NDC London 2018

January 21, 2018

As usual with my posts, the target audience is ultimately me. In this case, I’m documenting the talks that I’ve seen so that I can remember to come back and look at some of the technology in more depth. I spent the first two days at a workshop, building a web app in Asp.Net Core 2.0…

Asp.Net Core 2.0 Workshop

These were two intense days with David Fowler and Damien Edwards where we created a conference app (suspiciously similar to the NDC app) from the ground up.

Notable things that were introduced were HTML helper tags, the authentication and authorisation features of .Net Core 2.0. The ability to quickly get this running in Azure.

Day One

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Keynote - What is Programming Anyway? - Felienne Hermans

This was mainly relating to learning, and how we learn and teach, how we treat each other as developers, and the nature of programming in general. Oddly, these themes came up again several times during the conference, so it clearly either struck a chord, or it’s something that’s on everyone’s mind at this time.

Sondheim, Seurat and Software: finding art in code - Jon Skeet

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Okay, so let’s start with: this is definitely not the kind of talk I would normally go to; however, it was Jon Skeet, so I suppose I thought he’d just talk about C# for an hour and this was just a clever title. There was C# in there - and NodaTime, but not much. It was mainly a talk about the nature of programming. It had the same sort of vibe as the keynote - what is programming, what is good programming (or more accurately, elegant programming). At points throughout the talk, Jon suddenly burst into song; so all in all, one of the more surreal talks I’ve seen.

Authorization is hard! Implementing Authorization in Web Applications and APIs - Brock Allen & Dominick Baier

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This was sort of part two of a talk on identity server. They discussed a new open source project that Microsoft have released that allows you to control authorisation; so, you can configure a policy, and within that policy you can have roles and features. What this means (as far as I could tell - and I need to have a play) is that out of the box, you can state that only people with a specific role are able to access, say an API function; or, only people that have roles with a specific feature are able to access an API function.

The example given was using a medical environment: a nurse, a doctor and a patient; whilst they all live in the same system, only the nurse and doctor are able to prescribe medication, and it is then possibly to configure the policy such that the nurse is able to prescribe less.

I’m Pwned. You’re Pwned. We’re All Pwned - Troy Hunt

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This was the first of two talks I saw by Troy. This one was on security; although, oddly, the second was not. He did what he normally does which was start tapping around the internet, and showing just how susceptible everyone was to an attack.

He also mentioned that the passwords that he keeps in his database are available to be queried. I believe there’s an API endpoint, too. So the suggestion was that instead of the usual: “Your password much be 30 paragraphs long with a dollar sign, a hash and a semi-colon, and you have to change it every five minutes,” restriction on password entry, it would be better to simply ensure that the password doesn’t exist on that database.

Compositional Uis - the Microservices Last Mile - Jimmy Bogard

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The basic premise here is that, whilst many places have a partitioned and Microservice architected back end, most front ends are still just one single application, effectively gluing together all the services. His argument followed that the thing to then do was to think about ways that you could split the font end up. The examples he gave included Amazon, so this isn’t a problem that most people will realistically have to solve; but it’s certainly interesting; especially his suggestion that you could shape the model by introducing a kind of message bus architecture in the front end: so each separate part of the system is polled and in turn “asked” if it had anything to add to the current request; that part of the system would then be responsible for communicating with its service.

C# 7, 7.1 and 7.2 - Jon Skeet and Bill Wagner

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This was actually two talks, but they kind of ended up as one, single, two hour talk on all the new C# features. I have previously written about some of the new features of C#7 +. However, there were a few bits that I either overlooked, or just missed: pattern matching being one that I overlooked. The concept of deconstruction was also mentioned: I need to research this more.

Day Two

Building a Raspberry Pi Kubernetes Cluster and running .Net Core - Scott Hanselman & Alex Ellis

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This was a fascinating talk where Alex had effectively build a mini-cloud set-up using a Raspberry Pi tower (IIRC six), and using a piece of open source software called Open Faas to orchestrate them.

This is a particularly exciting area of growth in technology: the fact that you can buy a fully functional machine for around £20 - £30 and then chain them together to provide redundancy. The demonstration given was a series of flashing lights; they demonstrated pulling a cable out of one, and the software spotted this and moved the process across to another device.

An Opinionated Approach to Asp.Net Core - Scott Allen

In this talk, Scott presented a series of suggestions for code layout and architecture. There was a lot of ideas; obviously, these all work well for Scott, and there was a lot of stuff in there that made sense; for example, he suggested mirroring the file layout that MS have used in their open source projects.

How to win with Automation and Influence People - Gwen Diagram

Gwen gave a talk about the story of her time at Sky, and how she dealt with various challenges that arose from dealing with disparate technologies and personality traits within her testing team. She frequently referred back to the Dale Carnegie book “How to win friends and influence people” - which presumably inspired the talk.

Hack Your Career - Troy Hunt

It’s strange listening to Troy talk about something that isn’t security related. He basically gave a rundown of how he ended up in the position that he’s in, and the challenges that lie therein.

HTTP: History & Performance - Ana Balica

This was basically a review of the HTTP standards from the early days of the modern internet, to now. Scott Hanselman touched on a similar theme later on, which was that it helps to understand where technology has come from in order to understand why it is like it is.

GitHub Beyond your Browser - Phil Haack

Phil demonstrated some new features of the GitHub client (which is written in Electron). He also demonstrated a new feature of GitHub that allows you to work with a third party on the same code (a little like the feature that VS have introduced recently).

.Net Rocks Live with Jon Skeet and Bill Wagner - Carl Franklin & Richard Cambpell

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I suppose if you’re reading this and you don’t know what .Net Rocks is then you should probably stop - or go and listen to an episode and then come back. The interview was based around C#, and the new features. You should look out for the episode and listen to it!

Keynote - The Modern Cloud - Scott Guthrie

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Obviously, if you ask Scott to talk about the cloud, he’s going to focus on a specific vendor. I’ll leave this, and come back to it in Scott’s later talk on a similar subject.

Web Apps can’t really do that can they? - Steve Sanderson

Steve covered some new areas of web technology here; specifically: Service Workers, Web Assembly, Credential Management and Payment Requests.

The highlight of this talk was when he demonstrated the use of Blazor which basically allows you to write C# and run it in place of Javascript.

The Hello World Show Live with Scott Hanselman, Troy Hunt, Felienne and Jon Skeet

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I’d never heard of The Hello World Show before. To make matters worse, it is not the only You Tube program called this. Now I’ve heard of it, I’ll definitely be watching some of the back catalogue.

I think the highlight of the show was Scott’s talk - which pretty much had me in stitches.

Tips & Tricks with Azure - Scott Guthrie

This is the talk that I referred to above. Scott described a series of useful features of Azure that many people weren’t aware of. For example, the Azure Advisor, which gives tailored recommendations for things like security settings, cost management, etc.

Other tips included the Security Centre, Hybrid Use Rights (reduced cost for a VM is you own the Windows license) and Cost Management.

Serverless - the brief past, the bewildering present, and the beautiful (?) future - Mike Roberts

Mike has worked with AWS for a while now, and imparted some of the experience that he had, gave a little history of how it all started, and talked about where it might be going.

Why I’m Not Leaving .Net - Mark Rendle

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Mark introduced a series of tools and tricks in response to every reason he could think of that people gave for leaving .Net.

Amongst the useful information that he gave was a sort of ORM tool he’d written called Beeline. Basically, if all you’re doing with your ORM tool is reading from the DB and then serialising it to JSON, then this does that for you, but without populating a series of .Net classes first.

He also talked about CoreRT which allows you to compile .Net. There’s a long way to go with it, but the idea is that you can produce an executable that will run with no runtime libraries.

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