Discover Meteor Day workshop @ Meteor HQ

The other day, I came across this (somewhat controversial) article: Why Meteor will kill Ruby on Rails.

As someone learning to build things with Rails, but also aware that it's no longer considered cutting-edge technology, I was pretty curious to find out what Meteor was all about, and whether it resembles something that could form the next trend in web apps.

I noticed that Meteor HQ was hosting Discover Meteor Day on December 14th, so I decided to go along and learn about it.

Meteor is a framework for creating real-time web apps - the sort of thing you might otherwise achieve with Angular or Backbone on the client side with a different back end - except Meteor was designed for all levels of the stack to be geared towards making these kind of event-driven interfaces available.

It uses JavaScript both client and server side (in a Node.js wrapper), and has an official library of packages you can incorporate for specific functionality, plus lots more available through Atmosphere, its community-made packages directory.

It works by continually caching a subset of your database in the client, which allows for near instant updates, happening simultaneously for all users of your app.

The format of the event was 4 hours of following the Discover Meteor book, which they'd made freely available for the day, with a view to building a basic Hacker News/Reddit clone.

I got to try out a few new technologies, like Handlebars for front-end templating and MongoDB for the database, and even though I didn't have time to get much done other than a very basic version of the test app, it was definitely a fun idea to play with. Now I just need more project ideas that would benefit from the super fast real-time updating capabilities it provides.