Leveling Up for JSConf and NodeConf

Both JSConf and NodeConf are taking place in Portland during the first week of May, a mere six weeks away. Having been to both previous JSConf US conferences, I have a good idea of what to expect: bleeding edge web technology presented by programmer pioneers. I’ve been to an uncountable number of developer conferences in the past four years, and I’ve picked up a lot of good stuff along the way. But JSConf has been the only one that really expanded my horizons.

Confession: I usually leave JSConf overwhelmed. There’s too much new material for me to absorb effectively. This year, throw NodeConf into the mix, and I fear even more goodness will just go over my head. As a Ruby on Rails developer, I don’t do enough day-to-day JavaScript to call myself an expert. I want to change that between today and May 1.

I’ll be going on a self-imposed JavaScript training regimen these next six weeks. I’ll mix in some comprehensive exercise, some good nutrition, and hopefully when game day approaches, Coach will tell me I’m ready. Here’s the plan:

  • Build a useful web app using Brunch on the frontend and Express on the backend. This exposes me to Node, CoffeeScript, and many more important JavaScript libraries.
  • Figure out how to use Socket.IO to keep it real(time).
  • Explore frontend libraries Knockout and SproutCore.
  • Truly understand what Brendan Eich talks about in his A Minute with Brendan podcast.
  • Catch up on other podcasts like JSConf Live and yayQuery.
  • Pour myself a glass of wine and watch Paul Irish’s two videos on the jQuery source code.

What have I missed? How do you plan to level up in preparation for JSConf and NodeConf?

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