What is Angular?
Angular is an open-source platform that is a complete rewrite of its predecessor AngularJS. It is based on TypeScript and used for front-end web application development. Angular offers fast performance, cross-platform deployment and a large assortment of tools like Angular CLI and many existing components.
NgVikings is the main annual Angular event in the Nordics, organized by a non-profit organization comprised of local Angular groups. The first conference was held last year in Copenhagen, followed by this year’s event in the Aalto University campus in Otaniemi, Espoo. The event gathers an international crowd with 400 participants and speakers from the Angular core team as well as other experts in the field. In addition to presentations, there are workshops around different Angular topics.
The Dipoli building proved to be a convenient venue for the conference with its bright interiors and wooden architecture. As the conference name implies, the Viking theme was very much present: different conference areas were named according to Viking mythologies, and during breaks, you could even witness authentic Viking battles. The first conference day naturally ended with an afterparty titled Ragnarok (the Viking end of the world) at the restaurant of the local Fat Lizard brewery.
NgVikings 2018 was the first Angular conference where Gofore participated as a sponsor, although we have previously sponsored Angular Finland events and hosted meetups in our Tampere and Helsinki offices.
As the main sponsor of the event, we brought a big Gofore booth along with our curl://ing game and a foosball table, which turned out to be a big hit with the crowd. Our goal for the event was to support the global Angular community while also getting some visibility for Gofore and possibly meeting future new Goforeans.
It was notable that while a majority of the participants were from the Nordics, a lot of people attended from all around Europe. As Gofore is aiming to be an increasingly international company, these kind of events provides us with an excellent opportunity to make us known worldwide.
Our crew also got to see some great talks while not manning the booth.
The talks were in two different rooms called Valhalla (the Viking “heaven”) and Bifrost (the rainbow bridge to Asgard), and both of them had a speaker performing at the same time. Usually one held a beginner level talk and the other one was aimed at the more advanced level audience. All the talks can be found on Youtube. Here are some highlights from the talks we managed to catch:
This year’s keynotes were delivered by Matias Niemelä from Google, who talked how he got involved in Angular development and ended up in the core team, and John Papa from Microsoft, who discussed deploying Angular and Node to cloud with tools like VS Code with good live examples.
Many of the talks provided introductions to exciting web technologies and how to use them with Angular: Martin Splitt talked about getting started with WebVR to create virtual worlds inside the browser, while Michael Haberman showcased building a multiplayer game using Phaser.js and Firebase with Angular. Sean Landsman then introduced D3 as a viable tool for visualizing enterprise data.
Vitalii Bobrov discussed an important issue related to any component-based web framework: how to design a clean component API? According to him, one of the best examples that can be benefited from are the web standards: they have been created with multiple use-cases in mind and provide clear, declarative APIs.
Eric Haddad gave an interesting talk and a live-coding session about what Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are and how using Angular and Firebase allow you to easily develop PWAs using Firebase’s authentication, scaling database, cloud functions and hosting. He also presented AngularFire 2 which is the official library for Angular v2+ and Firebase. It seemed like a great way to quickly get started in developing PWAs.
The Q&A with all the speakers was the final talk before the closing words for ngVikings 2018 and it was one of the most interesting talks of the event. It was kicked off by our own Roope Hakulinen giving a quick presentation about Gofore and after that John Papa took over the hosting of the Q&A. The questions from the audience varied from the future of Angular to community support and biases in the software industry and Angular community. It was really great to hear what all the different speakers thought about these matters which are also very topical outside the Angular community.
To summarize the feelings from the event, Angular comes across as stable and mature framework for web applications development with a nice and enthusiastic community behind it.
Instead just creating hype about the newest libraries, the talks focused on how to best utilise the many features Angular provides, and how Angular can be used alongside other technologies for a huge variety of needs.
Especially as Progressive Web Apps seem to be in high demand, the amount of focus given to them seems to promise a bright future for Angular for years to come.