React Miami 2023 Highlights

Kyle / May 8, 2023 in 

The good vibes and great weather of React Miami are behind us, which means it’s time to reflect on some of our favorite talks. This year’s conference slate included a diverse category of topics. We started with the latest hot topic – AI and GitHub’s Copilot. From there we touched on everything from libraries related to React and Front-end development as a whole, to discussions about managing your mental health. This conference had it all!

Here are three standout workshops that stuck with us:

  1. The Best JavaScript is No JavaScript
  2. The Unexpected States of Burnout
  3. Modern Redux with Redux Toolkit

The Best JavaScript is No JavaScript

Speaker: Una Kravets

We assumed this talk would be about JavaScript’s overuse in modern websites. That was true in a way, but this one focused more narrowly on JavaScript’s overuse in styling your content. Una Kravets’s talk opened our eyes to the possibilities modern CSS gives us in creating engaging interactive websites with minimal effort. Here are some quick takeaways:


Take a look at this for responsive fonts. Clamp allows you to easily transition between large fonts on bigger layouts and smaller fonts on more condensed layouts. Learn more.

sin(), cos(), tan()

Dust off your high school trigonometry! These newer functions can help you create awesome radial transitions and layouts.


This attribute isn’t ready for mainstream use yet, but it’ll offer built-in accessibility semantics, common popover functionality like esc key handling, and more! Learn more.


A relational selector like :has has (ha!) been a long time coming. jQuery provided the ability to do something similar with JavaScript since 2007. But this isn’t about JavaScript, we’re talking pure CSS now! Learn more.

view-timeline, animation-timeline, view()

Have you ever used a website that engages with the user while they scroll? Maybe an image comes to the forefront, or some text is highlighted to draw attention to important information. We love that effect, but it does take some JavaScript to set up… for now. These new animation properties and functions allow you to handle all of this in pure CSS.

This is just a taste of what Una showed us, so make sure you check out the full video (below) to see it all. There are exciting times ahead for front-end developers! We’re seeing continued browser support for powerful built-ins that can help us create more engaging and thought-provoking apps and websites with ease.


The Unexpected States of Burnout

Speaker: Jenny Truong

This was one of the talks we were most excited about. Mental health in the workplace is an oft-overlooked topic. Jenny Truong helped shed light on stress, burnout, happy chemicals, and more. A wild highlight that stood out for us is there are a whopping 12 stages of burnout. Finally, she discussed a recovery framework to help get people back on a stress-reduced path.

Here’s a high-level look at some of the recovery framework examples:

Mental Distance

We’re sure more than a few of you reading this have trouble saying no to requests. We love to help others, and so we keep piling on to our workload until we’re overstressed. Two ways we can help take care of ourselves in this respect is to reset expectations and reset priorities. When we reset expectations, we tell people “no” sometimes, so that we don’t become cynical to others when they ask for help (e.g. “I’m sorry but I won’t be able to give that my best.”). When we reset priorities, we make ourselves a priority before others. You can’t keep giving if you have nothing left to give (e.g. “I’d love to help you, but now is not the right time.”).

Feeling less than

Imposter Syndrome is a common feeling in the Software Engineering community where we feel like we don’t belong. Our colleagues are so much smarter than us, our work is subpar, etc. The first step in reversing this is to build internal validation. Pat yourself on the back! You’re awesome and you deserve to be here. Think of all the awesome things you’ve accomplished since you’ve been here. Can’t remember? Start a work journal and write down your accomplishments at regular intervals.

Emotional Exhaustion

This was one of our favorite sections. This was all about rest (no not that REST). Jenny challenged us to redefine what “productive” looks like, and learn the seven areas of rest:

  • Social rest
  • Physical rest
  • Emotional rest
  • Creative rest
  • Spiritual rest
  • Mental rest
  • Sensory rest

One of our biggest takeaways from this talk was Jenny’s comment, “Rest is also being productive. Productivity is not just TODO lists.” We love it, and in that case we won’t feel guilty about taking a quick ping-pong break. 😉

We only skimmed the surface of Jenny’s talk here. There was so much more insightful knowledge and wisdom. If you’re interested in learning more, Jenny recommended Sacred Rest by Saundra Dalton-Smith. We’re definitely going to grab that!


Modern Redux with Redux Toolkit

Speaker: Mark Erikson

We have a confession to make – we’ve never been big on Redux. That might not sound blasphemous today with the myriad state management options available, but Redux was once THE state library to use. Instead, we found ourselves using more Angular-specific libraries like NGXS. Want to know why we opted for that over Redux?

The main reason was Redux required just too much boilerplate code.

Developers long for tools that help them avoid monotonous and arduous tasks. Redux didn’t do a great job of that at the time. And that friends, is where Redux Toolkit comes in.

Mark Erikson gave an excellent talk highlighting all that RTK can do, and why you should use it. Besides the awesome functions it provides to reduce the typical boilerplate and speed up creating your state logic (configureStore, createReducer, createAction, etc.), it also includes a data fetching and caching tool in RTK Query (similar to React Query). Mark then gave a shout-out to Immer, an immutability library. Immer helps us write even more succinct code that guarantees immutability when updating your state. We’ve used it in some of our Angular projects, and let’s just say we’re ecstatic about Immer too. The cherry on top? RTK is written in TypeScript.

Mark did mention there are still some kinks to work out with things like Next.js support. He explained that the multi-page architecture inherent in Next makes RTK integration more complicated. We’re excited to see how that plays out given that we’re big fans of Next right now.

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