Philly ETE 2023 — Your Browser is Pooped: Using Web Workers To Create A Browser-Based Barcode Scanner — Drew DeCarme



JavaScript-heavy applications have taken over the planet. In the span of 10-15 years, we’ve gone from using JavaScript to animate a few actions on our websites, to powering the largest social networks that touch almost every aspect of this world. Much has been regarded about the power of JavaScript and the versatility of the language, but in these conversations we always neglect to mention our friend: the browser.

The browser is exhausted. Megabytes of scripts are run simultaneously to power our JS libraries and frameworks to order products, talk with our friends, and watch videos. Much of these processes are handled on the main thread, because modern browsers these days are built to operate at Mach 8. But we must ask ourselves the question… why? Why do we enjoy beating the UI thread into submission?

Call it a lack of understanding, or good real-world examples, or whatever. We need to give the main thread a break.

In this talk we’re going to look an extremely practical use case for leveraging web workers to give our browser a chance to breathe and do what it’s best at doing: displaying stuff. We’re going to dive deep into the concepts related to async worker processing and thread communication. We’ll build a 100% web-based barcode scanner and test it using real devices. We’ll talk about browser garbage collection, and use some browser based tools to evaluate memory usage.

Believe me, your browser — and your end user — will love you for it.

About Drew DeCarme

Drew found his love for interface engineering very early on in his career, and hasn’t looked back since. After almost 10 years specializing in the front-end space and working for all sizes and shapes of companies, Drew has finally found a home here with us at Chariot as a front-end consultant.

He loves everything there is about engineering and is always trying new things, but his passion and specialty lies in front-end architecture, scalable design pattens, and pretty much everything CSS. As a recent convert to TypeScript, Drew spends his time working to apply the principles of type safety to the buildings blocks of design systems, and playing with his daughter’s toys.

About the Conference

The Philly Emerging Technologies for the Enterprise (ETE) is the Mid-Atlantic’s premier developer’s conference. Entering its 17th year, we’ve brought world-class speakers — including some local favorites — to speak about leading-edge technologies being used today, and emerging technologies that will be important for attendees to know about in the near future.

Watch More

Check out our YouTube playlist to watch all the talks from Emerging Technologies for the Enterprise 2023.