Things at Mux became complicated this year when we learned that CascadiaJS would be holding their 10-year anniversary conference at the beautiful Sunriver Resort in Oregon. Yes, it was really difficult. We had some super tough decisions to make.
- Which staff members would get to attend?
- Do we have enough time to design a custom water bottle?
- How will we get our entire guestbook setup out to the middle of Oregon?
With 400 water bottles and our video guestbook in tow, four of us journeyed to the resort to spend time with the community and share more about what we’ve been up to at Mux.
As the sun set, our camera, monitor, microphone, and ring light were all rising, powering the Mux video guestbook at the evening social events.
With over 100 submissions from both virtual and IRL attendees, the guestbook was a huge hit.
It provided folks with a way to commemorate their time at the conference and gave us the opportunity to show off some of how Mux works behind the scenes.
Read on for more from the rest of the crew:
Thank goodness for CascadiaJS reminding me that the Web Dev community is so much more than that.
It started with some pretty great talks. Chris Coyier’s infectious enthusiasm reminded me that The Web is Good Now and we have so much to be excited about as a community!
A community that can and should grow, as Brittany Joiner laid out in “Making tech careers accessible for everyone.” And some of the sharpest minds in tech, like Brooklyn Zelenka and Shawn Wang and Mikeal Rogers, are pushing to make sure that the web will continue improving in deep and interesting ways. The present and future of Web Dev are bright.
But CascadiaJS was more than just amazing talks. We sat around breakfast and lunch tables talking shop and learning about what’s cool in Web Dev. We spent time outdoors together on CascadiaJS’s amazing activity track. (Street cycling in Chicago did not prepare me for the Bike to Benham Falls. What our expedition leader described as “gently rolling singletrack'' felt to me like conquering mountains. What an amazing Oregon experience with some amazing folks!)
And at the end of the day, folks gathered around our video guestbook. Cheering and waving. Being together and having fun. All from a li’l NextJS app with some Mux tossed in. And as the evening wound down, s’mores around the campfire.
Sometimes I forget that this is what Web Dev is all about. Good people making neat things on the web.
It felt so good to be back at a real-life in-person conference. I forgot how energizing it is to be around a bunch of developers, talk shop, and hear what people are building.
One phenomenon kept happening to me where I would talk to someone for a good 10 to 15 minutes, think they look vaguely familiar, read their name tag, and not really know if I’ve seen them before…only to realize later that night scrolling through Twitter on my phone that some of the people I was talking to were actually people I’ve followed on Twitter for years.
I am now starting a campaign to make sure everyone at the conference next year wears a shirt with their Twitter profile picture smack dab in the middle of it.
Special shout outs for some of my favorite talks:
- Brian from Enhance (@enhance_dev) gave a talk titled “Enhance your Functional Web Apps with Web Components.” I’m already a sucker for anything about web components (we’re using web components heavily here at Mux with Mux Player and Media Chrome). After seeing the demo, It took me about 10 minutes to set up Mux Player in the Enhance Hello World app.
- Dwane killed it with his talk “Creating a WebXR Tic-Tac-Toe game with Voice Chat on the Code of Giants.” I had never even heard of WebXR — an API for rendering 3D scenes in the browser. This talk felt like a weekend hackathon compressed into 20 minutes, and it ended with Dwane pulling a yellow selfie drone out of his pocket and launching it around the conference room. Truly memorable.
- Joyce showed us how to reverse engineer a private API with TikTok. We were reminded of when developers on Hacker News did this with the Starbucks ordering API and the Papa John’s webapp to get around the client-side validation that disallowed adding extra bacon.
Talking to folks at similar conferences 3 years ago, the big themes I remember were jamstack topics: things like faster builds and incremental static regenerations and finding ways to make static sites more dynamic.
I’ve attended conferences in the past, but this was my first time attending as a corporate representative, and it was interesting to experience things from the "other side." I learned a lot about myself and how I interact with people, both my team and others in the tech field.
I also realized I’m able to contribute to these events in a new way. It's classic imposter syndrome stuff: sticking with being a consumer of content and advice is tempting, but I discovered I'm at the point where I can start sharing some of what I’ve learned with other people.
Finally, I appreciated that some of the talks were deeply technical about new frameworks or languages, and others focused on the social and day-to-day aspects of being in this field.
One of my favorite talks detailed how to expand access to tech careers, a lot of which echoed my experiences — including items that made the transition easier, as well as more difficult. Overall, I appreciated the structure of the talks and other conference activities!
CascadiaJS was the only conference we’d been to that ended with s’mores around the campfire, and we wouldn’t have had it any other way. Maybe we’ll be back for a 2024 visit!