February 14, 2013

Building the JavaScript Community in Kharkiv

At Waverley we’re keenly aware that HTML5 / JavaScript is gaining ground as a technology for the development of cross-platform mobile apps. Already strong in the desktop space, JavaScript is still finding its legs in mobile app development. Although it can present some performance challenges (compared with native code) it continues to generate significant interest from developers and clients alike.

Kharkiv, Ukraine, home to Waverley’s largest development center, has many professional communities. In the software space, Ruby, .NET, Java, and iOS developers are all represented. But, until recently, not JavaScript. In November 2012, recognizing the increasing relevance of JavaScript to mobile app development, Waverley organized the first gathering of Kharkiv’s JavaScript community, attracting more than 80 professionals.

JS-Kharkiv

Waverley’s top developers Nikita Tratyakov and Nick Nilga each delivered presentations to the audience. Nikita’s topic was “Web Arsenal for Mobile Application Development” in which he compared several frameworks for implementing object-oriented development (OOD) patterns such as MVC, MVP and MVVM in JavaScript. Nick Nilga’s presentation centered around his experience using PhoneGap to package mobile HTML5 / JavaScript apps into a native shell.

In December, Waverley continued to support the Kharkiv JavaScript community, which now has a LinkedIn group. We were the gold partner of the first Kharkiv JS conference (www.kharkivjs.com), which drew 300+ people from all over Eastern Ukraine – a great success! The conference confirmed that developers’ interest in the HTML5 / JavaScript technology stack is growing. Of particular interest was the participation of the gaming industry, with many engineers creating games for Facebook and other social networks in JavaScript.

Until recently, many developers thought of JavaScript as a “supporting” language which allowed them to “spice up” the UI of their web app. But we now see a new generation of engineers who embrace HTML5 / JavaScript as a solid platform for all of their front end development needs. These developers have used “traditional” platforms such as .NET and Java, and have excelled at developing beautiful UI for their apps in Silverlight or Flash. Now, with both of these technologies on their way out, these developers are looking at HTML5/JavaScript as at the next big thing in UI development.

JavaScript is much easier to pick up than traditional “heavyweight” server-side technologies. With solid OOP knowledge, a good mentor, and sufficient motivation, an average web developer can master JavaScript in a matter of weeks. That’s why growing the community is vital for promoting HTML5 / JavaScript as a technology of choice for cross-platform mobile app development.

Waverley plans to continue supporting local communities of JavaScript professionals. The next gathering in Kharkiv was conducted on February 5th. The topic was “Scalable Javascript Architecture and Widget-Based Development. Kernel.js, ScaleApp, Aura.js and Terrific.” At Waverley we believe the future is mobile, and that the future of mobile development is JavaScript. The technology is still in the first quadrant of the bell curve and is rapidly ramping up. We’re helping Kharkiv’s engineering talent pool ramp with it.