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A Day at DDDNorth Developers Conference in Hull - November 2022


It has to be said, the Developer Developer Developer conferences in the UK are highlights of my year, you get to spend the day listening to interesting talks, meed like minded tech people and have some great food! This weekend was DDDNorth in Hull and as always, was a great day!

The Developer Developer Developer conferences are tech events that happen around the country (I went to the DDDEastMidlands a few months ago) and are always a great day. They take place on a Saturday and are free and open to everyone, providing you can get a ticket, because they have been known to 'sell out' very fast. 

Once more, for the third year running, I managed to get myself a ticket. The event starts at 8:30 am which is quite an early start for a Saturday morning, especially travelling from York which is just over an hour away. 

A table with a selection of pastries on it

As the event was hosted in the Hull University grounds, there was the nearby university

multi-storey car park available which is usually cheap (£2 all day) but free for us DDDNorthers, Bonus!

Registration was easy, you just needed to find your name badge which was on display and that was it, into the main room for Breakfast which consisted of a selection of gorgeous pastries and Coffee or Tea! 

After a little while lapping up the lovely breakfast treats it was time for the first session, there are five main session slots throughout the day, and each session slot has 5 talks to choose from, so there's always something of interest to attend. 

Session 1 - ChatGPT and My Existential Crisis

The first talk was by Rob Miles who I have seen talk before. He has worked at the University of Hull as a lecturer for many years and is one of those people who just knows how to present a great story.

Rob Miles giving a talk in front of a large projector screen

This was a fantastic talk about how as a lecturer he would always give his students advice on their first day, that advice was to learn how to program and learn how to write. However, with the advent of AI chat systems such as ChatGPT, which could do both these things very well on command, he was starting to wonder why he was actually here. 

He took us on a journey of how he had harnessed these new AI technologies and how he had found that these are just everyday tools, and used properly would enhance the students' workflow (and his own) in a positive way. As always, a very enjoyable talk with Rob.

Session 2 - Getting started with IoT on Raspberry Pi

John Staveley giving a talk with a raspberry Pi and lots of components and sensors in front of him

The second talk was by John Staveley who explained how to start building IoT systems with a Raspberry Pi. This was a very hands-on talk, with a focus of programming the Pi and all the relevant components and sensors using a series of .net libraries. I have seen talks before about controlling hardware with a Raspberry Pi but usually, these have used Python to program them, so it was refreshing to see it done with c# which is my programming language of choice.

These types of talks always give me a flash of inspiration to build something, I'm not generally a hardware person (and John starts his talk by saying that he isn't either) and to have a session like this shows that controlling peripherals and getting data from sensors is perfectly possible with little hardware knowledge, inspires me to do something with one of the Raspberry Pi's I have around the house. As always, John gives a great talk. 

Session 3 - May the Forms Be With You: A New Hope with Blazor Hybrid on WinForms

Don Wibier giving a talk in front of projector screens

The third session was a talk by Don Wibier who had come all the way from Holland on the ferry to be at the event. The whole premise of this session was to show how to interact between Win Forms and Blazor Hybrid, essentially taking a proper Windows application and building in functionality from Blazor web development. 

Overall the talk was very interesting, one of those rare talks where most of the session was done live coding in Visual Studio. He showed how you could take a Win Forms container, and implement functionality from the standard Blazor button count and weather example code. 

I was intrigued before going into this session as to why I would want to do this. After the talk, I realised that while the functionality is clever, it's not something I would need to do in everyday life. There may be use cases for this but I couldn't think of any. As for a technical proof of concept, it was very interesting!


If you have ever been to a DDD event before you will know that lunch is a big deal. The food is excellent quality and there is lots of it, catering for Vegans, Vegetarians and gluten-free options for those who require it. 

I love lunchtime at these events everybody is always friendly and talkative and while eating we had great conversations about the Leeds and York meet-up scene as well as a good old moan about the intricacies of Azure services and pricing! It's a good job there are only two sessions in the afternoon as I was so full form the great food, I felt like I needed a sleep!

Session 4 - Take a Note of XAML with .NET 8

Peter Bull in giving a talk in front of two projection screens

The speaker for Session 4 was Peter Bull and it was all about the YAML Markup Language and how it is used throughout different developments. This was another Live Coding talk and I am always full of admiration for people who can stand up in front of lots of people and talk, but also to code live in front of the audience. 

Peter showed how YAML had been used in different platforms, from Windows app development to Multi Platform mobile apps. Showing the differences in the YAML language between each platform. I have used YAML before in the creation of Xamarin Apps but it was fascinating to see all its nuances. Again, a fantastic talk. 

Session 5 - Extending Copilot with Copilot Studio

So we come to the last session of the day which was a talk by Dylan Hayes about the functionality of Copilot Studio and how you can use it to provide your users with contextual chat help. 

Dylan Hayes giving a talk

I had never used Copilot Studio before but Dylan showed us that you can take a company website and train copilot with it's data. You can then embed a chat bot on your website which will be able to answer questions based solely on your website data. 

In it's simplest incarnation, it shows that very quickly and easily you can add support to your website. In addition, Dylan showed us that you can upload a number of documents which will train the AI chat bot.

A number of fun interactive demos were created which the audience could link to from a QR code on the screen. Unfortunatly, the demos kept breaking but this caused a number of laughs throughout the talk. A typical "tomorrows world moment" where everything that could go wrong simply did 😅

A great end to the day, and something that I will certainly look at offering clients in the future, I just need to play with it myself first!

Home Time

Sadly, the day had to come to an end, I really look forward to the next one, there is a DDD in Bristol in a couple of months but I am not sure I will be able to make that. I just want to once more tnank everyone involved, from the organisers who prepare the event, the volunteers on the day making sure it goes like clockwork, the sponsors who provide the food and venue and of course the speakers, the people we are there to see! 

Thank you, and see you soon! 

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