I’m sitting in a little room buried underneath the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland and I’m here for my third XOXO. And I can’t stop smiling.
Although the festival is not entirely focused on coding and front-end development, there are a lot of developers here that make art on the web for fun. From Jenn Schiffer’s pixel art to Monica Dinculescu’s emoji projects and Nicole He’s buck-wild enhance.computer, there’s a lot of interesting discussions about coding — but! — it’s from a very different perspective than the one I’m familiar with.
Most conferences tend to focus on being practical. Here’s the newest technique! Here’s how to improve your career! Here’s the coolest new folks that you should be following! But it’s important to remember that the web isn’t only a serious place for serious work. It can be this entirely other thing, too.
The web can be for fun. It can be utterly weird and unexpected. And that’s what we’re all seeing in this little room right now at XOXO; websites that can’t be monetized, websites that can’t be controlled by corporate interests or giant ad networks.