JavaScript talk at PodCamp Halifax 2011

I had the opportunity to speak at PodCamp Halifax 2011 this past Sunday January 23 on the topic “JavaScript & jQuery – What it is, How to use it, and Why it’s the future of the web”. Given the predominantly social media audience of the conference, I kept the talk fairly low-tech, breaking the talk into 3 parts:

  • A history of JavaScript and jQuery
    • Where JavaScript started.
    • Why we hated it (popups! popunders! marquees! dropdown navigation that didn’t work!)
    • Why developers looked down their noses at JS for years.
    • The introduction of Ajax and how it changed the web world, being the technological start of Web 2.0, as well as making the Internet a whole lot faster.
    • JavaScript frameworks, and why jQuery rose to the top to back over 41% of the top 10,000 web sites.
  • A demo of jQuery — I had created a simple blog-like page and then used jQuery to manipulate DOM elements and add events various elements, including a form.
  • A discussion of why I believe JavaScript is the future of the web — This is the subject of a future blog post, but a few of my bullet points are:
    • JavaScript is amazingly fast and it’s only getting faster.
    • JS is available on almost every modern Internet-connected device, and usually with a pretty respectable interpreter.
    • With recent improvements in browsers, the age of the fat client distributed over the Internet is finally here.
    • Fat client JS in the browser allows for a really light-weight server, meaning we have a new paradigm of scalability available to us.

The audience for my talk ended up being about 80% techies and 20% noobs, so I could have probably stepped up the technical complexity a bit to hit the majority a little better. Still the talk was well received and I had the opportunity to meet a number of Halifax-based developers I hadn’t met before. The conference photographer managed to snap a photo of me while I gave the talk.

Update: Glen Canning from wrote a really nice review of my talk.

That completed the first session. A quick iPad draw, didn’t win, and on to the next session. This one was titled JavaScript & jQuery – What it is, How to use it, and Why it’s the future of the web and it was presented by Paul Doerwald. Paul is is Chancellor of Liquid Media, a boutique web software development shop located in downtown Halifax, Nova Scotia. He and his team develop cutting-edge web applications, built primarily using Ruby and Ruby on Rails framework. I don’t even know what that means. Anyway, I took this session because I want to add more jQuery features to Everyone there seemed to have some web development skills. For me that means Flash, html, php, perl, and a little javascript. For other it meant a great deal more but Paul spoke in a way that allowed his information to be on level with most of us. Thankfully! So JavaScript is getting huge geek love. All the cool apps are java apps – like Twitter and jQuery is the Standard Library for the web (@wycats). Paul spoke about Java history, problems, and solutions and explained why jQuery the winner? He even gave samples and coded for us. Loved this presentation and got out of it what I had hoped which was more information on the uses of jQuery.