My first conference as a speaker

October 7, 2019

In the beginning of September I was in Poland for the React Native EU conference. It's the biggest european conference focused on React Native, which is the technology we use to build our NiceDay app for both iOS and Android. There are a bunch of them all over the world, some for React Native and some for React (which is a similar technology to build a website). Each of the conferences invites people to become speakers, and this year for this conference I got invited to give a talk on the topic of upgrading React Native apps.

For context, a lot of developers that use React Native have trouble upgrading their apps when a new version comes out. I always had a specific way to upgrade that was working well for me and a few other devs that I had talked to. I took a script that helped me and modified it to work with all the versions of RN. It would generate some files that could be used by devs. It made upgrading easier by making the differences between version more understandable and clear. Then I made a simple website that could display these files. After this got a few users, and even some contributors, I was invited to talk in that conference, in order to show it to everyone that was interested. Some of the people attending the conference were using my "upgrade flow", but a lot of them were not, so the idea was that I will present it, explain it, and hopefully help RN devs when they googled how to upgrade easily.

I've never done another talk before, not in any conference or any meetup, so it was a new thing for me, but I immediately said yes to the invitation. I had been in conferences before, but being there as one of the speakers was such a different and awesome experience. I got the chance to meet and talk to all the other speakers in the speakers dinner the day before the conference, as well as in the hotel in the morning and going out in the evening. I've seen other talks from some of them, I've talked and work with some of them, but always online. It was so great to finally meet all of them in person, and even better to hear that they were impressed with what I had done, that they look forward to seeing my talk and to see that some of them even recognized me!

The talks in the conference were great, many of them very interesting and informative. It seemed that many people enjoyed seeing the talks and I think everyone got something out of them. In the coffee/launch breaks I talked with a lot of people there, speakers and attendees, from small companies and startups all over Europe, to Microsoft and Facebook from the US offices. I enjoyed exchanging our experiences working with RN, both using it to make an app and improving it or building a tool for it in and sharing it with open source community.

In my talk I basically explained how this script that generates the change files works, how the website for it was built, I showed the flow of upgrading a RN app using these tools, and the reasons why it's good to use it. Before my talk I had people come up to me saying they look forward to my talk, and after it I had people come up to me saying that they really enjoyed it and they want to try it out. I really hope it helped a lot of RN devs, experienced and not.

In general, this was a great experience, I enjoyed it a lot and I hope I get invited for another one again!

Link to conference

Link to videos

Link to photos

Source code for this post.