SitePoint(Shaumik): How did you enter the world of web development?
Mark: I got my first taste of web development when I bought a book called “Creative Web Design” in 1999, using it to teach myself HTML on a computer without an internet connection. I was then lucky enough to land a job doing in-house web design work while still in high school, which allowed me to work as a front-end developer before the job title even existed.
SitePoint: Although node.js is gaining popularity, it still hasn’t released its first stable version yet. Do you think it can take over PHP, Python or Ruby in backend development in the near future?
Mark: Probably not, but I think we’re seeing a move away from monolithic backends towards more specialised services. With this kind of architecture, we’re likely to see much more diversity in technology choices, opening the door to a greater percentage of projects using Node somewhere in their stack.
Mark: Between global objects, AMD, CommonJS and now ES6 modules, our front-end ecosystem is so fragmented when it comes to creating modular code. I wish there could have been a module system and official package manager from day one, like we have with Node. I think we would all be be much further ahead if this had been the case.
SitePoint: Which project of yours are you most proud of?
SitePoint: How did you become the lead organiser of MelbJS?
Mark: I caught wind of MelbJS on Twitter a few years ago when Anette Bergo was running it at the Thoughtworks offices. MelbJS very quickly outgrew the small space we had available, so we moved to the Aconex offices nearby. I started working as a UI engineer at Aconex so I naturally became much more involved in the meetup. Anette had to hand over the reigns, so I stepped up as the lead organiser, making sure that we have an awesome lineup each month. I created a new website, helped streamline our registration process, and started promoting the event more on Twitter, all of which played at least some part in helping MelbJS really grow in popularity over the months and years that followed.
SitePoint: How does one become a part of the MelbJS community?
Mark: Just show up and say hi! MelbJS is a very welcoming community, and I’m always pushing for new speakers to come forward. Since our meetup has grown so much, a lot of new faces come and go, so it’s a really good idea to hang around afterwards and talk to the speakers and organisers. If you’re working on something cool, it would be great to have you share it with everyone.
SitePoint: What kind of activities constitute the MelbJS meetups? What are your plans for the future?
Mark: Our current format is made up of four presentations around 20 minutes each, with a break in the middle for pizza and drinks. For three years running now we’ve teamed up with Web Directions Code so we can get some international speakers involved and run a speaker Q&A panel, which always proves to be one of our biggest events each year. Our standard format has been running pretty smoothly for a while now, but there has been some talk about ways in which we can improve things. We might be rolling out some new ideas soon, but to see what they are, you’ll have to come along!