The UX of JS.Everywhere (Wakanday 2011)

I was invited over the weekend to speak at the Wakanday 2011 conference title JS.Everywhere.  It was a fascinating gathering because the emphasis was not on JavaScript in a browser, but rather on the server.  4D is the company sponsoring the event.  They have had a database server product for decades and are trying to evolve into a more modern stack including the front-end.  Those of you who know Node.JS would recognize the effort to put JavaScript as the main server language.  The benefit would be that engineers wouldn’t need to learn multiple languages.

The conference was in the heart of Boston, which is a great city to walk around.  The historical context is so well preserved.  They had people dressed in period costume explaining the details of the surrounding landmarks.  I walked around Quincy Market, which brought back many memories from my childhood.  (I spent a few weeks in Boston once).

The conference was pretty good, although I thought it was really rushed and short.  Just one day and each session was only 30 minutes.  My talk was on “consistency” and I definitely felt rushed.  I had to ignore a bunch of questions at the end.  My presentations usually are not that good without me talking to them.  I typically have big pictures with little text.  For your enjoyment, here is the PowerPoint presentation.

Some of the other presentations went over my head. I enjoyed Douglas Crockford and networking with many of the attendees.  The only critique would be to add more time per session , maybe a second day and increase the interactivity of the show in general.

I don’t want to sound like I know what I am talking about too much, but the idea of using JavaScript as the language of the server seems intriguing.  The promise of Java, (write once, run anywhere) never materialized.  However, it is JavaScript that seems to be everywhere these days.  If this trend keeps up, then I imagine PHP and Rails may have a new competitor in their midst.

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