iJS London 2019 - a developers’ tale

May 21, 2019 Tom Dirix

It was my first professional conference.  And honestly, I didn’t know what to expect. I went in thinking I’d get bombarded with technical explanations left and right. But nothing could have been further from the truth. The organisers of the conference clearly wanted to focus on the social aspect of our profession.

So I found myself surrounded with best of the industry: from developers to teachers and search engine optimisers. They all came to talk about their hands-on experiences and interesting stuff they found out during their careers. Absolutely fascinating to say the least!

international javascript conference opening

Day one started off very strong. During the opening keynote the host and four speakers had a discussion about the state of the Javascript ecosystem. Where JS used to be the little brother of development languages, nowadays it’s playing with the big boys (and girls). There’s just so much this versatile language can do. It used to be able to just animate an element on your website here and there. It still does that, but it can also do so much more: communicate with your database, run on devices, … In fact, I bet at least one person in your family has a washing machine or coffee maker that runs on Javascript.

But the question arises… Are we overdoing it? Are we using Javascript for too many applications? Shouldn’t we use a different language? That’s what the discussion tried to clarify. Conclusion? Javascript takes the best of all worlds and makes it accessible for us front-end developers… and we love it!


“I live in Nigeria, we very often still work with 2G internet. If your applications work here, they’ll work anywhere.” ~ Christian Nwamba, iJS London 2019


The afternoon keynote was about future ethics. Cennydd Bowles explained how technology was never neutral. How it’s social and political aspects always have moral consequences. And why morality will only gain importance with the rise of camera surveillance, algorithms and the general automatisation of our daily lives.

He really made me think about how we can create more thoughtful and ethical products for future generations.

The second day started off again with a strong keynote. Bruce Lawson, who worked on “Introducing HTML5” explained about good HTML code. One of his topics even was “Write HTML, not Javascript” (On a JS conference, that’s pretty funny). This seems elementary but in a sector that is ever-changing, best practices change all of the time. Often we forget that the majority of us are able to browse the Internet without limitations.

But what about colorblind people? Or people who are not able to use a keyboard? How do we provide access to the blind? It is our job to facilitate the use of our websites, landing pages and webapps for everyone. Not just for ourselves.

international javascript conferenceThese keynotes weren’t the only things going on during the conference of course. I spoke to a bunch of cool people and attended several really interesting sessions. A couple of technical heavy ones, I'll spare you the details (for now), and a couple about the psychology behind the actions we take in the field.

I could ramble on about these sessions for hours on end but I believe that’s best left for another time.

Long story short: iJS was the first real conference of my career, it was amazing, I gained a lot of new insights and it certainly won’t be my last one!

Tom out.

All imagery used in this post is from iJS's Twitter account

About the Author

Tom Dirix

Tom is a passionated front-ender who's always ever so curiously following the latest trends in search for improvement. His specialty lies in designing and developing user-friendly landing page and e-mail templates for MAP's like Marketo, Eloqua and Pardot.

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