Quick report from SOTR2014

A quick report from SOTR2014:

A massive thanks to Fuzzy Orange for putting on a fantastic conference; the food, organisation, timings, coffee etc were perfect. Special hats off to Andy Allan for taking quite so much general abuse over the last two days.

Some great talks from Matt Gifford (on Grunt & Gulp), Kitt Hodsdsen (automation in front-end development), David Boyer (NodeJS), Rob Dudley (Bower, Grunt, Yeoman), Mark Drew (Deploying to the Cloud), Anna Shipman (Automating government), Simon Wood (Static Site generation).

There was a noticeable move towards ‘tools’ as opposed to just programming. Automation in the front end is basically essential (or at least, that’s how I’m feeling immediately post conference). As I was already using Grunt, Bower & Yeoman, there was a fair bit of repetition, but each speaker had their own techniques, explanations and way of doing things which was enlightening. Kitt’s automation talk covered a vast number of tools (something like 350+ slides in under 2 hours), so that’s a whole area I need to go and revisit – live reload etc, ‘live’ style guides – some useful bits.

I still must confess, that even with the enthusiastic words of David Boyer, I don’t have a use-case scenario for using node.js in my head yet – on a dev server, sure, essential – but haven’t got a project where it would work on a production server yet. One to keep in mind though.

As always, Mark Drew shows he’s much cleverer than the rest of us, with demonstrating rapid AWS & Cloudbees deployments – I really must checkout Cloudbees. “cloudbees deploy” may just be my new favourite command line command.

Simon Wood spoke passionately about static site generation – Jekyll/Markdown etc – I use this to a degree already, but it’s prompted me to revisit how I do it, and look for improvements. It’s not going to replace 90% of my sites though. Sorry Simon.

The real plus of the conference was meeting a tonne of interesting people, many I’ve had on twitter for ages, but never met IRL. Being able to talk about pretty complex technical things with others who have the same (or greater!) enthusiasm is refreshing. And hearing about how some people are using the existing tech out there in terrifyingly clever and large setups is pretty inspiring sometimes.

Great stuff!