Regularly online developer conferences: An impossible post

29 June 2020

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This is a post long in the making, even before the days of our global pandemic and quarantines. In fact, I have been attempting to write this post for so long (6 weeks and counting) that I have deemed this post to be “impossible”. However, before I go there, let’s start with why I wanted to write this post to begin with.

I love conferences. Developer conferences are the perfect places for me to stretch my geek-legs. I can see what other people are are working on. I can hear different perspectives about development best practices. Occasionally, I even hear interesting debates between competing Javacript libraries. Plus, I love speaking at conferences (which is the ultimate surprise to anyone who knew me 20+ years ago, but that is another story for another time).

After having my daughter, my conference attendance drastically decreased. OK, let’s get real. It stopped. Hard stop. I don’t have time to go to conferences. I don’t have a local someone who can take care of a toddler for several days while I am out of town. And, while I love my daughter, the idea of bringing an almost 2-year old to a developer conference frankly sounds like a recipe for disaster and chaos. I would rather save the chaos for home.

This is how I started my search for online conferences. In retrospect, I wish I had started this search much sooner because the appearance of COVID-19 has caused many normally-in-person conferences to go virtual. And this brings me to why this post is impossible. Every conference is online right now. Every. Conference.

This is amazing for someone like me, a conference lover who is unable to travel for conferences. (I mean, assuming you ignore the fact that this is all due to COVID-19.)

However, this also makes it really hard to conduct research on which conferences are always online vs. which ones are just online for right now. This also gives me no insight into what the future holds. (Oh, my queendom for a crystal ball.) Will previously in-person conferences stay online? Will they also include online streaming options? Will new online-only conferences be born? Or, will conferences double-down on their in-person-ness after we are no longer in pandemic mode?

Always online conferences, the short list.

Only time will tell, which means I will probably get back to this post in a year or so. However, I would like to present to you the extremely short list of conferences that I could find and verify that they have been online-only in the “before time”.

The following list is in no particular order of relevance. (I mean, it’s alphabetical. Is that relevant?) I am also including the month in which the conference has usually occurred in the past, for reference and convenience.