TXJS JavaScript Conference Wrapup

Last Saturday I attended TXJS, my second conference of the year focused specifically on JavaScript-related discussions and presentations. The conference drew approximately 180 attendees consisting of some of the most well-known JavaScript developers in the world including Douglas Crockford (JavaScript luminary), Pete Higgins (Dojo Project Lead), John Resig (creator of jQuery), Andrew Dupont (lead developer of Prototype), and more.


The conference was a bit different from JSConf, which I attended in April, in that it clearly was focusing more on client-side development versus server-side JavaScript implementations such as Node or Narwhal. The discussions, though, were similar in targeting the intermediate to advanced developer levels which demonstrates a maturing of the JavaScript developer community. Sessions were given by well-known developers such as Douglas Crockford (Yahoo!), Brian Leroux (Nitobi & mobile expert), John Resig (creator of jQuery) and Pete Higgins (Dojo team lead), to name a few.

While I attended several sessions, including some dealing cross-domain communication and Facebook’s abstraction layers, one sidebar impromptu session interested me the most because it really wasn’t supposed to be a session. A developer from the Selenium project asked John Resig, Pete Higgins and Ed Spencer (lead developer for Ext JS) to sit with him to discuss application testing. That turned into a full-on panel discussion about the topic attended by ~30 people. The feedback:

  • It was said that Selenium was not a great testing tool but it’s the only choice we have
  • Selenium’s lack of intimate knowledge of the major frameworks is a hindrance in spite of the fact that these libs are just JavaScript
  • Mobile is severely lacking adequate testing tools forcing developers to purchase expensive handsets to verify functionality

I also heard that John Resig’s presentation, “JavaScript on the Mobile Web”, was outstanding. John has been doing a tremendous amount of mobile testing, specifically to be able to build jQuery for Mobile and has documented quite a bit of information on the various mobile browsers and their support of JavaScript and the DOM.


Now that I’m working at Microsoft, I much more aware of what’s being said about the company because I want to be able to report on the good and fix the bad.

Some of the Good Points:

  • We sponsored the shuttle bus which was prominently mentioned during the keynote and heavily used by attendees for going to the event as well as returning to the sponsor hotel. It seemed that the shuttle bus really helped the attendees and I’m glad we handled that.
  • I spoke to a number of attendees who were both surprised and impressed by Microsoft’s expanded efforts to address client-side developers. Our announcements around IE9 relating to HTML5, CSS3 & related specs has also been a boon with VERY positive feedback about our direction. Developers are genuinely excited about this but are anxious for more information and transparency. Having IE PM Carter Rabasa attend TXJS was invaluable. He was able to vet questions for developers as well as offer feedback about HTML5 and CSS3.
  • The “IE6 Must Die” mantra was nowhere near the level that was displayed during JSConf. Feedback from several developers was much more empathetic with many simply saying that supporting IE6 is “part of our responsibility as web developers”. It’s not to say that anyone has to like the current state of affairs and I know I would like IE6 to go away (as would Microsoft) so we can leverage the cool new stuff but when you look at feedback from Tom Ochinno of Facebook where he clearly said that dropping IE6 would affect 5M+ users, that puts a very different spin on what we unfortunately need to support.
  • Douglas Crockford attended Jeffrey’s session and expressed how much he loves Reactive Extensions for JavaScript. This made me very happy for my friends Jeffrey Van Gogh and Matthew Podwysocki, who have worked so hard on this.

Some of the Bad Points:

  • Developers want more information on IE9 and that’s not something I could offer at this time. Always tough.
  • Developers want IE6 to go away (so do we!) and that’s not something I could offer either. I think we need to focus on outlining, in a central place, all of the things that would make supporting IE6 much easier instead of developers learning by the school of hard knocks.

By the way, mentioning Facebook, Haste, Primer & Boot Loader rock. Can you make that publicly available?! Please?! :D


One of the great parts of a conference is the opportunity to see old friends and make new ones. I was very happy to see so many people that I only get to share virtual time with like Pete Higgins, John Resig, Brian Leroux, Jeffrey Van Gogh and a ton others. It was also amazing to meet people who I consider so incredibly talented and never thought I’d have a chance to hang with them like Dan Webb and Nicole Sullivan. Too cool.

To Kyle Simpson, thanks for spending some time talking with me at the hotel on Friday night. What a great conversation. I got see a different side of you man.

But most of all I really must thank Rebecca Murphey. Apart from putting on a great show, she truly is a wonderful person. Thanks for everything Rebecca and I will convince you South Florida is the next place to tackle. :)

Conference Feedback:

“briangarcia: Some random thoughts on the fantastic #TXJS . Anyone else think the event should be twice a year? http://bit.ly/dfv069”
“dcoder: Inspired by @joemccan’s #txjs talk; putting together a preso on wireframing and prototyping techniques and LoD. Now to find venues…”
“malsup: Major props to Rebecca and the yayCrew. #txjs was a first class event.”
“rogerpence: #txjs Was very cool. Crockford way cool and Resig so wise beyond his years! Other spkrs great, too. Great day! Job well done by all.”
“dstorey: Getting ready to take the Microsoft bus t @txjs. Hopefully it has hardware acceleration, but I’m not sure about the multiple engines.”

Pics from the Conference:
Courtesy Rebecca Murphey

Rey Bango

One Comment

  1. Great recap. I’m so incredibly sad I missed it. I hope they have this next year. NYCJS? ;)

Comments are closed.