Talks Worth Watching @ React Conf 2018

Adam Laycock
Nov 14, 2018 · 5 min read

I’ll start off by defending the clickbait title by saying that every talk at React Conf this year was worth watching. The variety of unique projects and experiences is valuable not only for your technical understanding, but also for insight into how developers all over the world use React. Each of them deserves recognition for the hard work they put in. 👏

But there are also over 12 hours of videos from React Conf this year and if you’re anything like me or my co-author Tam, you might be overwhelmed by the amount of knowledge being dropped. So don’t worry about missing something great: Tam and I attended all of the talks at React Conf this year and curated a list of our favourites with an explanation of why you might want to watch them (in no particular order).

React Today and Tomorrow — Sophie Alpert and Dan Abramov

Why: During the keynote event, Sophie and Dan introduced hooks. This is a potentially game-changing feature that’s worth hearing explained by the core team. If you haven’t already read up about hooks, this talk will provide insight into the future direction of React. Keep in mind, hooks are an alpha release and could change at any time.

90% Cleaner React — Ryan Florence

Why: Sure, hooks are cool, but how do they work in your real-world components? Do they improve our ability to interact with the DOM, perform animations, make fetch requests, and handle complex state changes? Ryan gives a more in-depth understanding of how hooks work and illustrates how your code might change with hooks with thought-provoking demonstrations.

Concurrent Rendering in React — Andrew Clark and Brian Vaughn

Why: The keynote for the second day at React Conf highlighted more exciting new and upcoming features. In this talk, you can find demonstrations of lazy and Suspense from the latest release of React 16.6, as well as discussion about the upcoming concurrent mode and how to best make use of it. Check out this talk to get up to speed with the cutting edge of React so you can start using it as soon as it’s stable.

Moving to Suspense — Jared Palmer

Why: If you haven’t seen Dan Abramov’s talk on React Suspense, that is valuable prerequisite to watch before this talk. Jared goes into more detail about how you could convert an existing app to start using Suspense and the benefits it brings. During his talk, he will show you how to get started on adding loading states to your modules and assets with the latest React release.

Playing with Polyhedra Creating Beauty from Obsession — Nat Alison

Why: Feel inspired by Nat’s story about how she wanted to share her passion of polyhedra with the world. Nat leveraged her knowledge of React and other web technologies to share her enthusiasm. While you could check out the project before the talk, I would recommend waiting until you see her explanation of it first.

React for Social Change — Rodrigo Quezada

Why: Rodrigo tells his story about how they used React and machine learning to help solve the public transit problem in Mexico City. This talk will inspire you to be the change you want to see in the world by using the technology you might already know. The app Rodrigo and his team built helps to simplify the job of bus dispatchers, which in turn allows people all over Mexico City to get to their destinations faster.

SVG Illustrations as React Components — Elizabet Oliveira

Why: SVGs are essential tools that allow us to create simple and elegant user interfaces and experiences. They enable us to create and edit scalable symbols to handle any screen size in a performant way, but they can become tricky to maintain outside of the context of React. This lighting talk shows how to transform SVGs into React components so they can be easily reused and transformed.

Let React speak your language — Tomáš Ehrlich

Why: The world is not a simple place and so it’s inevitable that our code can’t always be simple either. If you’re building an application for international users, it’s important to recognize the importance of not only translations but also localization, and Tomáš shows how to handle them while avoiding introducing unnecessary complexity.

Lightning talk — What’s new in Create React App — Joe Haddad

Why: Create React App 2.0 and 2.1 were recently released with support for a plethora of new tools and ways to develop. TypeScript is one of the biggest new features, alongside Sass, Babel 7, Webpack 4, and more. If these tools seem like they’re in your wheelhouse, watch this talk to learn about getting started with Create React App 2.x on your next project.

Lightning Talk — Components as Units of Work — Bryce Kallow

Why: Bryce’s talk gives a new perspective on how to write React components, and explains why components don’t necessarily need to render anything at all. React’s existing lifecycle hooks are great for identifying when your application has changed, and how to appropriately handle those situations in a component-ized way.

Lightning Talk — Better living through Git Hooks — Leta Keane

Why: (Hopefully) you might already use source control on your React projects. Leta explains how you can use git hooks to keep your codebase clean and running smoothly. She explains the different hooks that exist and potential uses within your React projects.

Lightning Talk — Context in React — Sophie Shoemaker

Why: Not using context yet? Afraid to drop your tried and true Redux setup because the context API is new and mysterious? This lightning talk will introduce context, and explain where and when to use it. Sophie may not convince you to drop Redux, but hopefully she can convince you to see why you might not need it.

Lightning Talk — An Effective Code Review — Donavon West

Why: Code reviews can be daunting and frustrating for the individual being reviewed, but the same can be said for the reviewer. A poor review could undermine the trust and open communication of the team. This lightning talk gives five tips on how to perform an effective review without sounding rude and to achieve the best possible result for the reviewed, reviewer, and the rest of the team.

If you like what you’ve seen and want more, take a look at the rest of the talks here and post a response to below to let me know if we missed any talks worth highlighting.

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