Review of Reactathon 2019

github / react / reactathon / san francisco   Posted on Apr 9, 2019 by Sam Kahle

Blueprint Interactive is a very unique company. Since I've started working here, there has always been a philosophy that we impose in all of our employees: If there is something new that you wish to try that could benefit the well-being of the company and you have the ambition, go for it! 

So I did just that.

Towards the end of March, Blueprint Interactive sent me on a trip to sunny San Francisco to attend the spring edition of Reactathon 2019: a conference dedicated specifically the popular javascript library known as React and everything it encompasses. Even though my main mission was to gain more of an understanding and collect new ideas for future projects, I highly suggest attending future Reactathon conferences. Here’s why...

There was something for everyone.

Whether you’re a pro or a novice, there was something for everyone! In the days leading up to the main conference, there were numerous workshops that varied in skill level. Some notable workshops were facilitated by Swizec Teller and Erin Doyle. Swizec is a software engineer based in San Francisco who taught us how to program dynamic react web apps, the significance of GraphQL, and the benefits of using serverless environments like AWS Lambda. Erin is software engineer working at CashStar who taught us how to build accessible web apps for the general population including those of us who are mentally/physically disabled.

Interesting takeaway from that workshop: Roughly 20% of Internet users are disabled. If your website is not built to be accessible, then you're potentially missing out on 20% more site visitors and more importantly, 20% more revenue. 🤯

During the main conference, they really seemed to emphasize networking and made sure you had the time and opportunity to mingle with fellow developers and professionals. Which brings me to my next point...

Swizec Teller leading a workshop for Reactathon Live from Reactathon

Left: Swizec Teller leads a workshop for Reactathon
Right: Live from Reactathon

So. Much. Networking.

One could argue that any professional event will leave you with a bunch of knowledge and resources, but not quite like Reactathon. The conference was hosted at Github HQ. A gorgeous open space with ping pong tables, shuffleboard, and an open bar. The environment itself was very inviting and fostered productive conversation in a very organic way.

What I found to be even cooler was the use of designated “Topic Tables”. These tables were strategically placed around the venue meant for discussion talks about a particular topic. Both amateur and professional developers were able to join these interactive conversations and I thought it was a fantastic way to extend the learning experience outside of just listening to panelists speak.

After the last speaker was finished, the the Afterparty began! Which brings me to my last point...

It was basically a week long party. 🎉

Reactathon seemed less like a formal event and more like a celebration of this awesome technology. The hosts of the event, Real World React and Github, did a wonderful job of mixing the conference experience into a fun learning format and the resources and contacts you gain from attending Reactathon will make you appreciate why you fell in love with programming to being with.

That's all for now. Tune in next time and enjoy the rest of your Sunday.

✌️ Sam

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