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Learning, speaking, and Durandal

At Team4Talent we recently held an entire day of developer sessions. We regularly have someone give a session on an interesting topic, but always after work. This limits time somewhat. An entire day makes it possible to have multiple sessions and dive more deeply into the topics at hand.
I myself gave a session on using Durandal for single page applications. Some of my colleagues are very much pro-javascript (looking at you Tim!), while others are sceptical. I hope I could convince them at least that a lot is possible with javascript and that a "single page application" doesn’t mean you have to put everything in one file. Single page doesn’t mean single HTML-file.There’s no screencast of this, but if you’re interested, here are my slides:
Durandal at Team4Talent from Peter Morlion There are some useful comments in the notes of most slides. Also, you can have a look at the code I used for this on my GitHub (or see it live on GitHub pages).If your company doesn’t have much enthusiasm for letting you learn new things… well, they should. But that’s an entirely different discussion. One that I’ll summarize by this great conversation I will quote (I’m not sure about the original source, this is all over the internet):CFO asks CEO: "What happens if we invest in developing our people and then they leave us?"CEO: "What happens if we don’t, and they stay?"So if you’re company isn’t backing you, it’s time to take matters in your own hands (or give me a call and join me at T4T 🙂 Organize a late-night or weekend-afternoon moment of education. You won’t regret it.And if you’re afraid of giving a presentation, it’s normal, so was I. My (ex-)colleague Frederik provided us with a great site with tips on how to do a presentation. There’s also this one (thanks Tim). Plus, doing it in front of a small group of colleagues is great to begin with, because it makes it more informal and less stressful.A great added value of doing a presentation is that it forces you to invest some time into the topic. More so than you would when you just want to have a look at something. It makes you structurize your knowledge and thinking process, look into the small obscure problems, have a look at that difficult thing for the second or third time, etc. I used to watch screencasts and dabble with small projects that were one step above a ‘Hello World’ project. For actual learning, I’ve found these are highly inferior to either shipping something or presenting it to your pears. It’s the difference between passive learning and active learning.Don’t worry if you’re not a leading expert (I didn’t have any experience with Durandal) and someone else in the group knows it too (or even better). Especially not if you’re in front of colleagues you know well. Just give it a go, and while I’m sure speaking is not for everyone, I’m confident most people would be surprised at how positive the experience is.

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