Insights / 27 June 2023

After a long stretch without summer and an incredibly busy work year, it’s always refreshing to unwind in good company. Well, how about the company of 1500 bright-minded developers from all over the globe? That’s the unique experience that JSNation and React Summit deliver.

Amsterdam uncovered

Our adventure kicks off in the heart of Amsterdam, right at the bustling central station. Along the main streets, a spectacular sight unfolds – hundreds, if not thousands, of cyclists buzzing around, with just a handful of cars. This city is definitely ruled by the two-wheelers. Keep your eyes peeled though – they are not big fans of clumsy tourists blocking their way.

Take a quick detour into a side street and a different vibe awaits. Charming little shops with eye-catching window displays are really captivating. Their allure is hard to resist and can easily make you lose track of your plans. Before you know it, you are spending hours exploring every nook and cranny of the rickety, yet still-standing, canal houses, each boasting beautiful exteriors and fantastic details.

Just when you think you've seen it all, you stumble upon a cozy terrace. Suddenly, you find yourself right in the heart of Amsterdam's vibrant dining scene, savoring delicious crepes and sipping a refreshing radler. But dining here isn't just about the food, it's the whole experience. With such a diverse array of cuisines, it's like a flavor tour around the world that really leaves a lasting impression.

Amsterdam, a culinary paradise

On to the Conference

The conference took place in the Noord city district, a captivating blend of modern and classic architecture, with vast industrial complexes defining the skyline. Noord is like its own separate world, divided from the rest of Amsterdam by the imposing Amstel River. Fun fact: Amsterdam owes its name to this very river.

Once inside the venue, it became developers' central. There was something for everyone: a spread of mouth-watering snacks and drinks, comfy lounge areas perfect for networking, a fun photo booth, and stands representing sponsors from both big names like Storyblok and Vercel to ambitious startups. And the best part? Watching highly-paid professionals eagerly lining up for a free T-shirt. I have to confess, I couldn't resist and grabbed six of them for myself!

For me, this conference wasn’t just about that – it was a golden opportunity to connect with many talented individuals, engaging in inspiring conversations that went beyond mere bytes and code. There is something truly special about having these talks face-to-face, an energy that can’t be replicated in online meetings. It was a chance to immerse myself in the tech community, to share ideas and experiences, and to see firsthand the incredible creativity and innovation that's driving our industry forward.

Talks Highlights

The two-day program was jam-packed with industry pros presenting a smörgåsbord of tech topics on two stages. The rich variety of subjects on display sometimes made it tough to decide which panel to attend. A few times, the hype was so high that all attendees couldn’t fit in the room, forcing some to poke their heads in through the doors.

Hot topics this year? Optimization, performance, accessibility, and anything that could make our development lives easier. We had Jecelyn Yeen showing us how to become debugging ninjas with Chrome DevTools, and Miško Hevery talking about the concept of resumability to make apps instantly interactive. And let's not forget Lee Robinson from Vercel who gave us a thorough rundown of the Next.js App Router feature.

There were plenty of nerdy deep-dives as well. Take, for instance, Charlotte Isambert's game-changing talk on using React Hooks conditionally – yes, you heard that right! And Ivan Akulov's deep dive into non-urgent updates in React 18. Personally, I would love to give a shout out to Christoph Nakazawa who built a retro turn-based strategy game entirely in React, with graphics done in CSS – absolutely fantastic!

In summary, this was THE experience worth reliving! I'm eagerly looking forward to returning next year!

/Sergey Smirnov, Developer