The inaugural ReactJS Tampa Bay meetup

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Photo by Ryan Connolly. Click the photo to see the source.

The inaugural ReactJS Tampa Bay Meetup took place yesterday at 352 Inc to a pretty full and very enthusiastic room. Kudos to organizers/hosts Josh Burgess, Ryan Connolly, John Hampton, and Eric Nograles for putting it together! I’m looking forward to attending — and likely speaking at — future ReactJS Tampa Bay events.

ReactJS Tampa Bay Meetups are going to alternate between two kinds of gatherings:

  • Presentations, where the format will be one or more speakers giving presentations on all manner of topics involving React, both technical and non-technical (such as business cases, design issues, and so on), and
  • “ReHacked” labs, which will be hands-on workshops for people interested in learning how to develop applications with React.

Last night’s gathering was one of the presentation ones, and the topic was React: A Competitive Edge and a Business Decision. A major issue covered in the talk was why both decision makers and developers both should care about React.

For decision-makers, the reasons that React matters are:

  • React has been proven in production by industry giants (most importantly, Facebook, who built it for their own purposes)
  • Its design doesn’t lock you into it, and it’s easier to pivot from React to other technologies if necessary
  • It was designed with faster feature delivery in mind
  • Thanks to Facebook’s clout and widespread developer approval, it has considerable community momentum and support
  • As the current darling of the development set, authorizing its use means more excited and productive front-end teams

For developers, the reasons are:

  • The mental model you have to adopt is considerably simpler than most JavaScript frameworks, which are feeling increasingly like some labyrinthine, byzantine monstrosity — React is largely projecting data onto UI
  • It uses vanilla JavaScript instead of HTML-based templates (I think this is good, but I know some back-end devs who swear by templates)
  • It’s design to be “fast by default”
  • React’s architecture allows for easier future transitions to whatever comes next
  • Its reliance on world-class developer tools means a great developer experience
  • This is as close as we’ve gotten to being truly cross-platform: it’s “learn once, write anywhere”, which is more truthful and practical than the old promise of “write once, run anywhere”

Here’s the slide deck they showed (it might not render completely correctly at this size; you may want to check it out on a full screen):

The next ReactJS Tampa Bay gathering will take place on Wednesday, June 8th and will be a ReHacked lab covering the basics of ReactJS development called SPA Basics with React. John Hampton and Eric Nograles will be leading the session, which is described as follows:

Want to get started with writing React SPA apps but don’t know where to begin? This session will cover how to get up and going quickly with React. We will cover the basics of a build system using Webpack and Babel, React component basics, a quick tour of react-router, and how to communicate with a backend Web API.

I’m looking forward to it!


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