Posted in JavaScript

JSUnconf 23-24 April 2016, Hamburg

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are my own! Pictures are copied from twitter @jsunconf.

Now start reading…

It’s day #2 at JSUnconf, Hamburg and it’s snowing here! It’s weekend, yet nobody is tired. The enthusiasm within the audience/community is crazy. Everybody is here to share and learn something new.

jsunconf-audience

This was my first time at an Unconf! Unlike other conferences, the good thing about Unconfs is that the audience get to vote for the talk proposals on the fly. This is absolutely a conference for the people and by the people.

The two days started with a healthy breakfast and a quick welcoming of the audience. This was followed by potential speakers proposing their ideas. Voting was followed next and the schedule for the respective days was released.

As a speaker, I feel this is an interesting concept to validate your talk proposal. The joy of getting votes and getting a chance to speak is cosmic. My talk did make it to stage on day #1. My slides can be found here. The talk was on Natural User Interfaces using JavaScript. I had a chance to validate my idea before going live at JSConfBP, Budapest.

My session was at 14:30 on day #1. With 3 parallel sessions at a given time, I had a decent audience count listening to me. The demos which I had prepared, showed up very well and all the hard work paid off.

Being a foodie, it would be unfair from my part if I don’t post some FOOOOOOOOOD pictures 😉

JSUnconf highlights

  • It was a well-defined and nicely emphasised code of conduct.
  • This is what was there at both the rest-rooms. Promoting diversity at it’s best!jsunconf-all-gender
  • The coffee cups were re-usable.
  • The diversity scholarship of 300€ was awarded to 17 deserving candidates. I was one of them.jsunconf-diversity

From annoying pop-ups to JS on the back-end, the JavaScript community has seen JS in its varied forms. Conferences like these are a great place to network, learn and share knowledge.

My personal favorite talk at JSUnconf was about CSS refactoring by Christoph Reinartz, Trivago (@pistenprinz). Even though it was more about CSS, talks like these come out with a strong message about the need to use design patterns, code refactoring, terms much reserved to back-end and eyes drooling when the front-end community talks about.

It’s 14:15 (day #2) as I am ending this write-up. With 3 more hours to go here at the conference, it was a weekend well-spent. I have proposed a lightning talk too and is due in next 90 minutes. I made some new friends as well!

jsunconf-new-friends

Long live #javascript!

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Posted in Random

LearnItGirl -Failure Lessons

It’s been a relaxing weekend. Berlin and Zalando, both are treating me very well. Every day is like living my dream. Well, ‘so far, so good’…

After a heavy lunch today, I have been going through my to-do list. With no mood to sleep, I thought of writing a blog. Earlier this year, I had made an announcement of being chosen to be a mentor for LearnItGirl. I was very excited about this program. I and my mentee exchanged few emails in the beginning, one Skype call. That’s it. After that we failed to catch up.

My mentee, Iulia Dromereschi is from Romania. She is a freelance translator, conference interpreter, language trainer, collaborator at bookblog.ro, creative writer and is a co-founder of a NGO (she had once told me, what this NGO does, but I have no notes of it and now I have forgotten). I was readily impressed with her interesting profile. She has basic HTML and web design knowledge. She wanted to get started with JavaScript, which is why she chose LearnItGirl as the platform.

Since she uses email for communications very heavily, she wanted to build a tool like MailChimp. She decided to name it MailPump. Below is the abstract of the idea:

We would like to build a mail client (similar to MailChimp) which should help Iulia’s NGO send e-mails to the people they have to be in contact with. The mail client should facilitate sending e-mails to a great number of people, and also edit the e-mail content/layout, embed images, links, short movies, allow people to vote in polls or confirm their presence to events, to subscribe and unsubscribe to the newsletter(s).

I liked this idea and we both decided to work on it. Below is the work plan for 12 weeks which we had agreed on:

  1. HTML
  2. CSS
  3. JavaScript – Getting started
  4. Some more JavaScript
  5. Learning to build a basic website with HTML, CSS and JavaScript
  6. Prototyping MailPump
  7. Coding the layout for MailPump using HTML, CSS and JavaScript
  8. Adding interactions into MailPump
  9. Manage mailing lists
  10. Create email templates
  11. Add audio, video, image into email
  12. Final project wrap up

In one of the projects (Selasdia) which I have worked on earlier, back in Bangalore, I had built an email template engine, similar to MailChimp. I thought this would be a good learning project for Iulia to learn JavaScript.

My mentee was awesome, the project idea was super cool and the interest to learn and teach was at its best. But, I and my mentee have been too busy with our day-to-day work and we failed to show any progress in this program. My sincere apologies to the LearnItGirl team for not completing this project. As any successful person will honestly admit, failure happens, and we’ve all had our fair share of it. But from each failure, we learn our lessons.

To summarise our failure lessons, I have the following notes:

Choose wisely: I was new to Berlin and Zalando, I had too many things to focus on. I think it was a bad decision from my end to volunteer to be a mentor and not complete the task. I have already learned my lesson. I am now more careful in prioritising things and pick up only the ones which are doable.

Persistence: Iulia was travelling most of the time and had poor internet, which is why we couldn’t schedule our initial calls on time. Both of us didn’t give the right amount of attention to this project and it was undone. Had the two of us been persistent, we would have come half way through by now.

Motivation: Motivation is the key to everything. I strongly believe in this simple yet powerful word. Our daily schedule kept us busy from seeing any motivation in this program.

Never forget why you started!

As I conclude this post, I really hope Iulia learns programming and builds her own MailPump.