Welcome, welcome everyone to a new episode of that's my JAMstack the podcast where we explore the deepest parts of the developer psyche by asking, what's your jam in the JAMstack. On today's episode we're chatting with Jenn Creighton, Jenn is a conference speaker and the organizer of useReact NYC. She's also the front end architect for The Wing.
Sure. So I am a front end architect at a company called The Wing. We work on building out co working spaces that are really geared towards women. So we're thinking a lot about what women need in those spaces, and also there's a lot of networking events and things like that in our spaces.
So I'm the front end architect there, I lead all of front end. I help ensure our system stays healthy. I work on our technical decisions there. You can already tell I'm a lot of fun because I really love tech. And honestly, like what I do for fun, I'm usually at a conference. I'm usually speaking at a conference, I really, really enjoy giving technical talks. So you will find that I'm often at a conference, I travel a lot to do that. I did 14 conferences last year, which I won't be repeating but it was a lot of fun. I had a good time. And if I'm genuinely not doing any tech related things, I am probably with my cats or my puppy or I am sewing. I really enjoy sewing.
Her name IS Sailor Moon. She is named after the you know, Sailor Guardian Sailor Moon and she's a little blonde dachsund and, and I grew up watching Sailor Moon. I loved that show. I would watch it so much. And when I was thinking of names for her, I really want something kind of fun. So I picked out that it's really great too, because when you tell people her name, you can tell if they watch the show or not. Because they're either That is amazing. Or they're Wow, that's a lot of a name.
I actually haven't sold in a long time because of the mentioned 14 conferences. So actually did not so I think anything last year. No, that's not true. Wait, I took a sewing class in November as my like, you're gonna do it and I sewed a pair of pants for the first time I took a sewing class to like force myself into a non tech hobby, which is a good thing to do once in a while.
Some months were grouped together. Um, let's see, I think I know at least I did, in September, I did two. And I traveled really far for them. So I did JS Conf Korea, and Components Comf in Australia together. And I think I had some some weeks and breaks there but a couple of them were like, in the same month and so I would knock out like two or three in the same month and then have like a little bit of a break which usually Wasn't a break. Like between Components Conf and React Conf. I actually had to write my React Conf talk.
It's so not glamorous, it's so exhausting. And yet, we can like people who enjoy it can't stop doing it. I don't know if you remember this, but there was a survey that came out many many years ago that said that people are more afraid of public speaking than they are of death. And so conference speaking is actually like a near death experience. As you get like this ridiculous rush, you're terrified you feel great afterwards. You're like, I'll just do it again.
I just watched the the Imagineering story the the story of all like the Disney theme park building and all that. And it talks about all the all the rides and how the goal is to make people feel like they're about to die without getting them actually all the way to death. So it's the same basic principle just with public speaking.
I think that happens with code too, Like, I just spent two days solving this issue of my tests failing on circle ci when they weren't failing locally. And I wanted to die. I want to lay down and die. I was like, take me, Lord, now and then I figured it out. I felt great.
So both of them are using Gatsby, but the marketing site is Gatsby plus Contentful. So that of course, our marketing people can make their own changes to the site, and we don't have to be, you know, nudged. "Hey Can you do a thing?"
"Please make this change." So it gives them the freedom to do that without having to wait on us to make changes. It gives us the freedom not to think about the marketing site, very much. Then for useReactNYC, we wanted to create a website for the meetup so that people could learn more about us what we're about, and also join our community, both by attending the meetups, but also by joining our slack community, and also by helping us to build the site. And since we're a React meetup, it made a lot of sense that this would be a static site, and that we would make it with Gatsby.
Right now let's just manual entry. We definitely want to expand it at some point. We're just not sure that we have the time right now between the five organizers that there are, we actually took on another organizer this year to make five of us Yuraima joined us and we have just all been really stretched thin. So even with the fifth organizer, we're still like "huuu", but we're hopefully gonna start recording the meetup soon and hopefully we'll also host them there so that people can view the content.
Yeah, we did have a particular member of the community, Nick, who came in and helped us really do a lot of work on the site, when we were all stretched very thin. And my very good friend Melissa, helped us actually by creating the design of the site, and it's really beautiful. She did a wonderful job. She also designed our stickers. So really, like all community events, it is really like we wouldn't have done it without the community like helping us out. That's was important.
Cool. So uh, are you You said that the marketing site at The Wing is currently built on Gatsby. What other sorts of projects do you work on at The Wing other than obviously getting the word out about these kind of co-working spaces?
So what what I personally work on is that I work on our single page application. So Gatsby is for our marketing site. But we do have a single page application that is for our members. That's our members portal as well as an admin site for us to handle things like applications or members, information, adjusting settings for them, so on and so forth. But our members portal is where everything really happens for them, they're allowed to find other people in the community and chat with them. There are job postings on the site as well. And there are a lot of events at The Wing that are very specific to what our members want to hear and see. And so they can RSVP for those as well on the site, as well as just the general thing of like adjusting settings or registering guests. So I work on all of that and as we try to build out new features that are going to help our members connect more and forum like real in life connections are putting a lot of those in this single page application.
Very cool. And so just like -- I have a degree in philosophy, so I have to sometimes dive into philosophy on the podcast -- So where would you kind of consider kind of breakpoint, because you said, you know, I'm using the JAMstack for the marketing site. And for the meetup site, I've always kind of thought of any SPA as having JAMstack asked qualities. Where do you kind of draw that line? Like, what what's JAMstack versus non JAMstack for you.
I gotcha. Cool. That's the the kind of fun thing about running this podcast is that I hear lots of opinions. And they literally run the full gamut of like, everything's the JAMstack to like, even smaller like subsets. And it's just yeah, it's awesome.
Not specifically? I think Gatsby comes with a lot of wonderful things that are not even technically part of JAMstack, right. Like I would say I would say that there is a great amount of focus on accessibility and Gatsby I really, really appreciate that. And that is something we're really focused on at work. So like many startups, so our product team is really new at the way. And like many startups, the first version of our product was built externally by a third party. And so we're now as a product team, picking it up and sort of changing the architecture and making it more of a long term scalable application. And that includes taking a look at our accessibility and realizing that we're really far off the mark right now. And we need to do something about that. I really appreciate that Gatsby, in addition to using JAMstack is actually really like moving forward with accessibility and giving you a lot of information about that along the way.
Yeah. And the great thing for me is that there's so many people jumping on Gatsby right now, just in terms of like, it is like probably one of the hotness is in the JAMstack right now. And to have that their focus so that people who might not have learned about accessibility in the are getting those tips and tricks just by having that in their code base by default. I think that's amazing.
Yeah, exactly. And that's one of the things I really enjoy about that project. And that's one of the things like, as you're working on that, you get to learn that you can bring that to all your future projects. It's not specific to the JAMstack. It is all about the web.
I think Gatsby is the main one. Obviously, we're really enjoying also Netlify and being able to like push things out really easy. So we use Netlify also for our preview links at work which is really great. So just definitely enjoying that. But yeah, I think definitely Gatsby considering that I've used it at work and now in this useReactNYC project.
So my number one thing right now is Halsey. Which is strange. I didn't listen to her before, but I actually so I'm a big fan of Saturday Night Live. I love Saturday Night Live. And she hosted not that long ago. And she was the host and the musical guests. And I wasn't familiar really with her music, but she had this song on there, You Should Be Sad. And I just fell in love with it. So I've actually been playing that on repeat for like a while. I love her vocals on it. It like just makes me feel really good.
And sometimes we like to go old school like country. Little little like kind of plucky banjo sound You know, really enjoy that sometimes. So I went through an Iggy Azalea phase. That was an interesting period of my life.
Sometimes my my discover weekly on Spotify, I think is consistently confused. It's like, remember when you were sad? Well, here's all the sad songs and I'm like, oh, but Spotify. I'm not sad anymore. It's like, Okay. Here's poppy feminist music. I'm like, no, we're not in that mood. We're angry, now. Where's the angry? It's like, I cannot help you, I'm sorry. Sorry, Spotify.
Well, first of all, if they're interested, they can follow me on Twitter. My handle is gurlcode girl with a "u". I'm also going to be speaking here in New York at React Day New York. Later in September, I'm going to be speaking about some things I have learned going from React to React Native, which is a whole new world for me. And then I'm also developing a course on React component architecture. That's my, my favorite sort of subject. I'm developing it for Thinkster. So that should be coming out, I think in a few months, if I have enough time to do all the recordings
Very cool. And also, I haven't watched it yet, but I'm super excited now that I've seen it to go watch your the "What happens next", the choose your own adventure with iterators. Like, I have to go watch that I saw that topic. I said, Okay, carving out the time for that one.
And as always, thank you to the amazing JAMstack community, your continued support via shares, likes favorites, and all those mechanisms is so incredible that I literally just don't have the words to deal with it.
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