My 5 Most Memorable Talks at NDC Sydney 2017

NDC Conferences first came to Sydney in 2016 with an amazing line up of speakers and workshops. 2017 was another stellar year and I was lucky enough to go along for the full 5 days. Here are my top 5 most memorable talks!

5. Jake Ginnivan's React Workshop!


Ok so technically not a talk, the two day workshop by Jake Ginnivan was my first real exposure to React. Having spent the last 6 months deep in Angular it was great to see how people are doing things on the other side of the fence. I can see the appeal of React in how easy it is to compose Components, but this workshop was definitely not for beginners! You need a full grasp of ES6+ language features like object destructuring, rest and spread operators, fat arrow function syntax etc. or you will just get lost. Overall a great experience and I look forward to using some of the concepts like immutable state in my day to day programming.

4. Jennifer Marsman's Keynote: Using EEG and Machine Learning to Perform Lie Detection


The Keynote speaker this year gave an intriguing look into the world of machine learning - with the EPOC headset from Emotiv. She strapped into the device right in front of us and bared all showing her brainwaves live on stage. She could move a cube (on a screen) around just by using her mind! She had also done various experiments on her husband, and using Azure Machine Learning came up with a "lie detector" that gave some insight into what other people are thinking. Pretty cool!

3. Troy Hunt's Talk: Hack Your Career


It's partly why I am writing this blog! He inspired me to look at my career and where it is headed and see if there is more out there. I have certainly been living as a Dark Matter Developer most of my career. To break that shell he basically said you start a blog, write some tweets and hey presto! You can ride a jet ski to work just like him. OK, so it's probably not going to be that easy, but I'm here giving it a shot! Special shout out to Kylie Hunt whose talk Crappy to Happy: Strategies to Help You Kick Butt at Work gave me some good ideas about dealing with challenging workplace environments.

2. Lars Klint's Talk: Programming Robots – Making Friends with Cozmo


This was a really impressive talk that was both educational and entertaining. Cozmo is a unique robot that comes pre-built with personality, gets happy and throws tantrums. You can play games with it, give it basic programs to follow via a mobile app, and also program it at a low level with Python scripts. If you have any interest in Robotics or you just want some company, definitely check this out!

1. Steve Sanderson's Talk: Web Apps can’t really do that, can they?


What can I say, I'm a huge fan of Steve. Last year at NDC he blew our mind with some sort of time travel debugging of node.js running inside ASP.Net Core using Chrome Dev Tools. This year he showed an experimental UI framework - Blazor! It's basically like using React or Angular, but you write C# instead! It uses Web Assembly to run the .Net Framework inside a browser, so you basically have the power of C# without the need to touch JavaScript. It has huge potential - after all, if you are doing your server side code in C# it makes sense to do it client side as well. Unfortunately he needs community support to convince his bosses it is a good idea, so go ahead and give a star to the repo!

Also special mention to the Spectacular Failures and PubConf talks, none of which we were allowed to record as they might get the speakers in trouble! Overall another great NDC Conference full of inspiration and learning - heck, next year I might even try to give my own talk!

Stephen Wells

Hi, I'm Stephen, and I'm a software developer. I work in Government and private enterprise, using technologies like .Net, Azure and Angular.