Scenic City Summit 2017

At the end of June I attended the second annual Scenic City Summit in Chattanooga, TN with some friends. This year the conference grew significantly in size and attendance and moved to the Chattanooga Convention Center from the UTC campus.

This year’s keynote was (like last year) presented by Cory House. The topic was “The Reusable JavaScript Revolution” and covered three different revolutions: npm packages, starter kits, and components. He pointed out the value of starter kits in simplifying the setup of JavaScript projects. Development is also moving toward component oriented architectures with frameworks like ReactJS and the new web components standard.

The future is here, its just not evenly distributed. - Cory House

Emily Estes talked about reimplementing a 1980s text adventure game in a variety of programming languages ranging from common languages like Java and Python to Ada. There was even a version written entirely in SQL.

Jeremy Fairbank presented a different way of building web front-ends with Elm. Elm is a functional programming language that transpiles to JavaScript and is designed for building web applications. It provides one framework for implementing the Model-View-Update pattern. The language has strong static types and no runtime exceptions in practice.

Another talk from Cory House promised to teach us React before lunch. This framework has become very popular recently. Facebook recomments using the create-react-app utility for starting new React projects. The tool handles configuration of the required build chain.

Following lunch I learned about using Rx Java with Android in a talk by Andrew May. Rx Java is a framework for reactive programming in Java. The framework consists of defining Observables that emit items and Observers that react when data is emitted. The talk focused on uses with Android, but the same concepts could be applied to any Java application.

Cameron Presley talked about how to have code reviews developers actually want. He talked about the key things to look at when reviewing code: quality, readability, maintainability, and style. He also pointed out the value of the “30% review” earlier in the development process to catch problems earlier.

Jeremy Fairbank had another talk about getting started with redux. Redux is a predictable state container for JavaScript that is commonly used with React. The framework stores the application state and manages its updating via actions.

This year’s closing keynote was by David Neal and was a guide for the reluctant leader. David’s talks are always both entertaining and informative. This time he had plenty of stories about his journey to being a leader and gave lots of advice for time managers from the perspective of an introvert.

Life is too short to let things stay the way they are. - David Neal

The conference has definitely grown a lot from its first year and was a lot of fun. I look forward to seeing how things continue to grow in the future.