A drawn image of Fredrik Bergqvist in a blue shirt

Fredrik Bergqvist

Web developer with over 22 years of experience. Writing about javascript and front end techniques

SmashingConf New York 2019

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of attending SmashingConf in New York, travelling from a chilly Swedish autumn to a quite pleasant New York end of summer. I spent the weekend fighting jet lag by taking long walks and touristing so I could be fit for the first workshop I had signed up for.


Great conference but not technical enough for my taste.

Watch Wes Bos’s talk (slides) for good javascript insights and all talks can be found here: SmashingConf NY 2019 videos.

Lightning fast performance with Scott Jehl.

Spending a whole day digging deep into performance sounded like a great way to spend a Monday so I had booked.
The venue for the workshop was located at Microsoft, just a short walk from my hotel so I had plenty of time to get a good nights sleep, eat a steady breakfast and still make the 9 o’clock start without any problems.

Scott Jehl was really easy going and the workshop covered tools to measure performance and how to mitigate issues.
I would however have liked more nitty gritty details and less time spent on using online tools.

The Move Fast & Don’t Break Things-talk that Scott held on the second day of the conference was a distilled version of the workshop so check it out if you’re interested.

In the evening I attended a Shopify-hosted jam session with lightning talks from Shopify, Microsoft, Forestry (about TinaCMS!) and a few others talkers.

Conference day one

The conference took place at the New world stages close to time square.
The main stage was a musical theatre which worked well but the rest of the venue was quite cramped.

Many of the talks were more of the UX/inspirational kind which can be nice, but I’m more of a hands on person so my favourites were the following.

Marcy Sutton on Garbage Pail Components is a talk about accessibility with an 80’s twist (and not even the first 80’s flashback this conference).

Wes Bos on Slam Dunk Your JavaScript Fundamentals is jam packed with new APIs that you might not have heard of yet, especially the Intl-object.

In the evening the SmashingConf party took place at Waylon bar where speakers and participants got to mingle. I met lots of friendly people from both sides of the pond and had a great time.

Conference day two

With a slight hangover and not enough sleep I went to see the mystery speaker dina Amin who makes wonderful stop-motion shorts with old discarded electrical devices.

Another fun talk was the Using a Modern Web to Recreate 1980s Horribly Slow & Loud Loading Screen-talk where Remy Sharp recreated the loading screens of his old 80’s Sinclair Spectrum computer. All ending with a photo of the audience being transformed to the Spectrum image format and shown on the big screen

Next.js with Remy Sharp

With the conference over I still had a workshop day to look forward to so I went back to the Microsoft office to learn some next.js!

The workshop was good with all the basics of next.js covered, I had already tinkered with next.js (my homepage runs for example) so most things were familiar but luckily I had not read up on the changes in 9.1 so I did learn some new tricks.

All in all I had a great week in NYC and I met lots of great people but I would have liked if the conference and workshops were a bit more technical.