NDC Oslo 2018: A Q&A with Ben and Mikko

by Dawn

In June, Ben and Mikko visited Oslo for the NDC 2018 conference. Once they had returned and recovered, we surrounded them with questions about their experience and the things they had learned.

How did you plan/pick which sessions you went to?

M: I went through the agenda and wrote a blog post :)  https://medium.com/@mikko.vuorinen/see-you-at-ndc-oslo-2018-3e10db968fe

B: I picked sessions based on a combination of personal interests and things that had potential to improve what we do at Codify.

What was your favourite session?

M: Not starting with an easy one, eh? I'll pick one that was enjoyable and fun to listen to with a well-thought storyline (literally), and that I left with much better understanding of evolutionary architecture. So that's "Betting on Evolutionary Architecture" by James Lewis.

B: I really enjoyed "So you want to create your own .NET runtime?" by Chris Bacon - it was interesting to see how a .NET application is loaded and executed from first principles.

What's your favourite memory?

M: I would like to say, but they told us "what happens in PubConf, stays in PubConf". So I'll say it was the moment Richard Campbell brought up Climate Change as the topic of his talk in The Hello World Show live.

B: PubConf, without a doubt.

What was the best thing you had to eat?

M: I'm going with the hummus and pita bread. Unless coffee counts?

B: Pulled chicken and hummus brioche with chilli-cheese sauce (I got a bit creative!)

Was there a mixture of content i.e. demos and presentations? Were there any interactive sessions?

M: Most of the talks had a background/theory part, then a personal experiences and/or practical examples part. There were also few workshop-style sessions, but I didn't go to any of those this time.

B: Definitely a mix. "So you want to create your own .NET runtime?" was an hour-long live coding session. Most of the sessions about security and language/IDE features included demos. The architecture and design sessions were more theoretical.

Were there any big announcements?

M: Not really, the talks were from developers to developers. Probably some of the future Visual Studio features were the closest it got to an announcement.

B: Nothing concrete. A few hints about things that might be coming up in the future, for example AI-assisted intellisense in Visual Studio.

Is there anything new coming for C#?

M: From what I could tell from Mads Torgersen's keynote, C# wants to take in the good parts of functional paradigm, while keeping the benefits of Object-Oriented. We'll see what that leads to.

B: As Mikko said, Mads Torgersen hinted that they're exploring adding more functional-programming-inspired features.

How well organised was the conference? Was it easy to get around?

M: Really well, at least I didn't run into any problems. The stalls were in the middle of everything, so I could grab a coffee or chat at the expo before moving to the next session.

B: Organisation was excellent, everything ran smoothly and on time. The rooms were clearly signed and maps were provided. Food was great and I never had to wait too long to get served.

Was there anything that you learned that you can use at Codify?

M: Some the talks were mostly about architecture and processes, so they are definitely useful but need to be thought through and refined before applying here at Codify. Others that were more hands-on had some really good tips that we can start utilizing, like the REST API best practices from Liam Westley's talk "Give it a REST - Tips for designing and consuming public API's".

B: I've already started adding.editorconfigfiles to various systems! There are also some changes I want to make to our code analysers which should make them more maintainable. I am working on applying some of the things I learned about architecture and design to our application templates and will hopefully present some recommendations soon. Lastly, I think there were some very good points about user experience in business applications which we should definitely bear in mind.

Was there anything that has inspired you to investigate further or start a pet project?

M: Yes, too many to decide where to start with… I would love to try building something based on Event Sourcing architecture, and to try out graph databases or at least GraphQL as an API interface.

B: I'd like to try building a workflow around microservices and event queues. I don't have a use case in mind yet, it would just be interesting to model. I've also spent quite a bit of time reading up on hexagonal architecture.

Did it change your opinion of anything? i.e. technology you maybe didn't think much of beforehand?

M: It certainly helped to decide where I should or shouldn't use specific techniques, architectures or tools. Even the most enthusiastic talks were quite realistic about the limitations of the technology they were talking about. But it did change my view on LinkedIn being just a sales platform.

B: There were definitely sessions that challenged my opinions and things that I'd been taught - particularly about architecture and design techniques.

Are there any anecdotes you can share from the people you met?

M: A lot, here's one from Ian Cooper: "Code duplication creates invisible dependencies."

And another from Eline Giskeødegård (along the lines of Lean Service Creation): "Fall in love with your customers problem, not your solution."

B: These are quotes rather than anecdotes, but "Don't just look at how to improve a feature. Think about other ways to achieve the desired result." and "Business applications are helping a user to do their job. Make their job as easy as possible!"

Would you recommend NDC?

M: Definitely, at least for developers. NDC Oslo is so big there's definitely something for everyone, but it may not be the one if you are after new announcements and Big Corp CEO keynotes.

B: Absolutely. I'd definitely go back next year given the chance!


NDC Oslo 2018

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