Inspiration is a precious resource.
Software development is undoubtedly one of the most creative occupations in the world, but its naturally rapid cadence all but forces a laser-focus on current assignments. Inspiration is hard to come by while six breakpoints deep, trying desperately to reproduce an intermittent bug. It is a tall order to learn new things and grow as a developer while simultaneously executing on daily tasks. There just isn’t time for it.
The best remedy for this problem that I have found is to attend a technical conference. And in my experience, there are few (if any) better than JSConf.
I left Peter’s talk believing that I should give it another go. He pointed out areas of the tooling that have recently improved, and also introduced a few browser APIs that interact with the Timeline that I had not yet discovered. Then, he took a detour into Crazy Town. Peter explained that it was possible to do performance profiling prior to the advancements in Chrome’s Developer Tools. How? Well, measuring the responsiveness of a text editor is as simple as using a high-speed camera to record the time delta between the press of a key and when that character is painted on the screen! This exercise in lunacy really hammered home the point that if it is extremely important (as typing speed is in a text editor) it is OK to get a little nutty in pursuit of a development goal. Now, I don’t think that I will be mounting one of these to my laptop anytime soon, but I will definitely be opening the Timeline tab this week to see if I can turn the corner on profiling our app. Peter’s slides should be enough to get me started, and I can’t wait.
If you have the opportunity to attend a JSConf, you should do it.