Vancouver, a bustling west coast seaport in British Columbia, is among Canada’s densest, most ethnically diverse cities. Vancouver is consistently named as one of the top-five worldwide cities for livability and quality of life. It has a great atmosphere, with a diverse and spirited culture, wonderful people, and it is one of the cleanest cities there is.
With such a great reputation, Vancouver has hosted many international conferences and events. So, it was no wonder why this location was chosen again for the 4th annual Node + JS Interactive Conference.
Node.js Interactive is a new, annual, vendor-neutral conference for Node.js. It is being led by the newly formed Node.js Foundation in cooperation with the Linux Foundation. The conference brings together a wide range of community made projects and products as well as companies showcasing Node.js adoption by the industry.
This year included sponsors such as Bloomberg, Google Cloud, Heroku, IBM, Linode, Microsoft, Realtor.com, and others.
At this point some readers may be wondering why Node.js is so popular to a large range of users such as hobbyists like myself, to startups like LiskHQ, and even massive companies and platforms with millions of users.
One of the best uses of Node.js is that it allows for building fast and scalable network applications. It uses an event-driven, non-blocking I/O model that makes it lightweight and efficient, perfect for data-intensive real-time applications that run across distributed devices. Node.js is was invented by Ryan Dahl in 2009. (The same year that Satoshi Nakamoto mined the Bitcoin genesis block!) Node.js is a very young technology that is rapidly gaining users and still has a lot of potential.
Even though Lisk had it’s relaunch event just earlier this year in February, it’s hard to imagine that we went a couple years without this amazing branding. Needless to say, LiskUSA loves to openly represent Lisk and not just because it looks good. It’s also because Lisk represents an idea, a community, and a movement we can get behind and support – and why not look stylish while we do it.
By the time LiskUSA set up, the blockchain faithful were already looking for us. Many of them had been tipped off to our presence from the sweet loot we left for them on the free swag table. Others were intrigued by the banner. Blockchain is a hot topic among coders right now and due to a lack of sources at the conference, people were eager to get information on this upcoming technology.
Exposition Floor and Booths
LiskUSA interviewed a number of the server hosting companies, including Microsoft Azure, Heroku, and Linode about their plans to facilitate cryptocurrency nodes. This is particularlly of interest to us because when lisk finally is able to launch side-chains, hundreds to thousands of nodes will be needed.
Microsoft Azure offers the ability to deploy blockchain nodes, including Lisk Nodes in the past. These nodes are preoptimized and can be set up with just a few clicks.
Heroku does not currently have any services specifically tailored to blockchain users. However, they were interested to hear about how blockchains could use their services. We informed their team about our communities needs for their services and we were also happy to answer all of Heroku’s questions about Lisk and blockchain technology.
Linode, a virtual private server company that specializes in linux server hosting. Linode actually serves a number of Lisk’s mainnet and testnet nodes. They were very proud to hear of our communities utilization of their services. Special thanks to Linode for all of the goodies and swag!
Presentations of Interest and Keynote Speakers
Wiring the Internet of Things – with Nick O’Leary, developer advocate and IBM project lead of Node-RED. This project is intended to allow flow based programming for anything, but with a focus on programming for the Internet of Things or IoT. Flow based programming was invented by J. Paul Morrison of IBM in the 1970’s. It is a network of asynchronous processes communicating with streams of data chunks.
The concept is fairly simple, it allows for an interface that has what are called nodes, that each represent some sort of functionality. Nodes can be selected, copied, and linked together to create working code. The Node-Red library is open-source and has over 1,600 pre-packaged nodes to pick from – many of them commonly used functions.
Nick put on a great demonstration where he attempted to created a program in Node-RED and have it deployed in just 15 minutes. The program allowed him to control a wireless light with a wireless clicker. Pressing the clicker would change the light to 1 of three colors. Using the drag and drop selection from the vast and growing Node-Red library, Nick was able to easily select all of the functions he needed and them string them together.
Even more impressive was the fact that Nick would then use the IBM Cloud to upload newly made code so that it could be pushed directly to two other devices. With just seconds of the presentation remaining, Nick was able to pull it off and each of the lights were working, mostly, as intended. Even thought it wasn’t perfect, he could have taken a little more time and pushed the code to fleets of devices that number in the 10’s of thousands. Quite an impressive demonstration.
Whether you are a seasoned coder or a script kitty, if the intention is to quickly and efficiently create and deploy – then Node.Red may be just what you are looking for.
Profound logic created a website called Profound Spaces at Noderun. Alex showed us what the platform had to offer. The platform gives immediate access to a dedicated and isolated Node.Js environment with an express server and a web based I.D. with a V.S. code monocle editor. In this configuration, any changes would be hot reloaded back to the express server. It also provides a variety of templates in the form of single page ready to go code and a web based terminal. Additionally, it provides command line access for modifying your space in any way you want. Finally, users can share their projects and collaborate with other developers.
Using the visual interface and just 20 minutes, Alex was able to create a program that allowed him to control several aspects of his Tesla Model 3 from his phone. This included opening and closing the doors and windows, adjusting the lights, and honking the horn. It was quite an achievement and anyone interested should check this platform out at Profound Spaces and Noderun.
Girl Develop It – Corinne Warnshuis is an advocate for community-centered movements and believes in their power to change the world. She is the first Executive Director of Girl Develop It, a nonprofit based in the United States that empowers women through affordable and accessible programs focused on web and software development.
Through in-person classes and community support, Girl Develop It helps women of diverse backgrounds achieve their technology goals and build confidence in their careers and their every day lives. We got to see testimony from woman of many walks of life, such as stay at home mothers with no tech experience to elderly woman who wanted to try something new. Girl Develop It definitely looked like it created fantastic locations and communities for woman interested in the technology sector to get involved.
Node for Max — Bringing Node to Desktop Creative Software – Sam Tarakajian Max is a visual programming environment for multimedia. The idea is that you have functional blocks called objects and users can connect them together using patch cords to define the cord of audio video and data between them.
As a simple example we saw what was called a Max Patcher, in which a sound file with a basic melody was played and the flow of data to the speaker was displayed visually. Then by simply dragging and dropping the visualized data stream of data it was moved into a filter object that adjusted the sound to a deeper tone. In a more advanced demonstration we got to see a video of an exhibit called particles by Rhizomatiks in which wirelessly connected balls lighting and and playing music as they roll on a track — all using Node for Max.
To sum up what Node for Max is: It is a visual programming environment for multimedia. It uses Node for it’s event driven JS Runtime and then Node for Max is a library that lets users launch Node applications from inside the Max environment.
Until next time.
The team left a lot of positive impressions as well, leaving some great ideas for people to think about and ways for them to get involved in blockchain. We were sure to let them know all the places to get involved with the Lisk community. This included online sites like lisk.chat and the Github as well as local Lisk meetups near where some of our new friends and acquaintances lived.
With new ideas shared, tons of information gained, and great friends made, it was finally time to head back to the USA. This conference was definitely one that we will be back to in the future.