Epic Web Conf '24 Speakers

Alex Anderson

Spaceship Enthusiast

Watch Talk


  • Wednesday, 7:50 PM8:10 PM
    The Recipe for Local-First
  • Thursday, 11:55 AM12:00 PM
    The Recipe for Local-First


Alex makes fancy websites with React, TypeScript, and Remix. His fanciest website is Thorium, a multiplayer starship bridge simulator game. He enjoys cooking tasty food and baking delicious bread.


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Hey everybody, this is Alex Anderson I'm super excited for Alex to be speaking at epic webconf in April and I want you to get to know him a little bit He's a good friend of mine. Alex. Can you introduce yourself to us for sure? I am a software developer at echo bind. We're an agency that makes fancy websites for folks

I also have a little side project that is a spaceship bridge simulator game built with web technologies So everyone can get together and pretend roleplay as if they're on the bridge of the Enterprise flying a ship through space So that's called thorium. That's a good fun And I like to bake and

Yeah Awesome yeah, I'm actually curious about the the ship emulator the bridge emulator We've talked about this before you've actually been on my podcast before folks can take a look at that

But I think lots of people are gonna be like, whoa. Whoa ship emulator. Like what is this? So it this is And correct me if I'm wrong just like for Like science centers where they have a built-in install of these different Consoles I guess or terminals where you can sit and you know

It kind of set up like it's the bridge on the Enterprise or something like that Or is this a game that people can play on their own? Like when organized their own little bridge at home, how does that typically work? Yeah I got my start at one of these space centers In Utah where they have fifth and sixth graders come for field trips

So half of the field trip is spent learning about science and space and light and gravity and stuff And then the other half they spend in the simulators doing these live-action missions where each of them has the different job So those are physical sets that look like bridge like starship bridges, which is really cool

but as I've come to find it actually is a whole genre of Video games and there are a couple of them out there that you can do this in your living room with friends. So Artemis is the big one that folks probably have heard of there's another one called empty Epsilon another called starship horizons These are all pretty easy to Google

That all kind of do the same thing in your living room And I'm working on a version that also you can do in your living room But it's open source and built on the web. So If anyone wants to go to better, hey, I mean, I'm not gonna say that the web or open source is better or worse but it's just my differentiating factor

Yeah. Yeah, very cool. That's that's a lot of fun. I I really enjoyed those the intersection between software and the real world and finding ways to To use software not to escape from the real world, but to experience the real world and more deeply I guess. Mm-hmm

Yeah for sure cool, so You're coming to Utah again your old stomping grounds for epic webconf and You're gonna be speaking about local first development something that's been on the minds of a lot of people Do you want to talk a little bit about what you're thinking for your talk?

yeah, local first was first coined by an article written by a research team called ink and switch Where they talk about seven different? Ideals of software that apps can try and embody And they they wrapped it all up in local first architecture

So things like the data lives on your device, which means you're able to access it really quickly But it still synchronizes to the web so that you can collaborate with other people And you have control over your data instead of just giving your data to a giant megacorp and having no idea

What control you have over that data in the future things like that? As it turns out the reason you don't see a whole lot of local first apps is because it's really hard to do especially on the web just because of some of the deficiencies Deficiencies some of the decisions that web browsers have made trade-offs

in the name of privacy and security which is a little ironic given that local first is a lot about privacy and security, but The one example is Safari web browser will indiscriminately delete data if you haven't visited a website in so many days Just to make it harder for for people to track you online. So trade-offs

That's not to say it isn't valuable to do things That are part of this local first ideology on websites and I'll show an example of an app that I've built using remix in as a server rendered app that

Ended up not working very well for me because I needed to use it in a place that I didn't have an internet connection and so I would make requests and they'd fail and I'd be like Oh now I can't use any of my app because I don't have an internet connection to get to a good page again So having the app all of the code and the data for that app be local to my device

Makes it so that I can continue using that app Even if I don't have an internet connection, which is pretty common using this particular type of app I don't want to give away what the app is yet, but there's a hint to it in the title of my talk

Okay, all right, well, I don't want to spoil anything either so I I'm not gonna start making guesses but yeah that I think Relatively recently is when Client loader and client action showed up. Is that gonna have a pretty big? Or is that a big aspect of what makes this work with the remix app?

For sure, it makes it a little bit easier still a little it's it's tricky to do well But it makes it a little bit easier. You don't have to jump through so many hoops because of what remix provides to you with those Those tools and it makes it easy to combine

Local data from your device with data from the cloud from your server still so you can still have server-side rendering for Bots and crawlers and for progressive enhancement when you do have an internet connection While falling back to the local first data when you're offline

Hmm. Yeah, that makes sense. Very cool. Well, I think I guess one other question that I have about this topic Before we get to the talk in in April Is do you see this? The entire set of features like those seven principles

being like really necessary for a lot of like most apps or are is there like a spectrum of like You know different features can be useful for different types of apps Yeah, I think that it is possible to embody all seven in an app But like I said earlier not on the web

But embodying some of those principles, which I'll reiterate in the talk and you can go look at the the local first Paper that was written by ink and switch if you want to see all seven of them You can pick and choose from them certainly to make your app better more robust more collaborative that kind of thing And there are a lot of tools that lets you do that already

Which I'll do a survey of in the talk as well Cool. Well, I'm looking forward to that for sure. I think that's going to be a very interesting talk The last thing that I want to ask you about is when we're there at the conference You definitely want to talk with people who are there and everything. So I'm going to On your behalf. I'm inviting attendees to come talk to Alex

But what are some of the things that you're excited to talk with people about at the event I'm Interested to see I Guess what people are building themselves What what most fascinates me is I talk about my cool spaceship project and people like ooh

And then other people talk about their cool side projects and I'm like, ooh There's just a lot of cool people doing cool things that it's not super visible because they're not on Twitter or they're not They're not advertising themselves as much as other things are Hmm, but still being able to hear about those things in person is very cool. So

Even even if your cool side project is a new recipe for for bread Because I like baking That sounds great. Yeah. Yes, you could talk to me about my bread recipes, too. I'd be happy to share them. I Have a friend we went over to his house for dinner last week

And he had some bread that he'd made and he just got into making bread because it's kind of fun I guess so it is maybe I should look into that It is the gift that keeps on giving anything related to cooking because people love food They will always be happy when you give them free delicious food

Mmm, yeah, that makes sense. All right. Hey, thanks Alex looking forward to seeing you in Park City in April likewise Bye everybody