3 Conferences in 4 Days: NodeSummit, ForwardJS and npmCamp 2016

3 Conferences in 4 Days: NodeSummit, ForwardJS and npmCamp 2016

Last week was very fruitful on conferences. Luckily, there were all in the Bay Area so I didn’t have to travel. I spoke at NodeSummit and ForwardJS, and attended npmCamp. At all of them, I met old friends and made new ones. All of them were great but in different way.

NodeSummit 2016

NodeSummit started on Tuesday with Executive Roundtable which consisted of tech leads from major companies most of you’re familiar with like Netflix, Disney, Dictionary.com, New York Times, me representing Capital One and others totally 12 or so. It’s the first time Joyent put together this round table. It was interesting to hear how other people use Node.js, their pains and wins. Sorry, but I can’t tell you anything more because we all swore to secrecy and weren’t allowed to record anything.

The NodeSummit conference itself was held to The Village and it felt like the event could use a bigger venue next year. It’s a good sign that there are so many attendees— Node.js is going mainstream. My talk on Node You Don’t Know Node had the full room and at some point people who came late couldn’t enter it. No worries, here’s the deck and videos are coming soon too at Node.University.

The highlights of the conference were:

  • Node is everywhere: web, desktop, IoT, mobile, APIs, and in other things
  • Node Foundation is evolving by having new members and improving their processes
  • It was great to see, talk and “touch” all the prominent Node contributors (a.k.a. nodelebrities)

I personally smiled on the inside when Joe McCann, the CEO and co-founder of NodeSource (one of the main sponsors and a reputable Node company) gave a shout out to Capital One as a forward thinking tech company and a Node/open source/API-success story.

The talks from this two-day conference were recorded, so check on NodeSummit website in a few days for the links.

Overall, NodeSummit had a good balance of enterprise and community. The logistics and audio/video were good! (Yummy and healthy snacks of plumps and peaches!)

ForwardJS 5

ForwardJS is one of the few conferences which is held more than just once a year. Moreover, It has a lot of workshops before and after the one day event. Tech is changing fast, so it’s paramount to attend this type of conferences where you have workshops.

As the name suggests, this conference was heavy on browser JavaScript with a bit of Node and IoT mixed in as well. This is my second ForwardJS (I went to ForwardJS 4 and this was ForwardJS 5), and I can attest that they are keeping the bar high.

The highlight was the React panel were speakers discussed Redux, RxJS, Axios, Aphrodite and other React architecture related topics. Snacks included stroopwafels and coffee, as well as milk and cookies. Not healthy but different from other conferences so kudos!

npmCamp 2016

This is a more of a community conference. It was much smaller than the other two. It was held in a cool Oakland space Impact Hub where part of the documentary CODE: Debugging The Gender Gap (by the way, sponsored by Capital One) was filmed.

Highlights of npmCamp:

  • Greenkeeper.io to automate your versioning. Free for open-source projects
  • Registry architecture patterns (slides) which npm used to scale (successfully and not very)
  • npm has support—who would have thought? (support@npmjs.com, and @npm_support)
  • standard-version library to simplify semversioning with Angular Git commit messages
  • npm is nice people matter
  • npm cli team has just a handful developers and almost 3000 open issues! It made me more sympathetic.

All in all, inaugural npmCamp was really good with a good balance of tech talks and soft (human) related talks about community, empathy, etc. Highly recommend coming to this “camp” next year!


All events were around JavaScript. It’s amazing how this language and the ecosystem has become popular! You have startups, hobbits and big companies using it.

Just a thought: No matter where are you, there are NO EXCUSES for not learning either by reading slides (most of them are publicly available), Twitter conversations (#NodeSummit, #ForwardJS and #npmCamp) or conference YouTube videos (when available).

Of course, in-person trumps everything. You get to learn by osmosis so to say, from the very people who wrote the stuff you use EVERY DAY. If your company won’t sponsor, then apply for waiver or submit a talk. Most conferences will even cover travel expenses for their speakers. What a great way to learn, network and see new places! Or change a company which sends their engineers to events, like Capital One.

Conferences are not for everyone. You shouldn’t come to conferences like these three, if you are planning to stay in your role for the next 10, 20 ,30 years… and if you plan to use the same technologies you’re using today (hey, Cobol is still in use today!). Also, if you don’t care about the best practices and the available solutions to your problems (which has been solved by other people). Yes, tech conferences then not for you. (Sarcasm font in the last paragraph.)

Author: Azat

Techies, entrepreneur, 20+ years in tech/IT/software/web development expert: NodeJS, JavaScript, MongoDB, Ruby on Rails, PHP, SQL, HTML, CSS. 500 Startups (batch Fall 2011) alumnus. http://azat.co http://github.com/azat-co

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