Collected (abridged) thoughts on #jqcon

I spent September 11-14 in Boston for jQuery Conference 2009.  For $150, this conference was probably the best value I've seen in a conference.  Packed with great speakers on great topics, it was more than I was expecting.

I spent most of my time tweeting the event using the #jQCon tag, but I wanted to collect some thought here in a slightly more robust way than I could using Twitter.  Here it goes:

  • jQuery 1.3.3 looks really sick; John and the whole core team have done some fantastic work.  I really appreciate that these guys are really committed to making jQuery competitive in the running for "fastest" JS library.  A 3.5x speed increase overall in 1.3.3 is nothing to sneeze at.  I can't wait for the release!
  • There are a lot more implications selectors being parsed right-to-left in jQuery than you might imagine.  As always, specificity plays a big role; but not necessarily in intuitive ways.  I'll probably write a more full post on this topic as my mind really got swirling around this one.
  • People are totally stoked about jQueryUI and jQueryUI Labs.  That's a good thing as I see absolutely huge potential for jQueryUI and I've been developing some widgets that I plan to release on github relatively soon.
  • The guys from JavascriptMVC are interesting characters.  And they get huge props for handling an attendee asking them to "fast forward" their presentation in a humorous way.
  • ARIA is fantastic technology that people should really, really be looking into.  An interesting project would be to make all jQueryUI widgets ARIA-compliant.
  • People who use and preach jQuery love Event Delegation.  I was in really good company with these guys and I was happy to see it getting so much press.  jQuery's $.live() handles delegation for you which is just slick.
  • TestSwarm, as I anticipated, is going to rock. Javascript testing got a lot of press too and I'm really stoked that it did.  I was a little disappointed that there wasn't much coverage of testing frameworks (not even qunit)
  • Steve Souders is even more passionate about front-end performance than I expected him to be.  Also, big ups for doing his presentation on less sleep than I had the night before.
  • There's a lot of talk about how to organize your code with jQuery.  It seems that the fact that jQuery doesn't enforce some type of structure is both a blessing and a curse.  I've often said that for ATC, a big barrier has been that prototype's class functionality gives us something that we haven't been able to replace in jQuery.  The good news is that a lot of people are thinking about it and there are some great solutions out there.

I also have some thoughts about the social aspects of the conference

  • The question I was asked most:  "how about the ratio?"  It had to be at least 25:1; but it could have been 30:1
  • There's an iPhone version of the drinking game "Circle of Death" out there.  That made for every bit as much fun as you might imagine.
  • After enough adult beverages, John Resig's "smooth-jazz" voice does lighten a bit. :)
  • It was great to find so many people there who were truly social.  I was expecting to have a harder time getting people to open up--but there were others there that shared my mindset.
  • Off the top of my head (and if you're not on the list, it's because I simply didn't think about it very long or we only talked briefly) it was great to meet and spend time with @bobholt, @jeresig, @voodootikigod, @rmurphey, @snookca, @bitofgrace, @bpartridge, @binary42, @Cowboy, @defunkt, @dainbrain
  • I still wish I'd met even more.

Great time; more to come from me on the conference.  But that's an early round-up!

For those that weren't there, @bobholt set up a site to aggregate the slides.