I hadn’t been to any meetups in quite some time, but this inaugural meetup of the new AngularZone community had a lot of draw… Service Workers, D3, prizes, and more.
The meetup was organised by Gerard Sans, who has a history of speaking and organising meetups. It was held in the large hall of the Skills Matter CodeNode venue, which is a perfect venue for a meetup of a decent size.
As it was the first meetup for AngularZone, Gerard gave us a brief intro to what his view was for it. His idea is that physical meetups will take place once every two months, and have topics on web tech in general, and in particular Angular. He’d like to see talks, and a community, driven by passion. As well as the meetups and obvious greatness of tech talks he would like to see a community contribution program come into affect, where folk (including himself and Todd Motto – that guy gets around, right) can give advice as seasoned speakers and bloggers. It sounds not to far removed from his previous Angular Labs idea, though to be honest I didn’t get involved in that, so this is purely guesswork.
But anyhoo… on to the talks
Service Workers – Phil Nash
Up first was Phil Nash talking us through Service Workers. Now these are not overly new, but still very much in the early days of adoption. If you are new to Service Workers though, you can start by thinking of them an intelligent way to support offline behaviour for your web sites and apps. They’re the successor to the painful-to-understand-implement-manage app cache tech and have been greatly pushed with the current rise of the PWA (Progressive Web App).
We were, of course, shown the awesomeness that is the trailer for Service Worker, and I felt sorry for AppCache, so I put one together. I could apologise for the distracting gif, but I won’t, and I still pronounce it Gif, not Jif, deal with it.
At the time of wrting, Service Workers are available in the latest builds of Chrome, Firefox and Opera, and are known to be being actively worked on in Edge… and in the words of Phil, “who knows about Safari”.
We were shown some demos that Phil had been playing on thath utilised the Twillio API. His demos used various features exposed through Service Workers (offline, notifications, background sync, etc). Service Worker is a very powerful browser feature, and one I hope that will soon be adopted so I can use it in the hybrid apps we’re building at MobileCaddy.
‘Service Workers, turning “online by default” to “offline first”‘
– Phil Nash, 2016
One of the key features I see available in Service Workers over AppCache is the ability to programatically blat assets from the cache, and I can not wait to use it and say good ridance to AppCache.
Phil’s talk was really interesting and very well presented. His passion and knowledge were obvious. If you’re after his slides, they can be found here.
Using D3 with Angular2 – Ændrew Rininsland
Ændrew is a journalist/data wrangler at the FT and set off to take us through using (the bloomin’ black-magical D3.js) in Angular2 projects.
His talk started off with some comments on TypeScript and how having typed languages should catch silly bugs earlier on in a project’s lifecycle (though he also mentioned a blog post that argues that there isn’t any factual proof of this). Something that is hard to argue with about TypeScript though is the benefits of it’s self-documenting characteristic, which can only be a good thing.
“Angular devs are cooler than React devs… Just sayin'”
– Ændrew Rininsland, 2016
Before we got to any real D3, Ændrew also gave a few personal observations of ng2;
On a blank ng2 project – Never has he had so much code, over so many files, doing so very little
ng2 is really fast
Even being fairly new to ng2 myself, these points certainly ring true with me.
After much config hacking and setup, we finally got around to seeing some D3 code, which by comparison was relatively short and straight-forward – in a “my mind can’t take in any more info” kind of way. I’m not sure if I’ll ever get over how magical D3.js is and how much sorcery their implementors use to bend it into shape, but the output of beautiful data visualisations always blows my mind.
Gerard had a few prizes to be won, which is a nice touch for a new meetup, so kudos to him. I even won a year’s JetBrains license… so even better.
Talking of free-stuff now’s a good time to thank Gerard for putting on a really interesting meet and to the sponsors (skills matter, eSynergySolutions, poncho8, JetBrains, Google Developers) for covering the venue, food, drinks and prizes.