NDC London 2017:
A recap of this year's developer conference
I found myself traveling from Melbourne to London again this time of year. Not to enjoy the beautiful weather Great Britain has to offer in January, but because I was very fortunate to have been invited back to speak at the developer conference, NDC London, again. So, I made the pilgrimage to the old country from the colonies.
Why would I travel halfway around the world instead of enjoying the Aussie summer? Let me put it this way: NDC London is an opportunity unlike most other.
Why NDC London?
For almost 10 years the NDC brand has been associated with first-class training, brilliant speakers and great content. NDC London is no different. In total, there were two days of workshops and three days of conference, talks and events. The talks are all very high quality, ensured through a voting system. The voting system involves the audience and asks them to provide feedback after each individual talk in the form of a green, yellow or red card. Too many red cards in your talk, and you are less likely to be invited back to speak.
Quality aside, the atmosphere is always filled with motivation, camaraderie and encouragement to try out new things. NDC is one of the friendliest conferences I have ever been to—ask any speaker, staff member or attendee, and you will get a smile and a welcoming conversation. I love it.
Talk of the (London) town
Some of the most popular sessions at NDC this year, based on attendee feedback, are as follows:
- “Something Something Cyber” by Troy Hunt: This gave us the lowdown on the current state of web security.
- "C# 7" by Kathleen Dollard: Kathleen taught attendees to write simpler and more efficient code.
- "The Seif Project” by Douglas Crockford: This is a very ambitious project to make the web more secure and much easier to develop for.
This year, there was a trend towards more C++ talks with 10 presentations on the topic. It seems there is a greater interest in this area within the community—there weren't just talks on the new version 17, but also on much more in depth features like managing types.
Another popular topic again this year was functional programming. There were 19 talks, which focused particularly on F#. There was even one talk that delved into functional programming with C++—how very geeky and satisfying.
Other noteworthy and interesting topics were mixed reality with HoloLens, UI design with high DPI fonts (surprisingly awesome topic) and some “softer” talks on personal development and career focus.
All of these talks were just a tiny snippet of the 166 talks on offer. The truth is that unless you are a Java developer, you would have found content specific to your field, and that content would have been valuable. The talks this year were some of the highest rated overall for NDC London, and I can’t wait to see what they put on offer next year!
Pluralsight at NDC
Once again, Pluralsight was well represented. In fact, 25 Pluralsight authors gave more than 30 talks on topics ranging from security to functional programming to HoloLens development. The knowledge and depth that you know from their courses came to expression in all of those talks.
Pluralsight also sponsored the Thursday night party, as well as the PubConf “afterparty” on Friday night.
In addition to all of this, four new Play-by-Play courses were recorded with Stephen Haunts, Aaron Powell, Filip Ekberg, Lars Klint (that’s me) and Troy Hunt. These are live recordings of conversations around a specific topic such as personal branding, cryptography, Xamarin and Azure. They will be live on Pluralsight in a few weeks—stay tuned!
NDC is not only workshop and talks. It also includes several extra events that attendees and speakers can choose to participate in.
Every year, NDC offers a social event as a chance to get to see the city and experience it alongside the other attendees and speakers. So this year, we boarded the Dixie Belle, a rather large paddle steamer that took us on dinner cruise along the Thames. This social event was a great time to decompress and get to know other devs at the conf.
Thursday night kicked off with a very funny talk – "Make Cyber Great Again” – from Troy Hunt. This was followed by eight short talks on the topic of “Spectacular Failures,” which included the opportunity to ask questions. Additionally, two workshops on learning to communicate and connect with people were offered, as well as a pub quiz.
Finally, on Friday night, Pluralsight sponsored PubConf was on. A number of speakers all give 5-minute talks of 20 slides. Each slide auto-progresses after 15 seconds, and the speaker has no control over this and just has to keep up. These talks were enormously entertaining and made the night an excellent one.
NDC & opportunities
I can’t write this recap of NDC London without mentioning the amazing opportunities it brings with it. Whether you are a speaker or attendee or you are at NDC for the first or fifth time, there are opportunities for all. You get firsthand knowledge from some of the best speakers in the world—and you can approach any of them to learn more. Speakers hang out in the conference area all the time, and you can walk up to any of them and make a connection. Who knows what you might learn or what possibilities will open. I hope to see even more new faces at NDC next time and further the knowledge and connections this awesome developer community has. See you next year!