Huge thank you to all the people that worked to make Elm Conf possible. I had a fantastic time.
Let's find out if I made my goal to remove react from our project entirely and my experience at Elm Conf.
Didn’t make it the Goal
and that’s ok.
We made a ton of progress. I mean a ton
We have a better handle on Routing, parsing, decoding
I feel like even though we didn’t make the goal, we hit the spirit of it pretty much on the head. And that feels awesome. It was a lot of time in Elm, and you know what. It was pretty rad.
So How was the Conf?
it was so much fun. We we talked about it being a pre conf. If you’ve listened to the show even a super tiny bit, you’ve had heard me say that.
There was the ICFP that started the sunday before and went til saturday. A whole week for a conference!!! Holy cow. I’ve been to WWDC before, which was a week, but iOS never really had the social share aspect like the communities I’m in now.
ICFP is a pretty hard core Functional conference, leaning more towards the academic side of things. There are research projects, and presentations of published papers. That sort of thing
PWLCONF - Papers We Love trying to bring industry and academic together
Software with a Mission - creating for social good
DAY OF DATOMIC CLOUD - datomic is transactional db for clojure. 1 day workshop
So. There was a lot going on.
So I fly into St Louis. Find my “Hotel” which is’t actually a hotel, but an apartment building close to the Arch. And I know what you’re thinking, airbnb, but it wasn’t exactly that, but close.
When for a run down by the river, which felt pretty good. Showered and then headed to…the public library ?
A couple people the elm channel where at “Urban Cafe”, which I found out when I got there, was in the Public Library. lol. So I met Chris and Julian, who where more or less from Tucson. Not to far from me. We talked, hung out, they are working for U of A working in Elm day to day, which made me super Jelly.
We headed over to a place called “Small Batch” with Jeremy Fairbank, which turned out to be vegetarian and vegan whiskey bar ?!?! Now this is a twist for me, I like to have bacon with every meal if I can. But I’m game. All and all about 8 showed up to dinner. And it was fantastic. The food was great, the company and conversation was interesting. James Carlson joined us, he spoke at Elm Europe doing a lot of in Latex the markup language.
and the conference hasn’t even started !!!!
I got up early. Talks started at 9, badge pickup opened at 8. So I headed out. Now staying closer to the Arch, I was not up the street from the venue. I’d say a 20 minute walk. Set out early to find some breakfast and coffee before picking up my badge.
Loaded up on stickers, and purposefully left my backpack and laptop in the room. Was I really going to need them ? or was I just going to pack it around all day?
Found this awesome coffee shop called Kaldis Coffee, cold brew and breakfast hash.
I get over there, get my badge, and wonder upstairs. By the end of the day, sitting and listening to talks, I would have something like 15,000 steps and 20 flights of stairs logged in activity tracker!?!
Now this is in the Stifel Theatre,
The Opera House features six to seven venues, including an ornate main theatre with approximately 3,500 seats and a two-story front lobby (constructed entirely of Tennessee and Ste. Genevieve marble), four small side theaters or halls (with a capacity of up to 700 seats each), an exposition hall, basement restaurant/bar space, offices,
Finally it’s show time. Evan was not speaking at Elm Conf, he gave a talk at Strange Loop, THE HARD PARTS OF OPEN SOURCE, but he was master of ceremonies this year. Richard Feldman started with Modeling Relational Data.
Grant Maki from Ford Motor Company Grant’s Talk: Facilitating Technology Change Through Cultural Change, and this gave me hope that it’s possible to introduce Elm to large enterprise and be successful. and not just Elm, but trying things as a team in a large company and that there was benefit in both succeeding together AND failing together.
Ravi Chugh “Structured Editing of Elm in Elm” showed of sketch in sketch, a sort of super intellisense text editor in the browser written in Elm, with a preview panel, very cool.
Anthony Deschamps’ talk Programing robots in Elm was one of my favorite. Using the LEGO Mindstorm set he used Elm to have the robot follow the track on the floor, stop, remove obstacles from it’s path by grabbing them and carrying them away, then returning to the track and continuing on.
He related a robots Perception, process, and action to Elm’s model, update, and view architecture. It was a great mapping of what the steps are required for the robot and how each related to part of Elm.
The whole time this little robot is going around and around on the track in front of him. So good.
Elm has this platform.program that is an elm app without a view, which you don’t need for a robot.
I had an opportunity to talk with Anthony after all the talks on the way to the food trucks, and wanted to give you a shout out for the kind words about the show, I really appreciated it. It made my day.
Matthew Griffin “Building a Toolkit for Design” he dived into the problems with css layout and tackling them with elm-ui. Using Styled Elements. As a lot of you know. I struggle with css, which i can’t decide, if I struggle bc I don’t like it, or I don’t like it a whole lot bc I struggle.
Using things like import Element exposing (Element, el, text, row, alignRight, fill, width, rgb255, spacing, centerY, padding) that make logical sense instead of float right. right of what?
Dillion Kearns “Types without borders”. This was a good talk. Dillion went into the unsafe parts of our application outside of Elm, like http calls, or JS from ports.
Where we could leverage something like GraphQL or TypeScript to get more type safety and reliable contracts about our data from the top down in our application, not just in Elm, but everywhere.
Played around with GraphQL,
Very interested in Typescript
Sam Rowe “Complex Animations done well” keeping the animation code out of the business logic is a bit harder in Elm. Sam used the animation of adding to a list, and removing from a list to show a concrete example of something that we all use every day, and how to make it better.
I appreciated the straight forward example that i’m sure everyone in the room has used a list add/remove. Man, we’ve been living that with meow notes for many, many months. and i thought, oh that would be nice in meow notes, …when we get finished.
Alley Kelly McKnight “Naming things in Elm” This is something that I’ve really struggled with. I will often use the first name that pops into my head. Only by talking about it out loud or in a larger context does a suitable name come up. Alley gets into the number of things we can keep in our short term memory with some great tips and design patterns for making way more readable and understandable code. Everyone needs to watch this talk. I need to watch it 2 or 3 times
Tereza Sokol “Demystifying Parsers” I was super excited for this talk. And I was not disappointed. Tereza has worked on Elm Visualization Libs, and published her YAML parser just before her talk. I asked her earlier during one of the breaks, I saw her working on her computer, “last minute slide updates?” she was publishing her super cool parser.
fixing her own need
Elm Parser char by char.
I followed it a bit, thanks in all part to Building an interpreter in Go
End of the talks, off to the food trucks,
Meet some great people, Horald from Norway and a couple of ICFP attendees, that we at Oxford and Yale working on their graduate studies. and it was similar to dinner the night before. People with similar interests to mine sharing their current work, past struggles, interests, and things they are excited to try.
The talks were fantastic, but the value that I really get out of a conference is the people.