Dog Food Con 2018 Experiences & Developer Recap

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  • 12/6/2018

    Every year here at thunder::tech developers from front-end, application development, user experience and members of the support teams have the opportunity to go to conferences to learn about advancements in website development. This year Shawn and Nate had the opportunity to go to Dog Food Con 2018 as representatives of thunder::tech’s support team, and what a rush of information and excitement it was! (If the name sounds funny, it is. Just go with it…)

    This year’s talks covered everything from front-end development practices, strategies for accomplishing tasks in server side functionality, best practices for user experiences, increasing productivity and availability of databases, and even workplace equality. See the teams’ takeaways and maybe next year we’ll see you there too!

    Developer in the field:: Day one - Shawn Newton

    Dog Food Con 2018! Man what a ride. This year the event was hosted in the Quest Conference Center in Columbus, OH. Tech professionals from all over Ohio and beyond gathered for a two-day event full of presentations, speakers, and swag.

    Thursday's keynote Nicole Jackson gave an amazing and genuine account of her experiences in cultivating diversity in the tech industry. Anecdotes from her life and background gave weight to points and examples on finding and placing individuals where they excel.

    Having made a switch to the IT field myself I was immediately drawn to Vinny VanSlyke's talk, "Is Switching Careers to IT Really Possible?" Comparing notes and sharing experiences with fellow and potential newcomers to tech was a great way to continue the morning.

    Making my way across the tables of mugs, fidget devices, and other 3D printed spoils I found myself in the midst of a lecture covering practical API testing. And over lunch, lots of great folks in the Columbus tech scene were in company. Fellow support devs, network admins, security consultants, and Microsoft employees of every specialization joked about automated updates over catered sandwiches. For the rest of the day, we geeked out over Windows Power Shell, Accessibility, and Azure. This was just day one and the information was following!

    One thing I did learn to watch out for during this event, is that some presentations can start to sound more like sales pitches if the solution to the problem the presenter set up is one you don’t currently have available. What might start out sounding like a solution using Azure might twist and ta-da, fix things just by moving to AWS.

    All around the day was filled with learnings and great company. I was sad to have to miss the board games and drinks at the social that night, but I also eager to head back and share my experience and tag in Nate for his day of fun.

    Developer in the field:: Day two - Nate Ward

    I started my Friday with the keynote speaker Christian Weber and his lecture on “Building Effective Enterprise Software Communities.” Once finished the crowds released and everyone was eager to get to their first lecture, mine was “Building a Customer Facing Identity Management System with Azure AD B2C” from Jeremy Gray. Jeremy spoke on straightforward approaches for using Azure’s active directory and the latest improvements with the system.

    After my first lecture, I then went to another by Brian T. Jackett discussing “Dipping Your Toe into Cloud Development with Azure Functions” which was one of the best sessions of the day. In this lecture Brian discussed the simplicity of Azure functions and how financially beneficial it can be for different applications to run only when processing power is needed or called for. This idea of having an event-driven programming model, or “when… then…” programming model, is the backbone of Azure functions and it is highly encouraged that developers design their code to run as quickly as possible and with the smallest footprint. This helps to keep the processing power and runtime down to a minimum and thus provides a service for only the time used to run a task or piece of functionality. Integrating other services that Microsoft has to offer like Azure Storage or Azure Active Directory becomes a breeze when using Azure functions as well.

    From here I decided that attending another Azure related lecture would be a good idea since we use Azure’s services on a daily basis and any information that can make us or our clients more productive the better. Unfortunately, this lecture was cancelled, but not all was lost. The day wasn’t quite over yet.

    My third and final lecture was by Chad Green who spoke on “Building an Ultra-Scalable API Using Azure Functions Without Too Much Worry.” I also enjoyed this one and learned a few new things about Azure functions. This lecture was geared towards a large scale custom build that worked with factory automated electrical components and was presented like a code review. While this wasn’t an instructional lecture it was informative and interesting to see how Chad and his team worked through the various issues they faced and just how scalable Azure Functions can be.

    In short, Dog Food Con 2018 covered all of their bases and then some and I was able to accomplish my goal of attending lectures focusing on server side programming! I am glad that I was able to bring this information back to my fellow thunder::tech(ians) and can apply what I learned towards solving our clients needs.

    If you have an IT related question do not hesitate to reach out to us at and let us know what questions or issues you need resolved!
    About the author:: Shawn Newton was a chef in his past career. Now, he serves up customer and internal IT support at thunder::tech.

    Nate Ward is a Support Developer at thunder::tech, providing top-of-the-line care and assistance for all things IT related. He is also an avid home cook.
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