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Conference Speaking – Submitting the Right Proposal

Over the last few years I have spoken at a large number of conferences, from small meetups to really big developer conferences. Some talks I get invited to, some talks I know the organiser and agree on a talk, and most are through call for papers (CFP). I have been on the agenda committee for NDC Sydney for a couple of years, so I understand exactly what the people are looking for and how the selection process work, at least for that conference. It is not a straight forward process once you consider all the factors, and a single tweet from a fellow speaker made me consider what the process is.

This is a great question, if you are new to conference speaking, or just aren’t sure how the process work. There aren’t a black and white approach to this, but let me attempt to fill in some of the gaps.

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Hosting a New Tech Show – The Future of Tech

Most people that spend any time with me, know that I like to talk to lots of people, I really love to present tech topics, and my personality (for better or worse) often comes through like a flood. Over the last few years, speaking has taken me around the world, I have created 23 Pluralsight courses (so far!), helped lots of developers through my mentoring services and written a ton of articles on everything from quantum computing to being a better developer.

When my good mate Sam then asked me if I was interested in hosting a tech show as part of their membership offering for A Cloud Guru, I was totally on board. After all, they wanted to let me host and produce a show with just me on the screen on topics I choose using scripts I have written. What could possibly go wrong?

It turns out that creating a show that is of high quality of about 20 minutes in length, with researched content, a thorough script and visuals to support the recording is a lot of work. Who would have thought?! In fact, it takes a host (me), a content producer, a camera operator, a sound guy, a (very patient and talented) editor, a website developer to get the new show its new home, and then of course a marketing department to promote it. Yeah, this was more involved than I thought.

To top it off, we had to record the first episode twice, because the sound was off the first time. Well, if it was easy, everyone would be doing it, right? The end result is the first episode, the pilot, of The Future of Tech that takes a look at augmented reality. It is full of history, actual devices, demos and a look at where this could take us in the future. Click the image below to see the first episode, completely free.

Behind the Scenes of a Pluralsight Course

Today I released a new Pluralsight course with my mate Scott Allen. It is my 15th play by play course and I am enormously proud of it and I absolutely think you should go watch it to learn about ASP.NET core, Azure resource templates, containers and docker services. It is the new way to release software for the web. However, that isn’t the main reason I am writing this post.

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Who, What, Why, When, Where and How of Digital Realities – Pluralsight Course

For the past two years I have been involved in a lot of aspects of HoloLens development. I have done large presentations at international conferences, user groups talks, taught 1-2 day workshops around the world, written numerous articles and even created the first Pluralsight course on the topic. I have spoken to thousands of developers through various mediums and been part of two startups in this field. Safe to say: I love this space.

Throughout all of these interactions and experiences, the main question I got was “What is HoloLens?” along with “What is Mixed Reality?” It was a completely legit questions, considering how ground-breaking and how new the device and technology is/was. However, the real confusion has been what is the difference between augmented, virtual and mixed reality. What is each used for, how do they apply to my industry, which is the best fit for my project? And these questions came from developers, designers and business people alike. There is a real confusion about the differences. In fact, most people aren’t aware that there is anything beyond virtual reality.

To help the general education and explain my understanding and point of view on the whole space of digital realities, I have created a new Pluralsight course doing just that. It isn’t an in depth course at how to develop a particular feature or skill, but rather it is a big picture understanding of augmented, virtual and mixed reality as it relates to developers, designers, project owners and businesses. It is a short and concise introduction to a very complex space that is moving at an accelerated pace.

You can watch the trailer for free now, and learn all about Digital Realities – The Big Picture.

How to Deal With Constantly Changing Technology?

It’s a new year and for some reason this spurs a lot of people to create new goals and new “resolutions”. I have always believed that if you aren’t ready to make the change yourself, imposing a goal isn’t going to work. And you shouldn’t have to wait for a date to make change in yourself. When you are ready, then just go for it. Nonetheless, I thought I’d give some pointers on how to deal with the constantly changing world of technology. First published on gooroo.io.

It is one of those questions you constantly struggle with throughout any technical career: Should I learn this latest and greatest technology that is out? Do I need to learn it, do I want to learn it, do I get left behind if I don’t? The truth is that you can’t learn everything so how do you know what to focus on?

The sections below are not mutually exclusive, nor do you have to fulfill all of them. If you can say “yes” to one of them, then you are probably okay to invest time in the technology in question.

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Creating HSTS and Pre-load with Cloudflare

The adoption rate of HTTPS for websites is increasing exponentially and part of the reason is how easy it is to set up. Gone are the days of expert knowledge of root certificates, server versions, IIS mastery and other black magic. Today there are services that let you set it all up in as little as 4 minutes and 38 seconds (I timed it). This article outlines the basic steps I used and was first published on gooroo.io

Most people are familiar with HTTPS and the concept of secure websites. Securing websites become more and more common, which is a really good thing. Not only do we know that the data sent and received from the website is secure, but we also get a sense of knowing we will be alright. We expect that we get confidentiality, authenticity and integrity from modern websites. After all, we see sites every day with this:

HTTPS in three standard browsers.

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Reuse Code Between Angular and Ionic – New Pluralsight Course

I have been building software projects for almost 20 years. Initially I was writing specs for the systems to be build and then testing that “I got what I ordered”. I then moved on to building my own websites (in PHP!), before tackling very large systems both in infrastructure and servicing 1000s of requests per second. One of the main focuses in all of these projects, once you got beyond the early prototypes, were reuse. Reuse of code, reuse of modules, reuse of services.

The premise was that by reusing parts of your project in multiple places you would eliminate bugs, reduce maintenance, improve efficiency and reduce overall development time. While all this in theory is true, the real world is always a different beast. In my experience though, the requirements were often slightly different, the features needed weren’t exactly the same, the input data varied or something else just didn’t align. It was never as simple as write once, reuse to infinity. A lot of the time we either ended up with bloated modules that catered to everything or we came up with a too complex architecture, only for the sake of reuse.

Reuse is still a challenge, but if you can get the right balance between common and unique code, it can really be worth it. When my good mate Duncan suggested we do a course on how to share code between Angular and Ionic, I was on board! In case you aren’t familiar with Ionic, it is a framework to create native mobile applications with JavaScript, HTML and CSS, in an architecture pattern familiar to Angular developers.

And here it finally is. We recorded the course back in August while at NDC Sydney, and it is full of great tips, architecture hints and guidance on getting your web code onto your native apps. We build a complete app both for web and mobile, and explain along the way what you should and shouldn’t share between the two platforms, how to share code using an npm package, how to deploy it and much more.

Go watch the trailer right now, and enjoy the full course at your leisure.

Using Swift Programming Server-side – New Pluralsight Course

Yep, I know. The courses on Pluralsight are coming fast and often at the moment. However, this one is on a topic I wasn’t even aware of, until Steve introduced it in this course. Did you know that the Swift programming language known for being the new iOS language for iPhone and iPad, is used server side? Yes, the language is growing up, and with the help of Apple open sourcing it and IBM contributing it is now a fully fledged option for your backend systems.

Steve the hair model

Swift in itself is a very expressive and fully featured language that has a large following of developers. While there is a lot of focus and attention on the consumer side of the language, the tools and services for the server side have steadily evolved. You can get complete docker images, pre-built middleware, templates and much more. It really is ready for prime time production usage.

In this course Steve teaches me all about the various options, as well as gives a brief introduction to the Swift language itself. It is a really nice introduction to a piece of technology with great potential that few are aware of.

Check out the free trailer and start learning about Swift on the server today.

Asking Great Questions and Diagnostics – New Pluralsight Course with Jon Skeet

In a traditional software development education process you’ll learn about PC architecture, algorithm design, language constructs, mathematics and more programming specific skills. What you don’t learn, is how to ask great questions and creating a resource for future developers. Being able to articulate and explain a problem in its simplest form is a crucial skill in not only getting a resolution to your problem, but also assisting the current community to be even better.

I will be the first to admit that I am not a “forum guy”. I don’t trawl user forums and developer community sites to see where my expertise can be used to solve someones query. I choose to spend my time in other places, such as online courses, user groups, presentations, webinars and many other things. However, like almost any other developer I use the knowledge of Stack Overflow all the time. I am very appreciative of that resource and the system it provides to filter out the best (and worst) questions and answers. And when it comes to Stack Overflow royalty it doesn’t get much higher than Jon skeet. Jon has the highest ranked profile on the site BY A MILE! So it made complete sense to me to team up with Jon to create a course with Pluralsight on how to ask questions in a developer world.

This is an unusual course that focuses on a very technical issue in a very non-technical context. I get to pick Jon’s brain on how to create a great question, right from the worst incarnation of one. We go through the process of doing as much as possible to find the best way to ask a question, including how to word it, how to do your own diagnostics and different ways to ask the same question depending on context. Jon’s enthusiasm and passion for this topic comes through as a flood of positive energy.

This course is a must watch for all software developers. If we could all aim to be at Jon’s level when it comes to creating and answering great questions for the greater good of the community, we would all win.

Check out the Play by Play: Problem Solving in a Developer World today.

ngrx Handles Managed State in Angular – New Pluralsight Course

Way back in June I had the privilege of sitting down with Duncan Hunter in Oslo and talk about ngrx for Angular. At the time I had very little knowledge of the topic, but Duncan assured me it was the latest little black dress for Angular. While at NDC Oslo we recorded a Play by Play course for Pluralsight on just this topic.

In short, ngrx is state management for you Angular application, something that is very difficult to handle on the web, which is by definition stateless. However, ngrx is merely a library for Angular so you aren’t learning a whole new framework or setting up projects you aren’t familiar with. The ngrx library gives you a managed store, which is handled by using reducers and effects. The following diagram gives you an idea of the new flow you get with ngrx.

We are immensely proud of this course and in the first week it has gone to number 22 of all courses on Pluralsight in terms of viewers, so we must have done something right! If you want to learn more about ngrx, please do watch this course. It is currently the only one on the topic in the Pluralsight library.