JSFoo 2017

JSFoo is a conference about JavaScript and everything related.


Tiny Computers, JavaScript and MIDI

Submitted by George Mandis (@georgemandis) on Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Section: Full Talk Technical level: Intermediate Status: Confirmed & Scheduled

View proposal in schedule


We’re living the halcyon days of tiny computers and JavaScript, but MIDI is a technology that’s been around for much longer. In this talk we’ll explore why it’s implementation and prevalence in hardware makes for a uniquely intriguing and accessible platform for creative coding.


Tiny computers such as the RaspberryPi, Arduino and C.H.I.P. have finally reached a level of performance and affordability that makes hardware experimentation accessible to everyone. At the same time, JavaScript has emerged as the lingua franca of web programming and can be found in many places beyond just the browser.

What if I told you there was a mature protocol that’s been around since 1983 and was uniquely poised to take advantage of this development?

Well, wonder no more and meet MIDI!

Sitting at convergence of these two things is MIDI — a niche protocol that’s been around since 1983 and was originally designed for musical instruments to communicate with one another. It’s event-oriented approach to messaging feels right at home in the asynchronous world of JavaScript & Node, and the prevalence of MIDI support in older musical equipment means you can find unique, hackable and affordable hardware at your local pawnshop or Craig’s List.

This unlikely tech stack — Tiny Computers + JavaScript + MIDI — can lend itself to creative programming beyond music. George’s Talk will explain how to get started, walk through several examples and elaborate on the future of this stack, not only as a platform for experimentation but for education as well.

Speaker bio

George Mandis is a freelance web developer, consultant, frequent traveler and occasional educator based primarily out of Portland, Oregon. He’s worked with startups, professional sports teams, small businesses and individuals but excels at helping people find elegant solutions for their projects. He spent a year living as a digital nomad, inadvertently cheated at a marathon in North Korea and writes frequently on technology and travel on his website.



  •   Sandhya Ramesh (@sandhyaramesh) 2 years ago

    Hi George! We’re looking at your proposal and love it! Could you upload your slide deck and maybe a preview video so that we can move forward with this?

  •   George Mandis (@georgemandis) Proposer 2 years ago

    Hi Sandhya,

    Thank you very much! That’s quite exciting.

    I’m still working on my slide deck, but would expect to have that more complete in a couple weeks. The preview video I wasn’t planning on, but I could try that as well, though it may take me a little bit longer.

    Can we continue the discussion in the meantime? Also, are you looking for a complete slide deck or something more like a preview?

  •   George Mandis (@georgemandis) Proposer 2 years ago

    I’ve uploaded my slides here:

    There are some interactive components to the presentation/slides and I run it as HTML on my laptop however. I have it backed up to a private GitHub repo. It’s staged and ready to run on a remote server or another person’s computer should something happen.

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