Last wednesday marked the start of a new series of meetups for front end developers in and around Vienna. Together with Nik Graf (StarterSquad) and Wolfgang Leitner (Zensations), I organized the first React meetup in Vienna and, as far as I know, Austria in general!
This was the first meetup I organized myself. Looking back now, I wish I’d attempted this earlier. I can only recommend it to anyone who has anything interesting to share. It’s really as easy as finding a good location (co-working spaces are always a good choice), a sponsor who is willing to throw in some cash for drinks and snacks and two or three speakers. That’s it. Altogether I didn’t spend more than one afternoon worth of my time for all of this including promoting the event on social media and setting up and managing the event page on meetup.com. It was definitely worth it.
The reception was incredible. Within a few days we hit the self-imposed minimal number of attendees and after only 4 weeks we reached 95 group members, 57 of which signed up to our first meetup. Due to the absurdly hot weather we expected only half of the signups to actually show up. In the end, we were pleasantly surprised to find an estimated 40+ attendees at the venue.
Within the first 2 weeks I received sponsoring offers from two different parties. At that point, I hadn’t even thought about a fair model for splitting and distributing sponsoring opportunities. What could we possibly need apart from a few drinks and snacks? Eventually I chose to go with “first-come, first-serve”:
Huge thanks to …
- Zensations for providing us with a budget for cold beverages and snacks.
- Sektor5 for hosting the event and upping the budget for drinks by an additional 100 euro.
Finding speakers proved to be the hardest part. I’d guess that this was partly due to the fact that this was our first meetup. During the meetup, I used a few opportunities to invite other people to speak at our next event. I am also going to directly contact potential speakers instead of simply tweeting in despair.
In the end, we had two speakers: Nik Graf and myself.
Before we started with the talks, I quickly introduced myself and our sponsors and briefly talked about my plans for future events including one of the more important aspects or rather my general goal for this meetup group: While React is definitely going to play a huge role for future meetups as well I’d like to widen the focus of this group towards the greater frontend development or, more specifically, the user interface engineering community. I’d like to host talks on various related topics including but not limited to e.g. Bundling (Webpack / Browserify), Transpiling (Babel), Static Typing (Flow / TypeScript), Unit Testing, Universal JS as well as other libraries and frameworks like Cycle, RxJS or Elm.
Originally, I proposed a talk about using React with RxJS. However, due to the fact that this was the first React meetup, I thought it would be a good idea to instead talk about React in general and give a broad introduction to React and some of its internals instead. In retrospect, I think that this was a good and fair choice. Especially because we had quite a few React newcomers on board.
Nik then talked about ECMAScript 6 and 7 and how to use it together with React. During and after his talk, we had a lot of interesting discussions about some of the new features including arrow functions, destructuring, etc. including some euroka moments for everyone involved. Thanks Nik!
After another break and a few beers some people, despite the relentless heat, still didn’t have enough so I decided to do an additional stand-up talk about Redux, its underlying principles and why it is superior to traditional Flux. During the talk, I showed some live code examples and the recently released Redux DevTools.
I’d like to thank our speakers and co-organizers Nik Graf and Wolfgang Leitner as well as Zensations and Sektor5 for providing us with free drinks and snacks and a place to host this event.
Finally, I’d like to share a few links that Nik and me talked about during our presentations and in the discussions afterwards:
- List of React (and related topics) MVPs to follow on Twitter This is where I draw my inspiration from on a nearly daily basis. The list does not include the always amazing Dan Abramov (who is the humble author of the list). Definitely also follow him!
- Opinioated React Library Boilerplate Note: This is actually a boilerplate for creating libraries but also works nicely as a playground and greenhouse for creating nicely decoupled components for your apps.
- I’ve created a similar boilerplate a while ago (offline)