AngularConnect 2018 Recap

Steven and Jeroen went to AngularConnect 2018 in London. Here's a neatly organized post full of takeaways in convenient bullet lists!

This blogpost is organized in sections. Each section caters to a different audience or purpose. Each section follows the same format: introduction, list, and closing words. Feel free to skip to the section that interests you most about AngularConnect 2018.!

Key Takeaways

These were the main takeaways in general:

  1. Ivy! This new bit of upcoming Angular internal architecture was everywhere! Pretty cool for enthusiasts, less interesting for pragmatic (application focussed) devs.
  2. NgRx For complexer state changes this library was recommended for keeping application state. There was an excellent talk about when or why you might not need it and a great workshop to get started using NgRx best practices was given.
  3. Alive and kicking: the framework is very much alive. It might not be "the Javascript flavor of the day", but there's a lot of active development going on. Also, the fact that over 600 (!) internal Google projects run Angular (with now less than 50% still left on AngularJS) you can count on this framework staying strong.

It's always hard to translate conference info directly into day-to-day work. Luckily, Infi sees the long-term benefit, and we're sure that somewhere along the way this info (or related inspiration!) will come in handy.

Top 3 Talks

These were our favorite presentations, which you can (re-)watch online when the videos come up:

  1. Architectures for Angular-based Enterprise Applications by Manfred Steyer was a well-delivered talk about how to structure (micro-)applications in repositories, and how to link them together.
  2. Automating UI development by Stefan Baumgartner and Katrin Freihofner. They showed a cool project in which they generated Sketch design files from Angular components for their designers to build upon.
  3. Day 1 Keynote by Igor Minar was fantastic! It focussed on real Angular content, and made some important notes about the community and inclusiveness along the way.

Great stuff! All videos should pop up on the AngularConnect channel, where you can also sort stuff by votes if you don't trust our judgement.

The Best Stuff

Talks are important, but there's more to a conference. Here's our top picks for good stuff:

  1. Both the organizers and the speakers (including a good portion of the keynote) focussed on inclusiveness. They (and we, as attendees) can surely still do better. But you have to start somewhere.
  2. There was a good spread of depth and level of the talks. This made it a great conference for all levels of Angular developers.
  3. It was a compact, full schedule. A two-day conference in another country is quite an investment (both time and money wise), so it's great if there's a lot of content, like there was.

Oh and the food was great - but then again it seems awkward to list it amongst the "best" stuff.

The Worst Stuff

It can't be all roses. Here's the most prominent bad stuff:

  1. Room sizes per talk were grossly misjudged; track 2 often had dozens standing, or not even allowed into the room anymore.
  2. Number of tracks; with close to a 1000 visitors, having 2 tracks felt somewhat limited.
  3. Talk quality varied greatly. There were great talks, but also timeslots with incomprehensible stories.

Tips for 2019

Although the conference was great, here are some things we'd love to see differently next year if we'd attend:

  1. Find a way to better predict required room sizes (or which speaker goes in which track).
  2. Improve schedule communication! Simple things go a long way: an app (or mobile-friendly schedule), some monitors in hallways and near doors with schedules, better communicate changes and delays, etc.
  3. If a talk is set up as standup comedy and less as a technical talk, please mark it so. This way visitors know what to expect.

But the bottom line is: well done! We enjoyed ourselves very much, learned a lot, and overall were very happy to be attending AngularConnect 2018.

Steven's Final Thoughts

To summarize:

  1. It's good to see that the Angular Framework is gaining even more fans and improving steadily.
  2. The development team and the diverse user base addresses questions and problems quickly.
  3. A lot of use cases and solutions are well documented in the official documentation and on numerous blogs.

I visit conferences specifically to see what other people are doing, get great ideas and to meet like minded people. At AngularConnect all these expections were met!

Jeroen's Final Thoughts

It's always a bit tricky to go to such an ultra-focused (framework-specific) conference. However, in my current project at iChoosr we do use Angular, so it made a lot of sense. And regardless, it's a place to get inspired to learn new things; be it in Angular or another framwork.

To end with a quick summary on AngularConnect, and Angular in general:

  1. Angular is enterprisey, here to stay, continuously improving, mature, and in many cases a great choice - even though it's perhaps not "the flavor of the day".
  2. Competition in front-end land does great things! With stuff like NgRx, a focus on tree-shakeable core parts, and many others, you can feel the influence of other frameworks.
  3. Conferences in general are a great way to stay inspired, on top of your game!

My interests are broad, so I typically don't attend the same conference two years in a row. But nonetheless, I'd certainly recommend you'd go in 2019!

In Conclusion

The above should sum things up properly. To close up, it seems appropriate to thank the organizers for a great conference! Until next time(s)!?

Appendix: Session Notes

Here's a quick overview of the sessions we visited, along with our short notes about those sessions:

Day 1

Steven Jeroen
Keynote (Igor Minar). Really interesting start of the conference. From a brief look into the history of AngularJS and Angular, via the usage at Google, on to plans for the next release(s). Keynote (Igor Minar). Wow, AngularJS was originally targeted at non-devs!? NgMaterial will become a core part, it seems. First mention of Ivy, as well as "Bazel" (what's that!?).
Automating UI development (Stefan Baumgartner and Katrin Freihofner) Cool Proof of Concept project on getting design and designers in the short feedback loop by generating desingns from code to designers to work on. VS Code Can Do That (John Papa) Great energizer. Reminds me of The Pragmatic Programmer: learn one IDE very well. Will have to rewatch this video later.
RxJS schedulers in depth (Michael Hladky) In depth talk about schedulers with a great visual demo. Some scheduling pitfalls were explained. Entertaining speaker! NgUpgrade (Sam Julien) Decent talk, but not really interesting for us.
The good, the bad and the ugly - Component architecture at scale (Ana Cidre and Sherry List) This talk fell short for me. The talk was setup too much as stand up comedy and the technical level was not what I would call in-depth. AI in JS (Asim Hussain) Good intro, but no new info for me unfortunately.
Lunch Break
You Might Not Need NgRx (Michael Ryan) Good talk about maybe not using NgRx in your application. He talks about when and why you might need this. Down to earth talk with great value! Universally Speaking (Craig Spence) Great overview of what Angular Universal entails. Note: try this out on our app (even though we don't need it there).
Upgrading to Angular without ngUpgrade (Erin Coughlan) Good talk, but really specific for developers who need to incorporate AngularJS components in a Angular application. Change Detection (Max Koretskyi) Amazing, in-depth talk. Note to self: learn more about zone.js. Note to self: debug Angular core more often to see what's going on!
- Nest (Bo Vandersteene) A little too basic for me personally, should've probably visited track 1.
Testing Angular with (Joe Eames) This was a complete walkthrough on testing with Cypress. Not new for me, but still a good intro. ElementRef, TemplateRef, ViewContainerRef (Ashnita Bali, Marcin Ryzycki) The content was probably great, but I found this talk very hard to follow.
Building an Angular PWA: Angular Service Worker or Workbox? (Maxim Salnikov) Energetic talk about making your application progressive. Good comparison between Angular Service Worker and Workbox. Angular and WebXR (Asegul Yonet) Very inspiring, though not much Angular in there. Should really give Three.js another try, and read up on WebXR standards.
Angular Testing with TDD (Shai Reznik) I did not take anything away from this talk. It contained soo much comedy elements that all other content was lost. Angular Testing with TDD (Shai Reznik) The 'humor' in this talk was far over the top, not to my taste, and detrimental to the story. I'm sure some people will enjoy this, but I quietly walked out halfway through.

Day 2

Steven Jeroen
Angular Ivy (Alex Rickabaugh) Real nice look into the near future of the Angular compiler. This is going to be a really big change to Angular. Hopefully upgrading is going to be easy. Angular Ivy (Alex Rickabaugh) Nice, in-depth stuff about Angular internals. Ivy's about Optimizability, Incrementality, and Flexibility. Looking good, but not yet here. Side note: annotations apparently get compiled into static fields!?
Getting to grips with Angular State with NgRx and RxJS (Ferdinand Malcher and Johannes Hoppe) Solid introduction to setting up and working with NgRx. A lot of best practices were shown. I was hoping for more depth in this workshop. It started with the whole classroom following and pre-setup tutorial project. I left after half an hour because it wouldn't bring me anything and nobody was in need of pair programming on this. G Suite and Apps Script (Grant Timmerman) The talk wasn't all too informative, but I did walk away with a sense of AppScript and what it can do. Something to check out!
Dynamic Reactive Forms with GraphQL (Juan Stoppa) Nice talk with a cool live demo. Would be nice to see if you can use the form part on more database setups. Dynamic Reactive Forms (Juan Stoppa) Amazing first-timer presentation! Cool library, probably something to learn by going through the codebase?
Injector Trees (Uri Shaked, Kapunahele Wong) - Injector Trees (Uri Shaked, Kapunahele Wong) Uh oh, another "humoristic" presentation, not to my taste, sorry. Also not sure why this was marked "In Depth", seemed quite basic.
Lunch Break
Architecture Styles for Angular Apps (Manfred Steyer) Nice talk about combining separate applications with good pointers on when and how to do this. Architecture Styles for Angular Apps (Manfred Steyer) Very interesting talk, ending with a great decision tree about when to use what type of repository style. Side note: check out Nx.
It’s alive! Dino-mic components in Angular (Shmuela Jacobs) I didn't get anything from this talk. This was probably because it was somewhat focussed on using AngularJS within Angular components. I went to the "Office Hours" to talk to some folks I know from Open Source work. Very nice, to have a moment to chat with people in-person.
Crossing Across Platforms (Sani Yusuf) Really entertaining and fluid talk about having one codebase to compile for both web, desktop and mobile platforms using Ionic.
Angular Panel Nice interaction with the audience. Questions were added and upvoted live by the audience. Nice questions about the development team, future views, regrets. Enjoyable ending of the conference. Angular Panel This was quite nice, many interesting questions. Some of my own were asked too, most notably "When not to use Angular?". I summarized the answer on Twitter.

[Steven en Jeroen zijn developers bij Infi]

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