Insights From An Online Conference: React Summit 2021 Recap

・9 min read
Insights From An Online Conference: React Summit 2021 Recap

As an engaged team of developers at Selleo, we are focused on constantly learning and brushing up our expertise. That is why our juniors are on a higher level than your standard junior on the market. We provide them with a step-by-step detailed path with online mentoring before employment and 3 months of focusing on application building.

We also strongly encourage everybody in our community to participate in conferences, where we can learn from the best of the best in a given technology. Even in those more challenging times when it comes to attending events, we made sure to still remain active conference-goers, so React Summit 2021, could not be any different.

About the event

The React Summit 2021 took place on April 14th through 16th. The first two days consisted of two presentation tracks with dedicated chat rooms with various speakers and thematic chat rooms with special guests. There were also Discord chat rooms and afterparty activities including interactive games. A very nice thing was the usage of spatial.chat so people could watch the presentations together even though we all were participating remotely.

The very last day only had one presentation track without any breaks, which was kind of a pity as more discussions with speakers and networking would be nice.

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This is our team during the event. Me and Marcin “sitting” on the left in the first row, and Daniel right behind us in the second row all on spatial.chat during Michael Jackson's presentation about Remix.

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Me and Marcin on a spatial.chat with Kent C. Dodds

The review of React Summit by Selleo developers

In this post, I wanted to share not only my experience with the virtual event, but also my colleagues, so I decided to divide this section among all of us, giving each a chance to share individual insights.

Daniel, Front-end developer

In my opinion, overall, the remote conference was very well executed. I loved the spatial.chat although it was pretty silent. I also think there should be a discussion going on about the talk, but hopefully, it will all mature with time.

When it comes to the workshops, the most impactful for me were definitely the ones showcasing Blitz.js and Richard Moss workshop “Incrementally Adopt Modern React Patterns in a Legacy Codebase”. I learned some things I didn’t know before and was able to code a bit alongside the hosts, really cool!

Unfortunately, I did not participate in any afterparty/additional activities but it was not because they were not interesting, it was mostly because I was tired after the conference and needed to rest and reset.

Gosia, React front-end developer

I really missed the ‘conference feeling’ when you feel united with other developers in the remote setting. I would much prefer to be there in person. However, the remote edition had some advantages. I could stay at home, work almost normally and yet gain a lot of knowledge just sitting on my couch. I did feel like it was a bit more about showing each company’s product than sharing advanced skills, but it was still nice to learn about these tools.

Speaking about workshops and presentations I got a lot of knowledge about libraries and tools that would be useful in the future. I learned some tricks with hooks as well as got a better understanding of CDNs. I learned quite a bit about accessibility. The “SVGs to Make Your Blog Stand Out” was super fun and I also really liked the workshop about Blitz.js. If I ever get the opportunity to create a full-stack app I will give it a try. The presentation about React Query inspired me to replace some legacy code - hope that I will have some time for refactoring!

I did not participate in any additional activities as it was rather hard to do my work and stick to my training between tasks and workshops/presentations. I found myself mentally exhausted and wasn’t able to watch everything in time.

Marcin, Junior front-end developer

This was my first time ever attending a remote conference. I was excited about the workshops and the speakers, but in the end, got disappointed. I feel like the workshops did not fully represent the advanced level.

However, the workshops with Blitz.js turned out to be the most impactful. I found out some new things there and I really want to use them in future projects.

As far as the after-party activities go, I participated in a few conversations in the rooms with hosts and played the game "Codenames" where Kent C. Dodds was the most popular person.

Kamil, Front-end developer

Personally, I only participated in the “Advanced, Fancy TypeScript” workshop by Michel Weststrate and I rate them 4.5/10. In my opinion, there were too many basics for an ‘advanced-level’ workshop. It was more like a presentation than a workshop. The overall time of the exercises part was no longer than 30 minutes, so it was more ‘from basic to advanced in 8 hrs' workshop. I felt like I was wasting my time.

Taking into consideration the overall price and the quality of the workshop, I would rate it 2/10. Although I learned something, I think if I were to spend 8 hours on advanced TypeScript on YouTube I would have learned more.

Bernadetta, Junior front-end developer

This React Summit was my second conference ever. The first one I attended was a Next.js conference. I enjoyed React Summit, much more than the previous one. Thanks to using chats and polls it was more engaging. These tools also allowed me to feel that there were really other people watching.

The most impactful for me were the presentations on testing. I never had a chance to work on a project where tests were set up correctly and there were always a lot of pain points. So having these presentations show real components of how the tests should be composed and what to test was really helpful. I already applied some of this knowledge to my current project and it's working great!

I didn’t participate in any additional activities because usually, the conference ended late in the evening and after a whole day of work + a few hours of watching presentations, I was just too exhausted.

Arek, React front-end developer

At last, let me share my personal experience with the event. At first, I was unsure if a remote conference would be any good, but soon enough, I changed my mind. The staff and other participants were very accommodating and friendly. Thanks to the amazing atmosphere I quickly started participating in discussions. But what would a conference be without good presentations?

The first one was “‎Internationalizing React” by Daria Caraway which I immediately found useful since at that time I was implementing i18n on my commercial project. Insights from Daria’s talk and the later discussions helped me avoid making some mistakes during the development process.

Another great one was “‎Stories and Strategies from Converting to TypeScript” by Josh Goldberg. Together with my team, we would like to migrate our existing project to TypeScript, so battle-tested techniques will help us make this process as smooth as possible.

I was blown away by the workshops “Hybrid Cloud Development with Next.js, AWS, and Tailwind” by Nader Dabit. He showed there the power of AWS services to quickly set up production-ready applications which will be super useful whenever I or my team would like to create some new internal applications.

I could go on and on, as there were many more enlightening presentations. But I think these were my favourites.

From the non-presentational experiences I enjoyed the most, was talking with the speakers in dedicated chat rooms as I was able to ask about things missing in the presentations, or about different parts of their expertise. Especially the chats with Kent C.Dodds and Shawn Swyx Wang. It was also easier to discuss with the presenters as you could just post the question in the chat and wait for your turn. This was especially helpful for introverted people who, in other circumstances, would not ask the question in person. Also, the virtual chat rooms could fit tens of people around the main speaker without an uncomfortable squeeze.

I was impressed with the staff helping people who for some reason did not have access or had other problems.

Summary

The React Summit 2021 was the first conference I participated in remotely. I was curious how it all will be organized, especially the networking part.
Now I can say it was done surprisingly well - there was no need to run between two presentation tracks, as they were only a click away.

Other Selleo developers, in general, said the same thing - the summit was very well executed, despite the unfortunate circumstances. The Blitz.js workshop was definitely the most popular among them, which makes me really happy. I really hope they learned something new that will be useful in our future projects.
However, I have to agree that it was almost impossible to participate in additional activities after a full day of sitting in front of the computer. This is the one thing that cannot be replicated in a remote environment.

All in all, I can say the conference was rather successful and I’m excited about the next edition of React Summit. I hope next year we will be able to attend in person, but at the same time, it would be nice to still have the remote option as it allows people from all around the world to attend without hours of travelling.

If you stumbled across this post and are currently looking for a React development team, contact us to schedule a call. We will gladly discuss your idea and come up with a suitable proposal. Also check out our portfolio to find out what we can do for you.

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