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Bay Area jQuery Conference Recap

We touched down in San Jose last Friday to attend the annual Bay Area jQuery Conference. It was our second year in attendance and we brought myself (Sam), Collin and Nico. Here's the recap:

After settling in on Friday evening, we exchanged some great conversation with our conference-going contemporaries in the hotel lobby, talking shop about what we've all been working on of late. A highlight was the first IRL meeting with many of the guys from Bocoup, a similar sized development and training company out of Boston who had probably the largest representation from any one shop at the conference. After talking late into the night about vim tricks and hacking the localStorage prototype, we slept soundly anticipating the events of the next day.

Day 1 was kicked off with a keynote from John Resig, which outlined the current state of the jQuery project(s) and called out several key milestones to look out for in the future. John was quick to point out the jQuery is rapidly increasing it's release schedule, with the aim of providing a more stable and performant library while maintaining API consistency and backwards comparability.

Other highlights from day 1 were Steve Souders hyper-informative and well researched discussion of Mobile Performance. Interesting to note that Google and Bing both leverage localStorage for caching javascript and css for mobile searches. Todd Parker and Scott Jehl gave a similar state of the union address for jQuery Mobile, along with announcing that the project will ultimately be merged with jQuery UI. Nicholas Zakas (author of a Quick Left favorite High Performance Javascript) spoke to the state of progressive enhancement and how developers should be pushing to abandon non-modern web browsers altogether (we're looking at you IE < 9). Rick Waldron from Bocoup gave a crowd pleasing demo of popcorn.js, which included a monkey riding a dog!

Perhaps the most technical talk of day 1 was Yehuda Katz. We're seriously impressed with Yehuda's involement in the ruby and javascript communities, so it's always a treat to see what he's working on. The problem of building tightly coupled, highly interactive front end experiences using templating, custom events and lock systems really hit home with the Quick Left team, and Yehuda brought his own stlye, opinions and spin to tackle these problems.

Day 1 was capped off with a party sponsored by Media Temple, where we got to talk shop with other conference go-ers, speakers and jQuery team members.

Day 2 included fantastic talks from Julian Aubourg, speaking to the new awesomeness made possible by the re-written AJAX api that came with 1.5. Paul Irish's demo of whats new in the chrome developer tools showed everyone how he gets so much more done than you do. Talks from a semi-cartwheeling Adam Sontag, Boaz Sender and Darcy Clarke were also great content for day 2.

We managed to catch a couple of breakout sessions during all of this too! Ben Alman (the author of over 9000 plugins) talked about, of course, plugin building. The couchbase.com guys gave an interesting talk about integrating clientside js with their couchdb platform. And last of all, I presented a breakout on Advanced Templating with jQuery Mobile.

The measure of any successful conference isn't just the quality of the talks and breakouts, but rather the quality of information exchanged between peers in your domain. On that note, this year's Bay Area jQuery Conference was a stellar success and we're looking forward to the Boston Area Conference this fall!

After a busy weekend in Mountain View we were ready to get back to the home base to keep cranking on projects! Until then we'll be in #jquery on freenode IRC!

Links to all of the slide decks can be found here.

Ben Alman spend most of the weekend taking pictures of the conferece, which can be found here. All photos in this post are Ben's.