New Adventures 2019 - Jeremy Keith on Building

Published on

Jeremy Keith is one of those people who I could listen to on repeat and learn something new every time. So I was expecting a great start to the conference and boy did he deliver.

Weaving a story full of metaphors, Jeremy spoke about pace layers and how JavaScript is like fashion – it moves fast on purpose, to try everything and see what sticks – in a seemingly successful attempt to let everyone know that we are all feeling overwhelmed and that if you think about it differently it can be less overwhelming.

Of course that is just one takeaway of his talk, maybe I will watch it back when the video comes out and see what else I learn. For now, here are some notes that attempt to capture a glimpse of what the talk included.

  • Jeremy started off by musing on how fascinating it is that when you move your mouth the vibrations come out as sound. He likened it to teleportation, saying something in one place and hearing it somewhere else.
  • He went on to say “Someone who died years ago can put an idea into your head” which is such a good point. He likened that to time travel, language as teleportation and writing as time travel. A nice metaphor.
  • “Classic is a book every one has heard of but no one has read” Regarding A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander
  • Recommended reading Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson
  • “There’s a reason why the microwave oven wasn’t invented in medieval France”
  • “Fashion is meant to move quickly, to try things out” - Jeremy talking about layers of society as slow vs fast pace layers
  • JavaScript is supposed to move fast and try things. Stuff sticks and moves down. ie required from js down to html
  • “JavaScript is meant to feel overwhelming, it is where we try stuff and see what sticks”
  • I really liked that point, every one of us feels the web and especially the JavaScript ecosystem moves so quickly. But if you think of it as doing that on purpose, and things eventually make their way down the pace layers (like querySelector inspired by jQuery) it may be easier to cope with.
  • Interesting point about developers thinking of JS as able to do everything because in other software development things either work or they don't. For example an iOS app is made knowing it won’t work on android so works great or not at all. That’s not following the grain of the web, the web has layers of fragility which is one of its best strengths. If one breaks, it still works.
  • “All tools are productivity tools, that’s literally what tools are for... to improve your productivity”
  • Murphy’s law came from aerospace engines
  • Iron ring for engineers to remember humility and responsibility. Myth that the metal came from a bridge that fell down and killed 70+ people because the architect refused to let anyone else check the numbers.
  • “Create something new link by link”

Feel free to read the rest of my notes from New Adventures.