Talk: VanJS January 2016

3 minute read
MC Allen Pike

Yesterday, for the first time in a while, I went to the VanJS Meetup at UBC Robson Square. It was good catching up with some friends I haven’t spoken with for several months. This year, I’m going to try to put myself out there some more, and get out to more meetups – and blog about them too.

The first talk of the evening was by Brooklyn Zelenka of Metalab on the topic of Facebook’s Relay and GraphQL.

Brooklyn Zelenka on Relay

Brooklyn Zelenka talking about Facebook Relay

It was an excellent talk.

I’ve been following the project from a distance, since Facebook first announced it last February. They finally released the code in August, but I was a bit too buried in project work to try it out. I’m very intrigued by the potential to simplify some hairy data fetching logic, but it does seem to be quite a complex thing that with a bit of a learning curve. I’ve been surprised to have already encountered it in one potential client project that came to us as a sales lead, so I think I’m going to have to dive into a project with it at some point in order to truly understand it.

Brooklyn talked about the experience integrating it into an existing React app that was originally written using Marty.js. I was also using that framework early last year, so I could sort of understand where they were coming from.

Relay is still a really new technology. Brooklyn finished off with the following slide with some pros and cons that they discovered.

Relay Pros and Cons

Relay Pros and Cons

During the Q&A - several people had questions about how to integrate it with systems that manage client-side state, such as Redux. It should be interesting to see what the community comes up with in the next year.

The next talk was by Julia Allyce and David Luecke from Bitovi on the topic of the DoneJS.

Julia Allyce and David Luecke

Julia Allyce and David Luecke presenting DoneJS

DoneJS is a framework that evolved from the JavaScriptMVC and CanJS frameworks. It’s a more of “batteries included” framework, supporting web and app development (via Cordova), as well as desktop apps. Having built an Ionic app in the spring last year, I’d be interested in seeing how it compares.

They also had some interesting observations on trying to market an open source framework in the crowded JavaScript framework space. I think it’s really hard to get noticed when everybody spends so much time talking about React, Angular, Meteor, etc. Framework fatigue is a big deal.

They’ve posted the slides for the presentation online.

They also had some nice T-Shirts to give away. Thanks Bitovi!

We’re wrapping up some client work at Backblend, and I’m switching gears to find that next client or project that I can dedicate myself to for the next 6 to 12 months. React Native perhaps? Keep tuned to the blog to see what I’ve been up to.

Interested? Give me a shout at or hit me up on Twitter.