London React Meetup: Christmas Special

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Last time I told everyone that we wouldn’t have a meetup in December, because we assumed you all would be partying too hard to care. However Christopher Chedeau, front-end engineer at Facebook and co-developer of React, decided to come for an impromptu visit. And with Christopher himself in town how could we not put a meetup on? So technically I wasn’t lying to you all!

We knew this would be a popular night, and we haven’t had the time to find a bigger venue just yet, so to avoid the crush of last time we decided to limit numbers for this event. For those of you that couldn’t get a ticket don’t worry, this was just a one off and we’re hoping to find a bigger place next time.

To kick off proceedings our own Stuart Harris talked us through his latest work on a client project. Since his last talk on building isomorphic applications using a custom react view engine for node, Stu and the team have been hard at work expanding on these ideas for a new project for the same client. This time Stu’s talk has the catchy title ‘Building Isomorphic Single Page Applications With Cursors Over Immutable Data’.

In this talk Stu describes a few new ideas that has been packed into his latest project. The first of these is an isomorphic router that allows the server and the client to respond to the same routes, making isomorphic single page applications much easier to build. He also describes how using immutable data structures can help enhance React’s performance, and how this also allows for the use of cursors to unify your application’s data across components. Finally he shows how this all fits together in a sample application along with some comments on testing in a component hierarchy. The source code for Stu’s demo should be available in the new year, and Red Badger is also working on a React template/framework using some of these ideas called Reflex which should be available to contribute to soon.

Next up was Christopher Chedeau to talk about how react was born, how it’s doing now, and what the future is for React. Here he spans quite a range of topics from React’s origins in writing markup in PHP for security reasons, to Facebook’s widespread use of React components today, to the controversial topic of writing CSS styles in within react components.

It was fascinating to hear about React’s humble beginnings, and to hear Christopher’s thoughts on the future of React. It would be unfair of me to try and do the talk justice on here, so you’ll just have to watch it for yourself in the video below! Christopher was also kind enough to stick around for a lengthy Q&A session afterwards which I know everyone appreciated (his talk starts around 55:35 in the video).

Our next meetup will be held around mid January, and we are hard at work finding a bigger venue to fit everybody in. We’ll let you know a date and venue as soon as we can but until then, a Merry Christmas and happy New Year to you all!