Engines, Shoeboxes, and Empathy

I had a great time learning from and networking with some of the best minds in the Ember JS community at the So Ember Conf last Friday in San Diego. This was my first Ember conference and hence it was very exciting to finally meet some of the emberenos in person. The conference took place at the beautiful Catamaran Resort Hotel and the entire event was very well organized by Dockyard.


There were a lot of good talks on subjects ranging from debugging and accessibility to server-side rendering and empathy. Following were my main takeaways:

  • Use debugging adventures as challenges to learn things under the hood. Ember provides a lot of magic but when things don’t quite work as expected, its good to have a deeper working knowledge of the framework.
  • A culture of accessibility means living the values of diversity and inclusion. Use ember-a11y addons to make code more accessible.
  • Null checking and early exit may be making things worse. Root cause of null checks is that interfaces are unclear. Haskell inspired error handling lets you write your functions assuming certainty (no undefineds).
  • The process of working through ember-engines is still a work-in-progress, but its in production at LinkedIn.
  • The ember-asset-loader addon provides support for the Asset Manifest RFC and Asset Loader Service RFC.
  • Ember-leaflet allows you to express your maps right in your templates. It is streamlined for ember in general. You have things like actions, components and the ability to use regular handlebars helpers.
  • You can pass application state from the FastBoot rendered application to the browser rendered application using a feature called the “Shoebox”. This allows you to leverage server API calls made by the FastBoot rendered application on the browser rendered application. The ember-data-fastboot addon serializes the contents of your ember-data store within the Fastboot shoebox.
  • Empathy includes recognizing people’s strengths and weaknesses and enabling them to contribute and grow appropriately. How you listen to someone effects how they ‘show up’.


I have learned a lot from the Ember community over the last 3 years. Every experience just keeps getting better and better. Ember may not be the most popular framework around but it definitely has a great ecosystem and a very promising future. Looking forward to the main Ember Conf in Portland this year.

Keep learning, keep growing. Cheers!