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React 2017: Conference Guide

The React.js community is young, but mighty. Over the past year, contributions have poured into the React project. Tools and frameworks like Flux, Redux, React Native and Relay continue to evolve. And the community has grown to include diverse gatherings across continents. With conferences from the United States to Israel, there is a React event for nearly every place, if not everyone.

At open source conferences, you have the opportunity to meet leaders and maintainers of projects, learn how contributors are writing more efficient code and grow as a developer. Everyone loves a conference sticker, but the long-term impact of getting involved in the open source movement is so much more. Many React developers leave conferences feeling energized, inspired and more connected to the community building the future of user interfaces. 

Before we review some of the conferences coming up, let’s take a look back at events worth noting in 2016. Truthfully, this past year didn’t feature a constant stream of earth-shattering announcements, but it didn’t need to. The React community’s momentum is evident in the return of bigger and better conferences and the spread of meet-ups across the world.

A quick review of 2016

At the React.js Conference in February, Facebook’s product infrastructure team announced they had open sourced Draft.js.

A highlight from React.js Conference 2016.

The React-based rich text editor was heavily used by the team across a range of products for 3 years before becoming the first rich-text framework to be open sourced by Facebook. Another notable announcement from the Facebook team was the move to a new versioning scheme for React. Ben Alpert, an engineer on the core team, presented on the future of React and went into more detail around the move to major versioning with React 15.

Later in the year, events sprang up across Europe and the Middle East. A notable session out of React Amsterdam was presented by MobX author Michel Weststrate on making state management simple and scalable. In Paris, React Europe returned for a second year featuring recognizable community members like Dan Abramov, who wished a Happy Birthday to Redux, a tool he co-created a year ago. At ReactNext in Tel Aviv, newly minted Facebook engineer Andrew Clark walked through the next version of React called Fiber. Andrew described Fiber as “a ground-up re-write of React’s core algorithm.” Fiber isn’t ready yet, but it’s definitely something to look forward to in the new year. Speaking of 2017…

React conferences in 2017

React.js Conference in Santa Clara, California, USA | March 13–14
This is the official React conference put on by Facebook’s core team and those with tickets should count themselves lucky. Over the past two years, the Facebook team has built an intimate and enviable event. Tickets for this single-track conference go fast and with good reason: the main speaker lineup features many of React’s core team and lightning rounds consist of the world’s best front-end engineers.

A preview of what’s coming at React.js Conference in March. Via Twitter.com

This is a true community event where anyone can submit a session and vote on presentations. The first conference in 2015 was held at Facebook HQ before expanding to a larger space in San Francisco. Both events sold out in minutes. In 2017, the location has changed to Santa Clara, California and may signal more availability. If you don’t get tickets, the conference is live-streamed and later on posted to YouTube.

React Amsterdam in Amsterdam, Netherlands | APRIL 21

An engaged, local community, top-notch speakers and a lot of shipping containers: what more could you ask for in a conference? React Amsterdam is a great event for any React developer, but if you reside in the city or close by, this should definitely be on your schedule in 2017. Born out of consistent meet-ups in Amsterdam, this one-day conference is the largest React community gathering in BeNeLux by far. With 500+ developers in attendance in 2016, this event is certainly worth joining.

Reactors gather in the heart of Amsterdam. Via Facebook.com

The speaker list for React Amsterdam is already growing. This year you can expect a few members of Facebook’s core team as well as engineers from companies like Pinterest and Netflix. This is a double-track conference (General and React Native) that follows a 30-minute session policy, and there’s still time to get your proposal in. Want to be in the audience? Get tickets here

React Europe in Paris, France 2017 | MAY 18–19

Enter the premiere React event in Europe. Organizers Patrick Aljord and Katiuska Gamero are the duo running Europe’s biggest React event as well as ngEurope. This team knows a thing or two about throwing a successful conference and the 800+ attendees last year prove as much.

React Europe kicks off with a hackathon in 2016. Via Facebook.com.

React Europe is returning to Paris for four days in 2017, so you’re going to be getting more exposure to the full React ecosystem than at other events. This year’s lineup will cover topics on React.js, React Native, GraphQL, Redux, Relay, Universal apps, inline CSS and more. If you’re looking for some hands-on learning in your conference experience, React Europe is a great choice. Attendees can purchase separate tickets for “pre-event” workshops that take place over two days before the official conference gets underway.

React Rally in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA | SUMMER 2017

This event in the Rocky Mountains is the conference for React developers, by React developers. The organizers made a list of everything they wanted in an ideal community event and produced React Rally. From the long break times to the food truck policy, the experience is customized for 250+ attendees to meet, greet and grow without the pressures of forced networking or session FOMO — it is an “unabashedly” single-track conference according to co-organizer Jamison Dance.

Experience art, tech and React in “Silicon Slopes”. Via Twitter.com.

React Rally does a great job of putting together a speaker lineup that works for those starting out in React as well as more experienced developers. Last year members of the community shared their major learnings from React, Redux, GraphQL, RxJS, PureScript and more. Note that there is no session Q&A on purpose. The hope is that attendees with questions will approach presenters or start a discussion with fellow attendees. This is the kind of thoughtfulness that has made React Rally a community-focused event three years running. Dates aren’t posted for 2017, but stay tuned.

ReactNext in Tel Aviv, Israel | FALL 2017

ReactNext is leading the way for React events in Israel. Not only is it the largest React conference in the the country, but also the first international React conference in the Middle East. Building off the exciting startup culture of Israel and the growing React Meetups in the area, it’s clear the organizers of this conference aren’t holding back. 

ReactNext organizers have put together the largest React event in the Middle East. Via Facebook.com.

The inaugural event this past September featured a double-track agenda spread over two days. The schedule included Redux co-creator Andrew Clark and core contributors to React and topics ranged from React “worst practices” to game development with React Native. There isn’t an official announcement yet, but we’re planning on the return of this sold-out conference. Check their website for 2017 dates.

Reactive in Bratislava, Slovakia | FALL 2017

If a conference had an entire day dedicated to having fun, would you want to attend? That’s Reactive. You’ll have a jam-packed schedule for four days, but you probably wouldn’t want it any other way if you traveled all the way to Slovakia to mingle with 500 of your fellow Reactors. While the journey may be long for some, you won’t regret staying in Bratislava. The city is home to many startups and is at the center of eastern Europe’s exploding tech scene. Slovakian President Andrej Kiska even (virtually) dropped by the conference to wish attendees well.

Meet up with React developers from across the world in Bratislava. Via Twitter.com.

Reactive follows in the footsteps of other conferences with a day of workshops ahead of the main event. Last year, the two-day speaker lineup had a mix of topics that expanded well beyond the technical aspects React and touched on the state of the web ecosystem, testing and UX. On the last day of the conference you can sign up to experience a Slovakian castle with your fellow attendees, among other tours. The organizers at Reactive have yet to release their 2017 plans, but check back for latest news.

Where are you headed in 2017? Is there something we’re missing on this list? We want to hear it, so share your thoughts below.

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