Holimetrix Tech Blog


NG-NL 2016 - A speaker's point of view

Olivier CombeOlivier Combe

On February 18th was NG-NL 2016, the first big Angular conference of the year. This was the second edition and I already had the chance to be there in 2015 to give a talk on my library ocLazyLoad. This year I gave a talk on "How to write libraries for Angular 2".

NG-NL is smaller than other Angular conferences with only ~400 tickets for this edition (200 last year). As a comparison Angular Connect 2015 had more than 1200 attendees and NG-Conf 2016 will have over 1400. Given its size, NG-NL is more focused on community and since the Google team doesn't take half the spots (even if Igor Minar made a surprise appearance this year!) we have the chance to discover new speakers.

The CFP ended in December, 2 months before the conference. This is something that I find really important in tech conferences: don't end your CFPs too early because the technologies evolve so fast (especially Javascript) that you end up with talks that are either obsolete or just "not fresh enough" to be interesting.

I decided to submit a talk on "How to write libraries for Angular 2". A few week earlier I had released ng2-translate and found out that it wasn't trivial to publish a Typescript library for Angular 2 while making it work seamlessly for all setups. With Angular 2 in beta it was only a matter of weeks before people decided to start writing their own libraries and it seemed like the perfect moment to help them do that.

After the end of the CFP, I only had to wait a few days before I received an email telling me that I was selected for this edition. The staff was really helpful and we received frequent emails detailing how the conference would happen: venue, traveling arrangements, setup...

Since I already had written a post on this subject, I wanted to add more value to the talk than just relate my article. I gave myself a challenge: live code a library (with tests) and publish it on npm. The talk was only 25mn so I had like 20mn to code.
Live coding is something that I always said that I wouldn't do because you have to be quite insane to do that. With the stress, the different environment (coding standing up is a lot harder than sitting at your desk) and the [usually] bad connection, you can understand my reluctance at the thought.
Still, I like challenges.

For once I had started my slides early and had finished them a month before the conference, which means that I had time to train for my demo. I spent a few evening perfecting it, and changing it with each new beta release of Angular 2 (I swear that they made breaking changes just to annoy me!). I even fixed a few setup bugs for my ng2-translate library in the process.

The day finally arrived and I took a flight to Amsterdam. Everything had been arranged by the NG-NL staff, and I even had a taxi waiting for me at the airport (which is a good thing because last year I forgot and lost my bag in the train between the airport and the hotel).
All the speakers were staying at the Conscious Hotel close to the venue, and I really enjoyed my [brief] stay there. I finally had the chance to meet Todd Motto who promptly decided to go to the "pre-party". I knew better than to party the day before a conference and I went to bed early. As a speaker you need all the sleep that you can get because the stress will probably prevent you from having a good rest.

After a good breakfast, I headed up early to the conference in order to test my setup and make sure that I everything was working fine. This year's venue was really nice, with a "festival" theme. The main room was well lit and we had the impression to be outdoor because of the glass ceiling.


But the most surprising thing was the "silent disco" concept. When a speaker was talking in his mic, you could only hear him with the headset that they gave each of us at the entrance and that was really disturbing.
Imagine people talking to each other, or playing fussball and laughing out loud, while the rest of the room is dead silent even with a speaker talking on stage.
As an attendee this is really nice because you can increase the volume and hear the speakers well, but as a speaker it is weird not to get an audio feedback when you talk as you are used to.

Silent disco

There was also a band playing music live between each talk, it was a really cool idea.

Live music

My talk was at 11h10 and it went well. I was afraid that the Angular Team would release a new Angular 2 beta version just before my talk but that didn't happen, and the network worked fine for my npm install commands (which was surprising). The only problem was the screen resolution of 1024*768 that I had to use because of the old video projector. Live coding with such a small resolution was a bit hard.


I usually don't stress until a day or two before one of my talks, and this time was no exception, but the stress goes away once I'm on stage and talking as I focus on what I have to say.
The main difficulty for me is to talk intelligibly because of my french accent and to find the right words to express my thoughts. I'm good at English but speaking on stage requires a lot of concentration.
In the end, it went pretty well (from my point of view), I even managed to fix a dependency problem without having a panic attack! :D
After my talk I had to stay available for the "Ask me anything" session, which means that I couldn't go to Pascal Precht's talk on Angular 2 Change Detection. It was apparently the best talk of the conference and I can't wait for the video to be available (if you missed it, you can still read the article on Thoughtram's blog).

After that I only had half an hour to get ready for our special episode of Angular Air "Live from NG-NL". It was a really fun episode and I think that it reflects well the mood of the conference: casual and friendly. The wifi failed us in the middle of the episode but we managed to finish it anyway.

At the end of the day, the staff asked us to come on stage and gave us some cool gifts, that was unexpected and really nice of them.

We finished this wonderful day with the speaker's dinner where we had the chance to have a live singer.



I really want to thank the organizers of this edition of NG-NL, it was one of my best conferences. The talks were good, of course, but most importantly it was like hanging out with friends at a big party, and that's the reason why I go to conferences. I can always watch the talks on video later, but being there is a totally different thing. I hope to be there for NG-NL 2017 and that many of you will join us!
In the mean time, see you at NG-Conf.

My slides: http://slides.com/ocombe/ngnl2016
Video: [soon]
My article on how to write a library for Angular 2: https://medium.com/@OCombe/how-to-publish-a-library-for-angular-2-on-npm-5f48cdabf435#.jzmhjdfrr

I didn't talk much about the different talks because you will be able to find them on YouTube soon and other people already wrote about them in details:

Also if you were there, don't hesitate to add your pictures to my shared collection: https://goo.gl/photos/tVRw7v8bP4mbQCEi8

Olivier Combe

Olivier Combe

Dev front-end @ Holimetrix, JS lover, CSS enthusiast. I also work on open source projects (ocLazyLoad, ng2-translate...), I'm a panelist at Angular-Air & I give talks on Angular 1 & 2.