ForwardJS SF 2018 Recap


ForwardJS was the first developer conference that I ever attended, and it was a pleasure to be able to attend again this year. Forward has been releasing batches of the recorded talks on YouTube, so I thought that I would share a few of my favorite talks from this year’s conference, along with the video and slides when available.

Design Systems at Scale

Sarah Federman – Experience Designer & Developer @ Adobe



  • My favorite part of going to conferences is learning from the trials and tribulations of other developers. This year I caught a few talks which explored how larger companies enforce consistency at scale. The keynote for the event, given by Sarah Federman of Adobe, was a perfect example of this. She presented Spectrum, the company’s design system.

Migrating the Frontend Stack from Python to React @ Yelp

Mark Larah – Software Engineer @ Yelp



  • Mark Larah from Yelp shared his team’s journey in migrating its Python Cheetah template front-end to React components. Important questions they asked themselves before migrating included:
    • Is it worthwhile? Comparing benefits vs. time & cost
    • Can they migrate without disruptions?
    • How will it impact performance?

One Progressive Step at a Time – Inside Progressive Web Apps

Anas Raza Firdousi – Software Engineering Lead @ Apple


  • When I attended ForwardJS a few years ago, it was all about React. This year “progressive web apps” or “PWAs” kept popping up in talks. Anas Raza Firdousi from Apple gave a great intro to progressive web apps, taking the audience step by step through building a basic PWA.

Pinterest ♥ Mobile Web

Zack Argyle – Tech Lead @ Pinterest



  • The most fascinating talk I saw was from Pinterest. Zack Argyle shared how Pinterest rewrote their entire mobile web experience to be a PWA in only three months. While this change brought major performance improvements for mobile users, there was one major caveat. Before taking on such a task, you’ll need to have the resources to be able to maintain two separate sites. In Pinterest’s case, they needed a minimum of 20 developers just to maintain their new mobile site.

Optimizing React Applications

Roy Yu – Lead Software Engineer @ Chegg

Video & slides not currently available

  • My current project at Grio revolves around React and Redux, so Roy Yu’s talk on React optimization was a must see. I loved the talk because Roy emphasized the importance of developers fully understanding what is important to their customers, and using data to make the case with PMs and clients for the time and space to conduct optimization. The talk was also immediately actionable, with a plethora of tools suggested for identifying potential optimizations.

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