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This week I had the privilege of speaking on Durable Functions at the ProgNET 2018 conference in London. It was a big milestone for me as although I have given almost 100 developer talks at work, and several at user groups, this was the first time I'd spoken at a conference. So a big thanks to Sam and Carla and the team at Skills Matter for being willing to take a gamble on me.

Me at ProgNET 2018 Image © www.tellingphotography.com

My Durable Functions Talk

The video of my talk is available at Skills Matter (you will need to log in to access it), and my slides are available at SpeakerDeck. The sample e-commerce Durable Functions project is available here on GitHub.

Here's a video of the demo application I made just in case my demo went wrong on the day (thankfully it didn't):

Why use Durable Functions?

In the talk I start off by explaining that although using queue messages to connect serverless functions together does allow you to implement basic workflows, there are a number of problems with this approach. Then I explain what Durable Functions is, and some of it's key benefits:

  • Define the big picture in code
  • Handle errors for the workflow as a whole
  • Retry individual steps with back-off
  • Wait for external events with timeout
  • Fan-out fan-in pattern (parallel activities)
  • Query progress of workflows
  • Cancel workflows
  • It's free and open source

Why speak at conferences?

One great thing about speaking at conferences is that it means you get free access to the rest of the sessions. I was only able to stay for two of the three days, but learned a lot. Udi Dahan's keynote and tech talk had a lot of thought-provoking ideas in them. I also really enjoyed the two hands-on tutorials I went to, first on Kubernetes by Salman Iqbal and Lewis Denham-Parry and another on Event Sourcing by Alexey Zimarev and Sergio Silveira.

But what I enjoyed most about speaking at my first conference was all the people I got to meet. As a bit of an introvert, if I attend a conference on my own I can end up not talking to anyone. But if you're a speaker, then it's a lot easier as people will approach you to discuss your talk. It was great to meet in person a few people who I recognized from Twitter, including Shahid Iqbal and Matt Warren, as well as meeting some new friends like Dave Lewis and Michal Jankowski.

So if you've been thinking of submitting a talk at a conference, why not give it a go?

Want to learn more about how easy it is to get up and running with Durable Functions? Be sure to check out my Pluralsight course Azure Durable Functions Fundamentals.
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