Last month I had the opportunity to both attend and speak at NDC Sydney 2019. NDC is a conference for Software Developers that occurred this year on 14-18 October with 2 days of workshops followed by 3 days of speakers. This year was the first time I have attended an NDC conference and the first time I was a speaker at a conference.
Overall I found the experience to be phenomenal due to it consisting heavily of learning a whole lot of stuff I didn’t previously know and meeting a whole lot of strangers - most of whom were very intelligent people who could teach me more stuff I didn’t know. My schedule was a full-on four days with talks starting each day at 9am and the first beers at 7pm, excluding any beverages that may have been consumed at lunch. The fourth day, Saturday, was for .NET Downunder Tour Sydney 2019, a free community event that included a number of Microsoft and other community speakers present (and not-present) at NDC.
I found the caliber of NDC speakers to be very high and felt privileged to be selected amongst the 100 or so speakers for the event. Nelly Sattari and I gave a presentation on Thousands of concurrent connections with Azure SignalR Service which for some part was hosted inside, but otherwise relied heavily on demos from, digitalicebreakers.com - thankfully the application stood up for the 40 or so present and connected.
Talks I saw in person
- Async demystified - Karel Zikmund - I knew about the state machine, ValueTask was new to me, but the word is I don’t need it.
- DDD really matters! - Jimmy Nilsson - first time I’ve seen Jimmy talk, I’ve read half his DDD book. Great character, I really enjoyed his talk even though some claimed it didn’t have much to do with DDD.
- 💯 DevOps for the Commodore 64: so what’s your excuse? - Todd Whitehead - absolutely ridiculous and enthralling. Probably the best talk of the conference - stuffing Commodore 64 packages into Azure Devops and deploying via BBS.
- Quantum Computing Concepts - John Azariah - for the first time I feel like I understand superposition. Later I attempted the katas mentioned during the talk but realised I’m still too stupid for Quantum Computing.
- gRPC for ASP.NET Core, a new framework for high performance APIs - James Newton-King
- F# Code I Love - Don Syme - I also had a couple of opportunities to give the creator of F# a piece of my mind, which he tolerated magnificently.
- Cognitive biases in software development - Ian Hughes - it was great to meet Ian and other colleagues from the
ReadifyTelstra Purple WA offices in person for the first time.
- C# 8 and Beyond - Filip Ekberg
- The next 5 years of ASP.NET Core - Ryan Nowak - I harassed Ryan afterwards about the idea of B-Lectron but kept my true feelings for Razor to myself. Was great to meet both him (and his wife) again on Saturday evening.
- Getting Started with Cosmos DB + EF Core - Thiago Passos - I met Thiago for the first time at DDD Sydney earlier this year - beware of his strong desire for shots.
- The Moon: Gateway to the Solar System - Richard Campbell - this was outside the box as far as the other talks go and I really enjoyed it. In person Richard Campbell sounds just like he does on .NET Rocks.
- 💯 Reverse Engineering a Classic Video Game - Tim Comport - this talk was totally badass, highly recommend nerding out over this one.
- NDC Sydney 2019 Lightning Talks - Has AlTaiar, Michael John Pena, Negar Ghanbari & Vatsalya Goel
- Beyond infrastructure as code DSLs - Jake Ginnivan
- Bank Grade Security - Kieran Jacobsen - actually I saw this talk at DDD Sydney some weeks back - highly recommended!
Talks I missed
- I never made it to EVE Online: Defending our players from hackers - Stefán Jökull Sigurðarson, and was gutted I didn’t! On Wednesday evening I spoke/waffled to Stefán about Eve for about 10 minutes before I realised he was from CCP.
- The rest of the talks are available on YouTube - NDC Sydney 2019
A great aspect of the conference was meeting speakers and attendees after normal conference activities, mainly over beers and/or dinner and included the following:
- Wednesday Night - Evening Boat Cruise - NDC Sydney 2019
- Thursday Night - NDC Party
- Friday Night - PubConf Sydney 2019 - A hilarious end to the conference, PubConf included a number of speakers presenting various tales while the host bumped slides for them. It was a great night unwinding with speakers, attendees, new friends, old friends, and beers. Lots of fun and a highlight of the conference even though not officially affiliated.
.NET Downunder Tour 2019
After three days of NDC there was one more day of talks at .NET Downunder Tour 2019, a community-led event at no cost, hosted at the Microsoft Reactor. This one was a little more low-key, but was a great way to squeeze in some last minute learnings and a final round of beers before returning to my estranged wife after 4 days of geeking out. There were some new talks and a fantastic panel at the end with a bunch of Microsoft peeps that I’d met during NDC. A colleague of mine, Mouna Neelakanta, who was also one of the hosts of the event, did a terrific write up here - I encourage you to take a look.