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OpenJS World

How Node.js saved the U.S. Government $100K

By Blog, Case Study, Node.js, OpenJS World

The following blog is based on a talk given at the OpenJS Foundation’s annual OpenJS World event and covers solutions created with Node.js.

When someone proposes a complicated, expensive solution ask yourself: can it be done cheaper, better and/or faster? Last year, an external vendor wanted to charge $103,000 to create an interactive form and store the responses. Ryan Hillard, Systems Developer at the U.S. Small Business Administration, was brought in to create a less expensive, low-maintenance alternative to the vendor’s proposal. Hillard was able to create a solution using ~320 lines of code and $3000. In the talk below Hillard describes what the difficulties were and how his Node.js solution fixed the problem.

Last year, Hillard started work on a government’s case management system that received and processed feedback from external and internal users. Unfortunately, a recent upgrade and rigorous security measures prevented external users from leaving feedback. Hillard needed to create a secure interactive form and then store the data. However, the solution also needed to be cheap, easy to maintain and stable. 

Hillard decided to use three common services: Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3), Amazon Web Services (AWS) Lambda and Node.js. Together, these pieces provided a simple and versatile way to capture and then store response data. Maintenance is low because the servers are maintained by Amazon. Additionally, future developers can easily alter and improve the process as all three services/languages are commonly used. 

To end his talk, Hillard discussed the design and workflow processes that led him to his solution. He compares JavaScript to a giant toolkit with hundreds of libraries and dependencies — a tool for every purpose. However, this variety can be counterproductive as the complexity – and thus the management time – increases.

Developers should ask themselves how they can solve their problems without introducing anything new. In other words, size does matter — the smallest, simplest toolkit is the best!

OpenJS World Keynote Series: Exploring the History of JavaScript

By Blog, OpenJS World

During the OpenJS Foundation global conference OpenJS World, Alex Williams at The New Stack had the opportunity to hear from one of the leaders in the JavaScript world, Allen Wirfs-Brock. 

Allen Wirfs-Brock served as project editor for the ECMAScript Language Specification, the international standard that defines the latest version of the JavaScript programming language. Fortunately for developers, Brock has greatly improved JavaScript through his contributions to EcmaScript 5, 5.1 and 6. Alex Williams, founder of The New Stack, interviewed Brock to review the history of JavaScript and understand how relatively unusual practices became fundamental to the language.

First-time developers often incorrectly assume that JavaScript has something to do with Java. Brock explains that Netscape, the producers of JavaScript, and Sun Microsystems, the producers of Java, formed a partnership in 1995 to combat Microsoft’s advances into the web market. JavaScript was originally positioned to be a simple scripting language companion for the more robust Java language, even though the two languages had many differences. 

The naming convention aside, JavaScript quickly outgrew its “companion” status and became a powerful development tool. However, Brock recounts how the language was initially developed with a “worse is better” mentality in order to quickly take advantage of an emerging web platform. Despite its problems, JavaScript continued to grow even as “reformation” attempts tried and failed to fix the language. 

To end the talk, Brock explains how he approached JavaScript’s issues in 2008, and managed to fix many of the issues the language had. His work at EcmaScript was a counterintuitive, but ultimately successful process that provided a way to move forward and build upon the existing framework. 

You can find the Keynote broken down by section below: 

Introduction 0:00

History of Programming Conference 0:27

JavaScript: The Most Misunderstood Programming Language 1:33

Netscape + Java = Dead Windows 3:12

Early Impacts of JavaScript 04:19

Unique/Key Players in Early JavaScript 06:05

“Worse is Better” 7:27

Browser Game Theory Developing 7:55

Diverging Design Efforts 10:24

The Failed JavaScript Reformation 12:04

Improving JavaScript: Early Failures 13:53

Moving Forward: EcmaScript 3.1 (renamed 5) 15:58

The Present and Future of JavaScript 17:05

Conclusion 19:15

OpenJS World Keynote: How not to Save the World with Tech

By Blog, OpenJS World

Earlier this summer, Kris Borchers hosted an interview with Dr. Joy Rankin, the author of A People’s History of Computing in the US. The interview spans everything from Dr. Rankin’s path, experience researching the history of programming, the Oregon Trail game, and how her research is being used to improve diversity in companies. This empowering keynote can help serve people – particularly young women – interested in STEM to feel impassioned about the world of computing, as well as can help shed light on the way that networks have been formed around computing. 

You can watch the full interview here: 

Full Video Here

Introductions (0:00)

Creativity (2:50)

Other Networks (10:30)

Women in Computing  (15:45)

How to Learn More (20:00)

Conclusion (24:00)

During the OpenJS Foundation global conference, OpenJS World, we heard from many inspiring leaders. In this keynote series, we will highlight the key points from the keynote videos. 

Production Loading Performance 10 Years Later

By Blog, OpenJS World

Nicole Sullivan, Product Manager for Chrome at Google, recently hosted an informative keynote presentation with Google software engineer Shubhie Panicker on production loading performance during OpenJS World. Their collaboration in this area spans over 10 years, and the presentation begins with a look back at loading performance issues and then opens into how steps are being taken to improve performance currently. 

The discussion ranges from problems with loading to how OpenJS is helping partners to develop and test programming. This video can help individuals interested in systemic web performance issues and current projects to solve them. It may also be of interest to individuals who own domains with retention issues based on loading times. 

You can watch the full interview here: 

Full Video Here

Introductions (0:00)

Loading Performance Then and Now (1:00)

Developer’s Tooling (3:30)

What’s the Problem with Loading? (4:15)

First Interaction Delay (6:00)

You COULD Solve These Problems By Yourself… (8:12)

What are SDKs? (9:50)

Next.js and React  (11:05)

Initial Perf Wins (12:19)

Tested Concurrent Mode (14:00)

What’s Next? (16:18)

Much thanks to Nicole and Shubhie!

During the OpenJS Foundation global conference, OpenJS World, we heard from many inspiring leaders. In this keynote series, we will highlight the key points from the keynote videos. 

Getting Certified: How and Why

By Blog, Certification, Node.js, OpenJS World

During OpenJS World, Luca Maraschi, Chief Architect, Telus Digital, sat down with David Mark Clements, Tech lead/primary author of OpenJS Foundation JSNAD & JSNSD Certifications, for an in-depth interview on getting certified with Node.js. The interview spans questions from why there are two certifications to how the certification process has been impacted by COVID. This Q&A can help serve individuals looking to get their Node certification but who are unsure where to begin. You can watch the full interview below. 

Full Video Here

Introductions (0:00)

Getting Started (1:00)

2 Certifications (2:00)

Who should take which exam? (3:30)

What Should People Read Before Trying To Get Certified? (5:30)

How To Train During And Beyond COVID? (8:15)

Do You See A Future Where We Stay Adapted? (14:00)

How Do You See Day-to-Day Enterprise Being Impacted (16:45)

Your POV on Workshops (23:20)

How Does Certification Impact Community? (27:00)

How Can People Contribute? (29:30)

Learn more about Node.js Certification today.

OpenJS World Keynote Fireside Chat: JavaScript Security

By Blog, OpenJS World

During the OpenJS Foundation global conference, OpenJS World, we heard from many inspiring leaders. In this keynote series, we will highlight the key points from the keynote videos. 

In a recent Keynote Fireside Chat, three security experts discussed how open source software, such as JavaScript, is utilized in critical infrastructure and medical devices. Appropriate open source security helps improve cybersecurity and the safety of medical patients. The panel was moderated by Michael Dawson, IBM Community Lead for Node.js. Jessica Wilkerson, a Cyber Policy Advisor for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Adam Baldwin, Sr. Product Manager at GitHub, joined the call to provide their perspectives on JavaScript security.   

Wilkerson started the talk by explaining how open source software has made its way into critical services used by the FDA, including medical devices. The prevalence of open source software, such as JavaScript, requires a more careful consideration of security risks and vulnerabilities. For example, medical devices are submitted with a list of software they are built with, and it is important for developers to understand vulnerabilities in the packages they use — the responsibility does not fall solely on the maintainers. 

All members agreed that in order to make JavaScript more secure it is important for maintainers and bug reporters to work together to solve security issues. When a bug is difficult to identify, tension can develop between vulnerability reporters and maintainers. Ultimately, improving communication and protocol between these two groups can make JavaScript safer. 

Full video here

Broken down by section: 

Member introductions 0:15 

How is JavaScript used in critical infrastructure? 1:32

Improving security: Increased support from organizations 3:20

Responsibility: Final goods assembler 4:23

“Tooling” in software development 05:58

Using automation to identify and remove risks 07:03

What can the OpenJS Foundation do to improve security? 08:45

Tension between maintainers and vulnerability reporters 10:11

Improving communication between maintainers and researchers 13:53

Government approach to security vulnerabilities 14:41

Improving collaboration between all parties 16:15

Current security practices 18:01

Closing thoughts and call to action 19:31

Thank you Adam, Jessica and Michael for your insights on this very important topic!

OpenJS World Keynote: Reaching Your Dreams In Tech and Science – Christina H. Koch, NASA Astronaut

By Blog, OpenJS World

During the OpenJS Foundation global conference, OpenJS World, we heard from many inspiring leaders. In this keynote series, we will highlight the key points from the keynote videos. 

Robin Ginn, OpenJS Foundation Executive Director,  hosted a Q and A with astronaut Christina H. Koch, NASA Astronuaght, on reaching her dreams in STEM on June 25th, 2020. The interview begins with a presentation by Koch and then opens into a Q&A. Koch touches on what life is like in outer space as an international crew member of the ISS among other topics. The Q&A ranges from questions about being a female in STEM to how life on the ISS mirrored the world we live in today. This galactic keynote can help serve young people – particularly young women – interested in STEM to feel impassioned about the science they can create. 

You can watch the full interview here: 

Full Video Here

Introductions (0:00)

Where We Are Today In Space Travel (2:13)

Coming Back To Earth (11:00)

Software In Space (16:40)

Do You Have Wifi In Space? Can You Use StackOverflow? (17:53)

What’s the sharing culture like at NASA? (19:24)

How Has Aerospace Benefited From Open Source?  (20:29)

Are There Security Attacks in Space?  (21:13)

How Did University Prepare You to be an Astronaut? (23:00)

Advice to Women in Tech (24:35)

Space Walk Talk (28:50)

What Do You Miss About the ISS, Given The State Of The World Today? (31:20)

What Is The Hardest Technical Issue You Solved? (32:08)

What’s a Good Day at Work for You? (34:17)

In addition to this keynote, Christina also participated in an interview with Jason Perlow of the Linux Foundation. Read the entire post here. Thanks again to Christina for sharing her inspiring story and for all she does to advance science in space!

OpenJS World Keynote: Communities at Work – Juan Pablo Buriticá, Latam — Stripe

By Blog, OpenJS World

During the OpenJS Foundation global conference, OpenJS World, we heard from many inspiring leaders. In this keynote series, we will highlight the key points from the keynote videos. 

Juan Pablo Buriticà of Stripe gave an in-depth interview on what a good community is to him on June 25th, 2020. The interview spans questions from why “like a family” is a bad analogy for a team to how safety is important to a successful and positive environment. This thought piece can inspire individuals to think critically about how they frame their teams and communities. 

You can watch the full interview: 

Full Video Here

Introductions (0:00)

Like A Family (0:50)

Sports (2:05)

Music Communities (3:40)

Collectivity (5:25)

Education (6:18)

Culture (7:34)

Care (8:45)

Community Leadership (9:34)

Safety (11:10)

Self-Administration (13:08)

Thanks Juan Pablo! Check out the entire OpenJS World playlist here.

OpenJS World Keynote Series: Prosper Otemuyiwa, CTO at Eden, “Media Performance at Scale”

By Blog, OpenJS World

During the OpenJS Foundation global conference, OpenJS World, we heard from many inspiring leaders. In this keynote series, we will highlight the key points from the keynote videos. 

The recent pandemic has changed the way people work and spend their time. Significantly, many activities have shifted online, resulting in a 1000x increase in media files being shared across the internet. The increased demand for fast, high quality delivery of content has revealed several issues with media performance — the speed at which photos, videos and other files are delivered to the user. Prosper Otemuyiwa, CTO at Eden, addresses these problems in his Keynote address on June 25, 2020. In this talk he explains why pages and files load so slowly, and how these issues can be solved. By following his advice developers can optimize their projects to deliver high quality image and video files without atrocious loading times. 

Full Video Here 

Otemuyiwa begins his talk by explaining what media performance is and what the major bottlenecks are. He emphasizes that users will become frustrated with long loading times and constant video buffering without proper optimization of media files. Next, he describes how developers can improve content delivery. Otemuyiwa provides specific examples of services/code that convert, compress and load files in order to make web pages load at lightning speeds. You can find the Keynote broken down by section below:

What is Eden?: 0:09

2020 Pandemic Era, Media Increase: 01:34

What is Media Performance? 02:30

Bottlenecks for Media Performance: 03:07

Scaling Media Performance in Your Own Apps: 

  1. Leverage CDNS for Globally Distributed Caching: 04:20
  2. Compress Image Files (without visible loss of quality): 05:39
  3. Lazy Load Content: 07:08
  4. Avoid Image Resizing on the Browser: 08:36
  5. Don’t Hide Images with CSS: 09:15
  6. Avoid PNG Files (Use JPG/WebP instead!): 09:48
  7. Use CSS Image Sprites To Load Multiple Logos at Once: 12:26
  8. Respect the User’s Hardware! 13:48
  9. Set Up Performance Budgets for Images: 14:39
  10. Convert Gifs to Videos (.MP4): 15:30
  11. Preload Your Videos: 16:27
  12. Utilize Adaptive Bitrate Streaming for Faster Video Playback: 16:48

Conclusion: Remember MOM (Measure, Optimize, Monitor): 18:28

Thanks to Prosper for this valuable information!

OpenJS World Keynote Series: Cassidy Williams, “Learning by Teaching for Your Community”

By Blog, OpenJS World

During the OpenJS Foundation global conference, OpenJS World, we heard from many inspiring leaders. In this keynote series, we will highlight the key points from the keynote videos. 

As a developer it can be tempting to tunnel vision into the code and churn out app after app with relative ease. However, engaging with the community can be a rewarding experience that ultimately deepens understanding and fosters useful relationships. Cassidy Williams, Principal Developer Experience Engineer at Netlify, highlights the personal and communal benefits of interacting with other developers in her Keynote address. Williams emphasizes that the best way to learn is to teach. In doing so, one may create an invaluable resource for themselves and others. 

Full Video 

Williams starts off by stating that “plans aren’t real.” This assertion carries significant weight in light of changes that have taken place due to the pandemic. Williams uses her own experiences to guide her talk — she explains how creating tutorials, newsletters and giving talks forced her to become more knowledgeable. Additionally, connecting with developers within her workplace formed a community that helped her to find new opportunities. Williams ends her talk by explaining that it is best to build up relationships before you need them so that others are excited to talk and interact with you. The relationships that one builds with other people are relatively constant, and developers can support each other through tumultuous times. 

You can find the Keynote broken down by section below:

Introduction 1:27

Plans Aren’t Real 5:12

Embrace Your Community 7:05

The Best Way to Learn is to Teach Your Community 08:15

Be a Giver, Not a Taker 11:40

Be the Community Member You Want To See in the World 15:27

Thanks to Cassidy for joining us at OpenJS World this year!