June 6, 2022

JSConf Budapest 2022 Impressions

Tejas Kumar
Tejas KumarDirector of Developer Relations

Last week, Xata had the privilege of sponsoring and MC-ing JSConf Budapest. This is a blog post about our impressions from our involvement in this conference.

For the Love

JSConf Budapest is a community, not-for-profit conference that is run by a well-coordinated team of people who appear to deeply love the local JavaScript community and want it to flourish. Everything from the walkie-talkies team members use to communicate with each other, to the tears in their eyes after the conference concluded, demonstrate an intense sense of responsibility and care for the attendees, speakers, sponsors, and all involved.

Because the conference is a community conference with no explicit agenda for profit or marketing a specific product, the attendees were mostly everyday, curious developers like you and me who were generally interested in JavaScript from web use-cases to embedded systems/Internet of Things use-cases to AI and everything in between, and this really showed at our booth.

People vibing at the Xata booth

We had people walk over with genuine interest in a "serverless database where people think data, not databases", and had the privilege of showing them the true power of Xata while answering common questions about how we're not Firebase and what our pricing is.

Also, to no one's surprise, our inclusive all-gender swag–including women's cut shirts, earrings, and temporary tattoos–had people in awe, and others taking notes for their next booth. We're happy to have had this impact on the community and hope to see more earrings and inclusive swag in the future.

All Are Welcome

There were people at the event for whom this was their first time in Europe: people from other countries who were awarded scholarships to attend the conference, including paid travel and accommodation. There were also child prodigies present, like Connie who knows Racket, C, Clojure, JavaScript, Python and others–and is 13 years old. 🤯

Because the conference chooses talks completely anonymously based on the talk's title and description, there is no bias for who is speaking: it's purely about the ideas. After a topic is chosen, then the organizers learn who the speaker is, and make the necessary arrangements with them. With this model, people with great ideas from around the world–irrespective of their credentials or other backgrounds–get a platform.

This is how we got an amazing talk by Lucky from South Africa about 5 Ways to Crash a Drone with JavaScript. This was Lucky's first time out of Africa, his first time in Europe, and all of this was purely based on the content of his talk. We're deeply appreciative of this model of selecting speakers and would love to see more conferences follow suit.

JSConf Budapest makes it abundantly clear that JavaScript is for everyone, regardless of skin color, gender, age, and other variables. This welcoming nature even gave me my first tech talk ever. This is something we especially appreciate about JSConf family events.

JS the Community, not just JS the Language

I was honored to give a Talk at @jsconfbp about History of Art 👨‍🎨, Web Design 🖼 and CSS Development👩‍💻. Thanks a lot for this amazing experience. Organization was just perfect. And I met a lot of awesome people. Will definitely try to come back next year. 🎉🇭🇺

Image from https://twitter.com/supremebeing09/status/1533360616013971459

Some of the talks had absolutely no JavaScript code in them at all. And we found this to be a massive blessing because JavaScript is not just a programming language–it is also a community: a collective of people who–

  • Solve problems with code
  • Often communicate on teams
  • Go through pandemics together
  • Are human beings, with human experiences
  • Sometimes write CSS and HTML
  • Other times fly drones

This conference is clearly about the community over the language, with special talks about mental health, emotional safety, documentation, and related topics where it's not about the code, it's about us as JavaScript developers. We found this particularly humanizing in recognizing we're more than just what we do with computers, and would love to see more of this in the wild.

Togetherness

Organizing an in-person conference seems hard enough, but the organizers continued the party with more activities around the conference–like a community hike around the hilly region of Buda in Budapest.

We visited a child-operated railway, and continued walking and talking through the gorgeous Budapest hills with some nature therapy, food, and beautiful vistas.

All of us were somehow drawn to each other and stuck together as birds of a JavaScript feather. Wherever Xata people were, we were thankful that people felt safe, comfortable, and vibey, with some even explicitly mentioning “the Xata vibe”. We’re grateful to have this effect on the community and our peers, and actively continue to work on consistently bringing the best vibes.

"You're okay"

Multiple days of back-to-back social conference events can take a toll on our health, with some of us needing downtime to recharge our social batteries either alone or in a smaller group. This organically happened on a natural and healthy cadence, and was acceptable by all.

The organizers, attendees, and speakers all had a keen awareness and sensitivity to the needs of others, and accommodated everything a person needed to be happy and healthy. The condensed code of conduct, "be excellent to each other", was very prevalent with people looking out for the best interests of each other.

Conclusion

We see JSConf-family events as the example to follow in the conference space, and JSConf Budapest, being the only JSConf in Europe, as the leader of the European portion of these. Year upon year (pandemic excluded), JSConf has continually provided immeasurable value, support, and passion to the JavaScript community, and we're eternally grateful to have been able to sponsor this conference and support the mission.

We plan to be back next year.

Tejas Kumar

Tejas Kumar has been writing code since age 8 and today leads Xata's Developer Relations efforts, educating, equipping, and empowering developers around the world about industry-leading best practices.