SDD Conference 2016 – A Look Back At Day 1

4apr16_221333       I’m back again. I always look forward to the SDD Conference. They have the knack of finding good speakers, who don’t just talk about text book concepts (they have the battle scars so show they have been there done it / doing it). Whether you want to see powerpoint presentations of code, or want to talk about development processes and architectures, there is always a session that suits. Although the conference runs all week, the first day of the conference for me started today, on Tuesday. As per previous years, collection of the conference pass and materials was quick and easy. I always appreciate a conference where you are provided with bag and some paper and a pen. Although I brought my own, it’s nice to think that the organisers actually think about these things! A quick coffee and breakfast (hot and cold, nice touch) and then it was on to the conference keynote.

Evolutionary Architecture – Neal FordKeynoteImage


I’ll be honest, when I read the overview of the keynote I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it proved to be highly interesting. Neal spoke about the differences in architectural styles, such as domain specific and microservices and how team structures and engineering practices can affect these. What was interesting for me, was having worked (many years ago) as an Enterprise Architect, I could fully appreciate the disconnects between people on projects and within teams. His suggestions around streamlining this and making it simplar rung true. For example, an engineering team build a solution and hand it over to operations. It goes wrong and operations have to fix it. The engineering team are no longer in a relationship with the product. If ‘you build it, you support’ was put in to practice within organisations, it affects the mindset of individuals and can lead to more thought around development, sustainability and future operational requirements. How about building teams based around the project, for example, your architect, BA, operation support, developer, PM, all sat together, working together all the time. Have an operational problem that is halting progress? Operations are represented in your team. No more waiting days for a fix to happen, it can be dealt with there and then. Overall a very interesting talk.

IMG_5769What the changes in .NET mean to you – Kathleen Dollard


I’ve seen Kathleens presentations before and for me they are always informative. She didn’t let me down this time round either. Kathleen discussed the changes (frequent changes) to .Net; what’s new, what’s been dropped, whats being replaced..  as always there’s a lot of content to get through. I think she could easily spend a day discussing the changes. Interesting points for me were better understand .Net 4.6 and Core and how they sit together. It was also interesting to hear that it is opinion that the Mono will eventually go away, since Core is there to bridge the gap across all devices. This is of particular interest to me as I use Xamarin to develop cross platform mobile products for my customers. It is also very interesting on how much technology from Microsoft is also being open sourced now. This can only be a good thing. Being able to work as a community in bettering the frameworks that we as Microsoft developers depend on is something that greatly interests me. As she showed, there has been an incredible amount of interest and interaction from the community already. When you can start talking about 40% performance gains in parts of the core .Net stack and then attribute that to community members, you can’t help but want to get involved. Thanks for a great presentation, as always, Kathleen.

IMG_5785Consuming REST API’s, for all interpretations of REST – Darrel Miller


OK, I’ll put my hands up. REST is a bit new to me. I’ve been a desktop developer for a long time now and it’s only over the past couple of years that I have started to branch out more in to web based application architecture and practices. At the same time, the project I am working on is creating an API for our SAAS based application, which will be REST based. You can see why this session would be of interest to me, right? Darrel had a great way to start the session with a quick round of ‘stump the chump’ – thanks for that Darrel, I’ll be seeing if the web developer at work can play. Darrel talked about the different interpretations of REST, how to consume REST and provided some samples and libraries to take a look at. He also provided an overview of the API economy – which was very interesting. Did you know that there are 13,000 public APIs for you to consume? There were some thought provoking comments from him, since I have an application that has a tightly coupled reliance on an SDK as opposed to using direct http calls. I wont continue to assume that using provided SDKs from 3rd parties is the best approach. It was nice to hear an explanation of REST and what it is and how to architect it, over the usual rhetoric of ‘though shall build like this!’ Overall, the presentation was very useful and informative. Darrel, if read this, you certainly gave me ‘food for thought.’


IMG_5799An Introduction to TypeScript – Andrew Clymer & Richard Blewett

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I have always attended at least one of Andy or Richards presentations at each of the previous SDD conferences and I find myself here again, last session of the day. I haven’t really had to dirty my hands with javascript, but I know the time is coming. TypeScript, apparently, will make more sense to me (a C# guy) than normal javascript. So lets see if Andy and Richards session can teach me something then! Well, today Richard was the code monkey and he has never done any TypeScript before. Here comes the comedy..

So what did I learn? Well I didn’t know that TypeScript was created by Microsoft. Code in TypeScript and it gets compiled to JavaScript. Hey, its good enough for Google who are using it in Angular 2, so it should be good enough for me. Intellisense? Yes, included, unlike JavaScript. I’m saved!

Per normal, Andy and Rich worked through examples in code, starting in JavaScript so we could all see how ‘painful’ it ‘can’ be. Being  a C# sharp person, I can’t say I liked the JavaScript very much. Moving swiftly on to TypeScript. So, we rewrote our JavaScript example in TypeScript. Straightaway it is more readable and far more obvious on how to construct your code (especially with intellisense and resharper to help). What is helpful, is being able to see the compiled JavaScript file from what you write in TypeScript. It will definately help in coming to terms with existing JavaScript code in other projects. I’ll definately be giving TypeScript a go in some of my new problems, finally getting my hands dirty with JavaScr….. sorry, I mean TypeScript! Andy & Rich, I have to say, your session was the best session I attended today, mainly due to content, but 10/10 for comical delivery.