Attending React Loop 2019

My first React conference was also Chicagos first React conference.


2 minute read

photo from side of me looking left with sunset beach in background

By: Jacob D. Castro

A full-stack web developer. Works with technologies including HTML + CSS, JavaScript, React, GraphQL, Node.js, Express, and MongoDB.

Chicago city street outside of React Loop venue

Travelling for Work

This was my first experience with going on a work-related, out-of-state trip. I felt ready for the conference.

Other than my flight out of LAX being delayed by an hour, the trip was pretty smooth. I loved taking the trains (otherwise known as the "L") around Chicago. From elevated railways above the streets to underground subways, it was so fun. And to carry my work everywhere I went was just a fantastic feeling.

Conference Time!

As a React developer with a little less than a year of experience with it, I was super eager to learn from people who know way more than I do. And that's exactly what happened. Learned a ton!!!

For the projects that I've worked on, both for work and side projects, I've mostly used a similar stack. This stack consists of React, Gatsby, and a CMS backend like Contentful, GraphCMS, or simply headless Wordpress.

I'll be the first to admit I haven't done a great job at pushing my limits when it comes to my Javascript skills. I generally stick with what I'm comfortable with because I know I can do a good job at it.

Of course, there's nothing wrong with specializing in one tech stack. In fact, I know that could be really really good. I can say I've specialized in static sites built with Gatsby. But this conference wasn't a Gatsby conference, it was a React conference.

That's a much more massive topic than static site generation.

Exposing My Own Endpoints

Okay sorry for that subtle pun.

But seriously, a lot of my weaknesses in React were exposed with people talking about all the awesome things you can do in React. Turns out, React is huge. Bigger than I thought at least...

One of the things I got to see was a more in-depth look into React Hooks.

Yeah, I hadn't learned hooks yet.. My bad.

But I did while I was there! Seeing people live code as well as discuss the major "why" behind Hooks was so interesting. I've been so excited to update this website to use React Hooks in some areas. I probably won't rewrite every components to use Hooks but I'll definitely not be using classes from here on out. State management in lower level components just solves a lot of problems that I had when building some parts of this website.

I'll write about my experience using hooks on this site in a later blog post, so keep an eye out on my twitter for that announcement (@jacobdcastro).

I'll also post a part 2 continuing things I learned in my time in Chicago. Thanks so much for reading! Have a fantastic day.


- Jacob D. Castro