Last Thursday night saw the latest addition in our Trending.JS series of Burns Sheehan Tech Talks. Hosted by Skyscanner in their HQ just off Tottenham Court Road, we were joined by members of London’s JavaScript tech community who came together for an evening of networking and insight provided by speakers from Skyscanner & event partner Compare The Market.

A valued recruitment partner of ours for over a year, this was our third time partnering on an event with Skyscanner. The world’s leading travel search site are going through a period of transformation having recently unveiled their new branding and mission last month - to lead the global transformation to modern and sustainable travel. Partnering on the event and providing two fantastic speakers were the UK’s most loved price comparison site, Compare The Market. Having previously partnered with Compare The Market earlier in the year for our Data Science event: Becoming Data Driven, we were looking forward to hearing from their engineers from a Frontend perspective.

After filling up on tapas and catching up with new and old contacts, we headed in to Skyscanner’s purpose-built amphitheatre to hear from our four speakers of the evening. 

First up was seasoned speaker, Nima Soroush. Nima has been with Skyscanner for over 4 years and having previously spoken at our first Trending.JS event with Skyscanner & Bulb at the beginning of the year, we knew we were in for an informative talk.

Speaking on The Micro Front-End Journey in Skyscanner, Nima took us through the challenges Skyscanner faced whilst updating and scaling up their website, in order to keep up and move ahead of modern trends. After establishing that any changes they wanted to make would take too long and impact too many areas of the site, they looked towards building micro-frontends to break down the different sections and pages into micro-manageable pieces. This solution allowed for a lot more flexibility and control, and with that came heightened creativity and innovation.

Up next was Muireann Gorton. An application architect at Compare The Market for over 3 and a half years, Muireann is on the team responsible for Meerkat Rewards, the reward scheme that brings us Meerkat Meals & Movies. Muireann took us through the journey taken by the CtM rewards team towards the creation of a fault tolerant system, by embracing event-driven architecture. Using Apache Kafka as the Event-Driven Backbone for their system/platform, Muireann demonstrated the necessity of resilience in tech, explaining how it took them three attempts to build a system that could keep up with the high influx of demand, whilst storing and pushing out failed messages in the instance their third parties faced complications.

After a short break to grab some more tapas and continue to mingle, Gary took to the stage with his talk on Embedding Inner Sourcing. As Senior Manager of the Software Engineering Team at Compare The Market for the last three years, Gary splits his time between the product-based teams in London and Peterborough and had just returned from a trip to their Minsk office! Speaking on Compare The Market's inner sourcing model, Gary's talk highlighted the need for collaboration in open source environments and explained how their processes allow developers to take accountability for their code. Establishing and understanding 'what good looks like' as a team, celebrating successes and using public Slack channels to communicate amongst teams were just some of the learnings the team were able to take away from the project.

Last but not least was Senior Software Engineer at Skyscanner, Shaun Donnelly. Shaun is the lead engineer for Backpack, Skyscanner’s design system for mobile and web, and took us through his teams’ journey in re-designing Skyscanner’s mobile and desktop frontend as they underwent their re-brand. The open source nature of Backpack presented the team with challenges as to how they approached the re-brand – how would they remain open-source whilst keeping everything under wraps and preventing any leaks?! Shaun took us through some of the coding tricks they used that allowed the team to successfully re-design the platform in secret and, on the 24th September, Skyscanner successfully launched their new design and mission – without any leaks!

The drinks and conversations continued in the Jack Horner Pub down the road and the night drew to a close. Thank you to everyone who came along and special thanks to Louise Monkhouse at Skyscanner for organising the evening’s talks and our four speakers, Nima Soroush, Muireann Gorton, Gary Stevens & Shaun Donnelly.

There’s not long to wait until our next tech talk … join us for our final Meetup of 2019 on Thursday 28th November as we round off the year with one final JavaScript event in partnership with the Financial Times and Bulb. Follow our Meetup page for more information coming soon and get in touch to let us know of any topics you want to hear about at our tech meetups coming in 2020!