Well, I’ve just completed my first external conference, Rich Web Experience, and had a great time. I’m a bit exhausted from all the activity the past few days, but I’m very glad that I went and participated.

One of the cool things about this conference is that we got evaluations from the session attendees. I was a bit bummed to see that a fair amount of people seemed to think my Maintainable JavaScript presentation was “just okay”. I think maybe the audience was a different than the ones I’ve given it to at Yahoo! Don’t get me wrong, there were a fair amount of people who really liked it, but overall I think I came out about average on that one.

My second talk, Enterprise JavaScript Error Handling, seemed to please everyone. Most of the reviews I got were overwhelmingly positive, which surprised me because it was at 8:30 in the morning and I was acting a bit goofy. Maybe the goofiness added to it, but it was a really great session for me. The attendees were interested, asked lots of questions, and we joked around a fair amount as well.

Perhaps the best moment of the weekend occurred right after that session when a few of the guys caught me and said that they felt Yahoo! was very well represented at the conference. They said that their perception of Yahoo! was that of a lagger, constantly trying to catch up with what Google was doing, but that that perception had been completely changed after this conference due to the sessions that were presented by myself and my fellow Yahoos. I’m not sure there’s anything that anyone else could have said to top that (well, perhaps, ” will you marry my very hot, super rich daughter?”).

I’m sure you’re all wondering how my scavenger hunt went, so here’s the answer:

  • Douglas Crockford – maybe this is cheating a bit, but I’m standing behind Crockford.
  • Jesse James Garrett – the father of Ajax and I.
  • Alex Russell – the creator of Dojo and I.
  • Joe Walker – Mr. DWR and I.
  • Molly Holzschlag – due to some unfortunate events, Molly never made it to the conference.
  • Nick Eddy – really cool guy, but prefers to be called “Nick”.
  • Sean Kane – I had to let Steve in there. He’s important, too.

So I’m pretty proud of myself for sucking it up and sometimes making a fool of myself to get all of these photos.

One of the attendees asked me if I learned anything at this conference since I already knew so much. The answer: a resounding yes! I feel like I’m a better engineer for having attended the sessions that I sat in on, especially the ones by Greg Wilkins and Aza Raskin. I left this conference with a bunch of new ideas, some great memories, and a few more friends.

It was a real pleasure to get to have extended conversations with Aaron Gustafson, Douglas Crockford, Alex Russell, and Stuart Halloway (voted best speaker by the attendees, and well deserved!). I feel like I’m smarter just from interacting with these people and I can’t wait until another conference comes around to see what else I can learn.

Disclaimer: Any viewpoints and opinions expressed in this article are those of Nicholas C. Zakas and do not, in any way, reflect those of my employer, my colleagues, Wrox Publishing, O'Reilly Publishing, or anyone else. I speak only for myself, not for them.

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