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Lessons from Forward2 + talk slides

Yesterday, I spoke at Forward2 aka ForwardJS, a JavaScript conference in San Francisco. Most of the attendees were local, again affirming my fondness for speaking at regional confs. The organizers made a fantastic line-up (99% of why I accepted an invite to speak there), and I learned a few things that I’ll share here. This post also has the slides I used at the bottom if that’s what you’re looking for 🙂

GPU performance

The first talk I went to after the keynotes was on web performance + GPU (slides). This is something we’ve been looking into at work, and literally I meant to read more about it to understand it/write a post on it, and this presentation was super helpful for groking how offloading performance to the GPU works. Bullet points:

  • It’s about moving from a flat surface into layers
  • Avoid paints! They’re expensive
  • Not all rendering engines created equally, something to be aware of cross-browser/device
  • Be careful shoving everything to the GPU, it’s all about balance. Timeline is your BFF.

Later in the day I explained what I learned to the people at the Tessel table, using stickers to explain how moving things to layers removes the need to paint a layer. I may need to make a Vine of this.

WTF talk

I love seeing @getify (Kyle) speak. His vocal curmudgeonlyness combined with his time exploring the nooks and crannies of he language make a great talk. I felt like the talk had lots of examples with coersion (which I still suspect might be aided by types, but when we talked about it later, imo it’s a matter of how you look at the evaluation, tomato tomahto) and more examples with generators, lots with the ‘finally’ keyword.

The slides are up, but keep an eye on the corner for the “wtf” and “not wtf” markers, as they might be hard to tell apart 🙂 [I’ve probably been writing too much JavaScript]

We Are All Game Programmers
Thought the talk was really cute, with lots of fun anecdotes (ex. a story music game where you explore to discover an album by play-through). The thesis of the talk is that the techniques used to make games super performant (how many people spend their lives crying over lag in games? lots, probably). Here were his three lessons shared from what game programmers do, even if you have no desire to ever make games:

1. Minimize + isolate state [pure functions!]
2. Enforce deterministic rendering (frames are independent)
3. Separate rendering and simulation

Intro to Purescript (slides)
This is one where I wish my laptop wasn’t charging in the speaker room. Michael mostly discussed syntax and then various features/implementation in the context of the language. It was also the post-lunch talk, so maybe that’s also a contributor to me having a harder time picking up on it. Try PureScript at

Short talks: Remote work from Mozilla, products for developers

I love hearing the sound of the remote working drum. Diane did some walkthrough myth busting about “no innovation” etc. that you hear about remote work. I feel like the biggest take-away was “Remote work more strongly reveals existing weaknesses.” The second short talk was kind of like developer user experience, but an interesting tidbit was that when making products for developers, your metrics are more difficult, bc your audience is more likely to have adblock turned on. Makes sense, but interesting challenge.

After that, I went for a walk outside and hid for about an hour to deal with the impending talk I was about to give. I also ate snacks.

Choosing a JavaScript Framework

As promised, slides:

It was really well received, and someone game up after (thanks really nice guy!) and told me it was his favorite presentation of the day.

Then I played a Jeopardy game with Diane and Kyle, winning the illustrious prize of an alarm clock.

5 stars, would recommend the conf both as an attendee and a speaker 🙂

P.S. … definitely tweeted the picture just for this post. “the fish” was a chocolate fish. So absurd and wonderful.

2 Replies to “Lessons from Forward2 + talk slides”

  1. Your talk was very good. It was a bit hard to take notes because you went very fast. The density of information and the thought that went into the talk was big. I enjoyed it, and bought the book. Thanks.

    1. Thanks, Martin! Yes, I went very fast! I’ve previously given that talk in an hour slot, and was amazed I was able to finish when I realized in the AM that it was not a 45 minute, but a 30 minute, slot. Thanks for buying the book, hope you enjoy!

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