers of AWS Amplify as well as some awesome problems he solved with GraphQL.

Moving on, I took a break from GraphQL and attended talks by Ives van Hoorne about building CodeSandbox, and React for teenagers by my roommate, Yash Gupta. Both very inspirational on how to build products for everyone and contributing back to the community. You all should really try CodeSandbox, it’s like VsCode but online and more flexible.

Community is where the heart is

Open-Source was a general theme behind the conference, where people talked from how we can build more inclusive communities to releasing new frameworks for blogging platforms to conflict resolution to this amazing quote by Carolyn in her talk about “Intuitive tooling”.

“We mistake familiarity for simplicity” - Carolyn Stransky

She argues on the fact that we as developers, once fluent with a framework or a technology being to introducing it as “simple”. While its simple for you now, we must not forget it might not be that straightforward for a newcomer due to the steep learning curve or improper documentation.

I loved Jason Lengstorf’s talk as he asks the question Is open-source really open?. He highlights several issues he observed and resolved at the time of his working at Gatsby. Simple principles that communities and corporations can follow to eliminate those problems and be supportive of their contributors.

I had the most insightful discussions with folks from the community, including this one talk from Tanvi Bhakta on building a healthier, more inclusive workplace culture. She is also working on an awesome project, that you all should check out and support. it’s called Desi Deck of Dames and it’s awesome!!

Making connections is all about why we attend conferences, and I finally met these two in the halls. One is the organiser of Hackerspace Mumbai, an incredible community working on the forefront of tech and the other an extremely talented, newly appointed DevRel for Dgraph Labs!

Author: Vipul Gupta

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