void "words"

NodePDX 2013 Day 2

Day 2 is over and I’m sad to see it go. I learned a lot and had a lot of fun. Even met some people this time.

The showstopper talk was Max Ogden talking about voxel-engine. (You can view his slides here).

As impressive as the technical aspects behind it were, what was most impressive to me was the ultimate goal: strengthening the community. He explained how he was seeing so much creativity from young people in creating these vast minecraft structures that they had no real way to share with others aside from screenshots. This project hopes to facilitate that kind of sharing and make a place for these kids to get into the sharing/coding/hacker culture. Pretty awesome if you ask me.

Another great talk from Forrest Norvell from New Relic took a reasonably unbiased look at improving code quality. Unbiased as in there was minimal CoffeeScript or Express bashing, though there were a couple of subtle (and well-deserved) jabs in their direction.

There was a certain theme at one point of the day, kind of wrapping back around to the idea of working on easing people into a culture that is known for being rather brash at times. A great talk from Tracy Abrahms about her very recent descent into coding helped to drive the point home.

Zach Babb suggested a project where people could work their way up from nothing to logic gates to eventual higher-level abstractions. I’m of the opinion that there’s a more comfortable middle-ground. Those abstractions exist for a reason and I’m relatively certain they would be easier to grasp (perhaps on day 2) than the more bare-metal approach. Interesting idea nonetheless.

All-in-all the take-away for me was an overwhelming sense of humility that I was desperately needing. I was under no impression that I was the best coder in the world, but hearing from and interacting with such a talented group of people made me realize just how far I had yet to go.