Community

Web Performance and Scenes from WDYK Melbourne (August 2012)

Last Thursday, I attended What Do You Know (WDYK) Melbourne at The Apartment. WDYK is the brain-child of John Allsopp; somewhat akin to DemoCamp in that it features 5-minute presentations (with PowerPoint!) that highlight the speakers' knowledge on a particular topic. This was my second time at WDYK, having spoken at WDYK Sydney on the topic of CSS3 box-shadows.

I was lucky to make it to WDYK Melbourne at all. The weather wasn't doing me any favours. This was the scene as I left for the event from my house:

Ah, Melbourne in the springtime!

Ah, Melbourne in the springtime!

Before getting into the details, allow me to state that I thought WDYK Melbourne was a hit. I mean, there must have been over 150 people at the event. Everyone was super-nice and engaged. It was great to see and it's a testiment to John Allsopp and his crew. In the words of Kent Brockman, "I, for one, welcome to new event organizing overlords..."

For WDYK Melbourne, I decided to share some interesting sites and stats relating to web performance. Since my earliest days hacking on angle brackets and script, I've been incredibly in making my web pages fast.

Recently, I've noticed a few trends on the HTTP Archive that are somewhat concerning. As the amount of bandwidth consumed by pages is steadly increasing, Google Page Speed scores are heading down. Also, there's a large percentage of sites that don't leverage some basic optimizations like caching.

Anyway, I decided it would be a good idea to expose this to the audience at WDYK Melbourne in order to set the stage for some helpful sites and tools. These include:

It's hard to get everything highlighted in a 5-minute presentation.

I also took a few photos at the event:

All-in-all, it was an awesome event. I can't wait for the next one.

If you're in Melbourne, Sydney, or Brisbane, you owe it to yourself to get involved. Get out and attend! Or, better yet, raise your hand and share what you know with members of the developer community.

Telerik and Kendo UI at DDD Melbourne

A group of 150+ developers met on a cold and wet Saturday at Swinburne University of Technology for DDD Melbourne.

DDD Melbourne 2012 Lanyard

DDD Melbourne 2012 Lanyard

Despite the miserable (yet normal-for-Melbourne) weather, I was excited to attend my third DDD event in Australia. I find they share the same vibe; a bunch of developers hanging about, talking about development, sharing stories, and joking around. It's a perfect environment for learning and connecting with others in the community. And, of course, since we're big-time supporters of the developer community, I was there, representing Telerik and Kendo UI.

Kendo UI booth at DDD Melbourne 2012

Kendo UI booth at DDD Melbourne 2012

I had made all the necessary preparations for the event, which included carrying along my Apple 27" Thunderbolt Display for demos:

Demos and Swag at DDD Melbourne 2012

Demos and Swag at DDD Melbourne 2012

Free swag, on the other hand, was an issue I didn't adequately prepared for. I foolishly thought that 50 Kendo UI t-shirts would be enough. It wasn't. This compelled me to share the following quip on Twitter:

"Bring some swag to DDD Melbourne... aaaand it's gone."

"Bring some swag to DDD Melbourne... aaaand it's gone."

I had a wonderful time talking to attendees. While some knew about Kendo UI, the overwhelming majority knew about Telerik.

Attendees at DDD Melbourne 2012

Attendees at DDD Melbourne 2012

On a side note, now that I have a few months of experience as a Developer Evangelist at Telerik, I'm starting to see a common pattern at events like these. For example, a lot of folks know who we are and what we do. Our conversations start out the same way, "Hey! You're with Telerik, right? We use your tools! There's great. Here's a question for you..." It's great to see that - for the most part - developers love our stuff. And, let's be honest: it makes my job a whole lot easier when you have happy customers. Most of the time, I'm problem-solving at these events.

Kendo UI Booth at DDD Melbourne 2012

Kendo UI Booth at DDD Melbourne 2012

Frankly, I wouldn't have it any other way. It's great to chat with customers. That's why our support events like DDD Melbourne. It gives us a great opportunity to have conversations like these with developers. That stated, this great experience is embodies our online support as well. You should give it a try if you're experiencing problems or wanting to provide feedback. We love receiving it!

Post-event beers. Hooray for beer!

Post-event beers. Hooray for beer!

At the end of DDD Melbourne, I suggested that we meet at a nearby hotel for a beer (or two). For more than obvious reasons - aside from the beer - this is one of my favourite aspects of any conferences; the conversations you get to have outside of sessions, either in the hallway or (in this case) the hotel.

Kudos to the event organisers! DDD Melbourne 2012 was an awesome event.

Back to Perth-fection

This week, the travel schedule takes my colleague, Andrew Marsland and I to Perth in Western Australia. This is our second time to the capital city and we're looking forward to connecting with the local developer community.

Flight from Sydney to Perth

Andrew and I are big-time fans of the Perth / Fremantle area. There's lots to do and the scenery is absolutely beautiful. For example, the last time we were here, we made sure to visit the Little Creatures brewery in Fremantle. Incidentally, Little Creatures happens to be one of my favourite beers here in Australia. At the brewery, not only did we have a wonderful meal, we had some excellent beers as well. Shortly after our meal, we walked out of the brewery just as the sun was setting over the Indian Ocean. I seem to remember turning to my workmates who were with me at the time and saying, "Why the hell didn't we come here earlier?"

Little Creatures Brewery in Fremantle, Western Australia
Little Creatures Brewery in Fremantle, Western Australia

A Sampling of Beers at Little Creatures Brewery
A Sampling of Beers at Little Creatures Brewery

Awesome Sunset in Fremantle, Overlooking the Indian Ocean
Awesome Sunset in Fremantle, Overlooking the Indian Ocean

We've got a pretty full itinerary for our visit.

First, Andrew and I will be talking to local partners who specialize in web development with Sitefinity. We'll be highlighting some of the latest features found in our latest release, which added support for ASP.NET MVC. I'd encourage you to check out our online demo of Sitefinity 5.1 and give it a spin.

Next, we'll be at WALGA to showcase what's possible with Telerik tools and technologies. Here, we'll be showing attendees how they can take advantage of Telerik to build, test, and manage web development projects. Specifically, we'll highlight Sitefinity and others.

Finally, we'll be hanging out with members of the Perth .NET developer community. I'll be delivering a presentation covering everything and anything from Telerik. I've dubbed this presentation, Life, the Universe, and Everything (Telerik). Basically, I'll be walking folks through our technologies like Kendo UI, TeamPulse, our Just* tools, Test Studio, and, of course, Sitefinity. I'll also be covering topics such as Windows 8 and .NET in general. If you're in the area, join me for a night of developer awesomeness.

Telerik at DDD! Sydney 2012

Telerik at DDD! Sydney 2012

Last weekend, Vesselin Vasilev (@vvassilev) and I had the good fortune of attending DDD! Sydney 2012. This year’s event was held at the University of Technology Sydney and featured over 25 sessions covering a wide variety of topics, including .NET, HTML5, JavaScript, Visual Studio, and, of course, Windows 8.

John Bristowe at DDD! Sydney 2012

Like all events we attend, Vesselin and I were at DDD! Sydney to support the developer community. As our customers know, Telerik is a strong supporter of events like these around the globe. Over the past number of months, we’ve supported a number of events across Australia and around the Asia-Pacific region. We were also there to talk to developers about our products and in particular, to showcase Kendo UI and our RadControls for Metro. (You couldn’t miss us with our bright orange t-shirts!) I was fortunate to be asked to deliver a presentation on Kendo UI in a session entitled, “How to Kick Ass and Take Names with Kendo UI”.

I suppose one could make the argument that I’m fairly passionate about our technology.

As they say, the best part of a conference is the conversations you have in the hallway. Events like DDD! Sydney collectively represent a wonderful opportunity listen to your customers. Let’s face it: these are the men and women who use your technology; you’d be foolish not to participate.

As a Developer Evangelist for Telerik, it’s absolutely essential for me to talk to our customers. Whether or not the feedback is positive, I want to hear it all. Because how else are you to gauge your success and future direction without engaging your customers? Events and conferences are perfect venues for these kinds of discussions. For example, at DDD! Sydney, I had separate eight, 5-10 minute conversations entirely focused on Kendo UI alone. The feedback I received was wonderful and I was able to share it with the development team.

John Bristowe talking about Kendo UI at DDD! Sydney

I’m already looking forward to my next visit to Sydney. In the meantime, we’ll see you - the developer community - at DDD! Melbourne.

Flyabout Australia: My Upcoming Travel Itinerary

Flyabout Australia

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be making my way around Australia, attending conferences, connecting with the developer community, and meeting with Telerik customers.

November 26-29: DDD Brisbane (http://lanyrd.com/cfmcc)

DDDBrisbane

This will be my first DDD event. I’m looking forward to it. Over the past few years, I’ve heard a lot about DDD Melbourne and other DDD events held across Australia. They tend to have a solid following and the presentations are said to be excellent.

December 1-2: YOW! 2011 Melbourne (http://lanyrd.com/cdpfp)

YOW! 2011 Australia Developer Conference

This will be my first YOW! event. The speaker line-up look pretty tight.

Mid-December/January: Perth is TBD. I’m working on getting things organized at the moment.

My Experience at SydJS

I have a new, favourite group and its name is SydJS (@sydjs).

IMG_0125

Before arriving in Australia just over one month ago, I knew that it was critical to get myself involved in the local developer community. As a Developer Evangelist for Telerik, it’s important that I’m connecting to our customers (i.e. developers). This allows us to hear what they love (and maybe, not love quite as much) about our products. It also allows us to introduce ourselves to developers who maybe haven’t heard of us.

An effective way of connecting with developers, of course, showing up and getting involved in the local community. This can be done in a number of different ways. I find that being present and helping out are a good start. Ultimately, to become truly connected, you need to give back. (More on this in a blog post later.) It should be noted that I love developer communities regardless of my job role; there’s a good chance that I would have attended SydJS anyway. But, I digress.

Last night, I attended my first meeting of the Sydney JavaScript group (SydJS) at Atlassian. In short, what an awesome group; lots of passionate developers who care deeply about JavaScript. Oh, and beer. They definitely care about beer.

IMG_0116

The night’s agenda provided four presentations:

The one presentation that impressed me the most was Brian McKenna’s lap around languages that compile to JavaScript. In this session, I learned about Roy (built by Brian) and about Source Maps, which – frankly – are kinda awesome. From a .net Magazine article that highlights Source Maps:

There is detailed information on the progress of the Mozilla work over on the wiki at wiki.mozilla.org/DevTools/Features/SourceMap, and you can read about the WebKit work atbugs.webkit.org/show_bug.cgi?id=63940. The Mozilla document states that this feature is targeted for release in Firefox 9.

The presentations that were delivered provided more of a high-level overview of JavaScript-related concepts. It’s wasn’t terribly low-level but that’s OK. There were a number of new members who haven’t written a great deal of JavaScript yet and I’m sure these presentations helped in their skills development.

The other thing that I impressed me was the core group of folks at Atlassian. They have passionate developers who understand why JavaScript rocks. The digs are too bad either. They also appear to pride themselves on grokking development; right down to the swag.

IMG_0123

But, of course, the highlight for me was this:

IMG_0117

You can almost hear these values recited by Morgan Freeman; “That’s goddamn right.”

So, all in all, I had a great time at SydJS and I’m already looking forward to the next meeting. Why not sign up? Registration is free and the folks are super-friendly.

Technical Folks in Australia You Should Follow on Twitter

australia

As a Developer Evangelist for Telerik, part of my role will be to support the technical community here in Australia. To that end, I plan to leverage a variety of events, sites, and tools. Among these, of course, is Twitter. (Follow me! I’m @JohnBristowe!) I’ve always found Twitter to be a great tool for taking the collective pulse of the technical community. If you’re looking for a way to stay up-to-date on what’s happening in your community, I’d recommend joining the conversation.

Here’s a list of a few folks in Australia that I currently follow (and so should you):

This list is, by no means, exhaustive; I’m sure I’ve missed a few folks. (Please let me know who I’ve missed!)

Many thanks to Nick Hodge!

First Day at Telerik (Sydney)

Yesterday, I spent a few hours with my colleagues who make it the Telerik office here in Sydney: Vesselin Vasilev (@vvassilev), Andrew Marsland (@ajmarsland), and Dimitre Taslakov (@teledimi) who’s in town from Boston for the next few days.

As with any first day, I spent most of my time preparing my new laptop (a schweet Lenovo W520 baby!), discussed administrative matters, and started brainstorming ideas on how we can support the awesome developer community in Australia and elsewhere. It will be my role to ensure that folks know that we’re here to help. I plan to spend some time listening to the concerns of our customers and of the developer community at-large. I will also make myself available to the community for acitivities/events. As folks who know me know, I enjoy delivering presentations and sharing my insights and knowledge with others. That stated, if you have any questions, concerns, and/or comments about Telerik’s products and/or technologies, please feel free to drop me a line: john.bristowe@telerik.com.

Get Your Learn On!

School

With September just around the corner, it’s time for getting ready to go back to school.

“Back to school” is the most frightening phrase in the English language to a 12 year old. But, for the rest of us, it’s a time of renewal and optimism around learning. That’s why I felt it would be a good opportunity for me to share with you some inspiration for getting your learn on!

To assist their learning, web developers need tools and many options exist. Your starting point should be microsoft.com/web. This is your one-stop-shop for access to a range of free tools and resources for web development. Notably, this is where you can download Microsoft WebMatrix, a free web development tool from Microsoft that includes everything you need for website development. Also, be sure to check out videos, tutorials, walkthroughs and much more here.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to level up on your skills with Windows Phone app development, check out the App Hub. Or, if you’re a student, check out DreamSpark. Here you’ll find free tools and resources that will get you up-to-speed on the “latest and greatest”, including information on Windows Phone Mango. We’ve recently published the Windows Phone SDK 7.1 RC. So, what are you waiting for? Download, install, and get crackin’!

Finally, I’ve been playing around with the Kinect for Windows SDK. And wow, talk about awesome! If you’re looking to skill up on integrating with the Kinect through motion and sound, download this SDK now. Build a demo and impress your friends. And if you’re looking for inspiration, check out some of the recent awesomeness done by the Coding4Fun team with the Kinect.

Make Awesome Web: 200 Awesome Resources and Counting

Make Awesome Web Title

About six months ago, fellow Microsoft Developer Evangelist, Michael Kordahi (@delic8genius) launched Make Awesome Web, a link-blog dedicated to client-side web awesome-ness:

Make Awesome Web (July 2011)

Hours after its launch, I asked Michael if I could help out. Reason being, over the past number of years, I’ve used a number of tools and found a lot of awesome examples. The problem? I didn’t have a great place to share them with others. Enter Make Awesome Web.

Since its inception just six months ago, we’ve posted 200 awesome resources (including examples and sites) that should help and inspire you to build great web experiences. The response from the web developer community has been pretty incredible. For example, the site experienced over 16,000 views in the month of June alone. Going forward, the plan is to continue posting examples, sites and tools that champion web developer awesomeness. If there’s a resource that’s missing, please let me know! Also, don’t forget to subscribe to the RSS feed if you prefer getting these posts through a reader.