The Nodesource Blog

#shoptalk Subscribe

JSConf Colombia Recap

October 7th was the third annual JSConf Colombia, a conference built on top of one of the largest Spanish-speaking JavaScript communities in Latin-America. I started as a leader in the local community and later had the honor to be invited as an organizer since the second event, and I'm currently planning to help organize the event next year.

This year, we felt the event has hit the sweet spot. The feedback from the attendees and speakers visiting could not have been more positive and encouraging. We, as organizers, work especially hard to create a unique and authentic experience. We always want to show what Colombia has to offer to all our visitors, and create an immersive experience in the local culture - where gastronomy and lovely landscapes are part of the event. Our primary goal with this is to change the unpopular image perceived by foreigners about Colombia as a country due to its violent history.

Organizing conferences in the third world has its challenges but is an amazingly gratifying experience when looking at the outcome. We had an amazing response - the event sold out two months prior to the event. The venue can hold up to 350 people, so that was our cutoff - despite that, we ended with a waiting list of nearly 150 people.

This year, we got visitors from a diverse set of countries: Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Guatemala, England, Mexico, Panama, USA, and Venezuela. We stayed together for three days, including one free to attend with a previous event that this year we called Pataconf. There, we gave a space for other local communities, that weren't necessarily JavaScript-related, to talk about different topics and technologies.

The whole event was held in the magnificent venue of Ruta N, the same building where NodeSource Medellin's office is located. This site has also served for the previous events, and is owned by the local government - who has sponsored all the three events, providing the venue and assisting with some speakers' expenses.

Day 0 - Pataconf

This event was free to attend and was held in the same venue by Colombia.dev, a national organization grouping most Meetups about software development across the country.

There were talks about Security, Machine Learning, Open Source Hardware, Deep Learning, and several others. A total of 150 people attended this event - limited by available space, as the main auditory was being prepared at the same time for the big event starting the next day.

Day 1 - Workshops

The main event opened with the workshops day, a total of 16 workshops were held, with four scheduled to be held simultaneously. Local and visiting speakers shared their knowledge with over 300 attendees. There were many topics: microservices, Electron apps, Nodebots, CLI tools, mobile apps, WebGL, WebSockets, to name few.

Day 2 - Talks

The second day featured 12 talks, by three invited speakers and nine selected from more than 150 proposals received in our CFP.

The main auditorium was full to see Mariko Kosaka opening talk about how to be a compiler

The day went smoothly while we had talks by Mike North (The Road to Native Web Components), Giovanny Beltran (A game in 13kb with JavaScript), Erich Oliveira (Node Micro Services: From Zero to Hero), Kenneth Auchenberg (DevTools for the Progressive Web), Evangelina Ferreira (Animate without drawing skills), Bonnie Milián (JavaScript got me flying through the air), Claudia Hernández (JavaScript in Wonderland), Seth Samuel (WebGL For More Than Graphics: Is It Possible?) and Jonathan Martin (Collaborating with mountaintop mesh networks).

Toward the end, we had an excellent Node.js community overview delivered by Tracy Hinds, who invited the audience to get involved with the Node.js Foundation. She explained the variety of different ways you can start helping the project.

Finally closing the day, we had our very own Thorsten Lorenz with a funny and extraordinary talk about performance, where he began joking in Spanish and finished explaining a very complex problem in the easiest way for mere mortals to understand.

An Authentic and Life Changing Experience

What we truly think is the most remarkable about the event is the effect it has on the people who usually do not get the chance to attend similar events events. It's an honor to be able to assist in providing a venue for those people to be able to grow and learn their craft.

Additionally, JSConf Colombia is a highly diverse conference, we had committed to maintain a good amount of diversity scholarships, even sometimes is a fully funded scholarship including travel expenses (as long as our usually tight budget allow us), and due to this, you can find beautiful heart touching stories like this one.

As long as we can help more people to learn and get involved in JavaScript world, we will keep working even harder to maintain this vibrant ecosystem in a country where many deserve the opportunity.