#TheOpenDevCon — JAMstack Conference by TheDevCouple Team
The University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore was the venue for this conference. The audience substantially comprised of CS, CE and EE students. Whether they were absolute beginners or developers with intermediate skills, there was something for every one of them to learn.
Talk by Ahmad Awais
Ahmad started the conference with a brief introduction and told everyone why he loved teaching and delivering talks. He considers it his way of giving back to the community. Ahmad is a hyperactive open sourcerer. He advocates open source wherever and whenever he gets the chance to do so.
Building a project is good, but creating a community around it is even better. And there is no better way to do so than to open source. He shared why every aspiring developer should start contributing to open source right now. He even declared contributing to open source a life-changing decision of his life.
Next, Ahmad gave an excellent fundamental understanding of Git. He also demonstrated the primary commands and their usage. While maintaining an entertaining atmosphere by cracking silly jokes and puns, Ahmad also gave useful resources to learn Git. That being done, the audience was thoroughly educated about how to create a pull request, make the commits and push it.
After giving the intro to Github/Digital Ocean. He told the audience about the 5th edition of Hacktoberfest, a month-long celebration of open source. And how anyone can earn a free limited edition T-shirt and other goodies by creating five pull requests.
The section about APIs was really a fun part. Ahmad shared why the concept of APIs was easier to understand but hard to explain. But he had a fun interpretation up his sleeve. Imagine you are ordering some food form a menu in a restaurant. There needs to be some link between the kitchen and your order. API is that critical link. It can’t be that simple.
- “Kitchen” is the server.
- “Menu” includes requests to be made to the server.
- “Waiter” is the API here.
Markups are converted into HTML via build tools. Making sure that the attendees do not feel overwhelmed, Ahmad performed a live project. Here is it’s demo. It included building a simple static blog using Gatsby, Netlify, and MOAAR.
GatsbyJS is a modern site generator for React. Credits to its impressive documentation and easy to find resources, you can build super fast static websites and much more. Ahmad demonstrated all the steps from installing it to creating a Gatsby site.
Netlify is a JAMstack hosting but a lot more than that. It delivers an all-in-one workflow to establish and control modern web projects. Some of its impressive features are:
- Serverless functions
- Automatic deployment/Cache invalidation
- HTTPS, Custom domain, DNS Management
- Authentication signups, logins, & pass recovery and so on
Lastly, Ahmad concluded the topic by emphasizing personal branding. Ahmad likes to put forward real-life scenarios to make discussions more gripping. This time he mentioned a situation, which compared the approach of a nerd and a relentless brainstormer towards naming an assignment.
The purpose was to educate the audience about personal branding, and why a professional approach to branding yourself is critical. No wonder, “naming things” is regarded as one of the hardest things in Computer Science.
He showed how the tools as mentioned above could help set up a blog on a domain of your name. Undoubtedly, being known as a professional is one of the most significant advantages one can have today.
Consider this. Meetups are organized with two targets in mind; one is to impart new knowledge to the participants so that they get to learn something new. The other one is to interact and connect with like-minded people. Many meetups may cover the first objective, but the second one is even more important.
This conference, being a large scale version of a meetup included an interactive discussion and Q&A session covering both the objectives mentioned above. Ahmad took a surprise quiz as well. He asked industry focused questions from the attendees.
The answerers were appreciated by presenting them with free domains. Besides, there were cool stickers, swag and what not. Some of the attendees approached Ahmad after the talk to ask questions and discuss ideas. Many were interested in adding to open source software. It turned out to be a reasonably healthy discussion with Ahmad guiding them and showing them the way to go in the future.
Hands-On Workshop On Linode by Ashar Irfan
In the next round of the conference, Ashar Irfan — Lead Developer at WP White Security — conducted a hands-on workshop on Linode. Linode is one of the finest Cloud Hosting providers in the industry, and their services are just for everyone. Whether you are a developer, a designer or an absolute beginner launching a Linode cloud server is easier than ever. They offer the fastest hardware and network in the industry with scalable environments.
The prime focus of this workshop was teaching students about how to generate a static website using GatsbyJS and hosting it on the Linode server. Ashar began with explaining the initial setup which includes setting up a Linode server and hosting a Gatsby powered website.
Ahmad had already explained the creation of a static site with GatsbyJS, so it was easier for students to catch up with the Linode server setup. Later, during the question-answer session, he also explained how you could move your WordPress blog to Linode. Since almost 25% of the audience had their blogs powered with WordPress, so the concept of hosting static sites piqued their interests.
Hands-On Workshop With pudl by Maedah Batool
The final proceedings of the conference was an all-girl affair. Maedah Batool conducted a hands-on workshop presenting her newly-built static site generator called pudl. Being a maintainer of #GirlsWhoCode and #ReactJSLadies local meetup chapters, her workshop witnessed an audience of more than 30 girls.
Later she showed how pudl performs:
- Live reloads browser with BrowserSync.
- CSS: Sass to CSS conversion, error catching, Autoprefixing, and CSS minification.
- Watches files for changes in CSS.
- Corrects the line endings.
- InjectCSS instead of browser page reload
- Sends message notification to you.
- Prevents pipe breaking caused by errors.
Refreshments & Swag
The conference was sponsored by Github, Digital Ocean, Twilio and Linode. They had sent some pretty cool stickers, swag, Git cheat sheets and guides for all the attendees. The audience also enjoyed refreshments, burgers, and drinks.
- Download and install Git
- Resources to learn Git
- Learn more about APIs
- Learn everything about Gatsby with this Gatsby tutorial
- How to Generate a Static Website Using GatsbyJS & Host the Website on Linode Server?
- More features of Netlify
- How and where to work on Open Source projects?
- Watch Ahmad’s #OneDevMinute, in which he explains how to do it.
- Ahmad’s Hacktoberfest GitHub Repository can be ideal to start with. It has 5 branches and 58 contributors who have pushed 350 commits so far.
- More information about #Hacktoberfest can be found on its official site.
Yep, that’s me with the camera, covering the event with the lens as well 😉
- Conference Site: 2018.TheOpenDev.com
- Topic: Keynote about JAMstack and Hacktoberfest open source.
- Sub-Topics: Git, Digital Ocean, Personal Branding/Portfolio Gatsbyjs with Netlify, API Servers Linode & DigitalOcean.
- Time: 12 PM to 3 PM
- DATE: Sunday 28 October 2018.
- Venue: UET Lahore, PK.
- Meetup.com Link: Event for TheOpenDevCon 2018
- Keynote Slides by Ahmad Awais: TheOpenDevCon2018.AhmadAwais.com
- Slides by Ashar Irfan: Generating A Static Website Using GatsbyJS and Hosting It on Linode Server