Preview: Angular Application Development Workshop

Angular is one of the most useful frontend web frameworks for building dynamic websites and applications. On March 12, those interested in learning how to use Angular will have a chance to right at SXSW Interactive. Daniel Zen and Manon Métais of Zen.Digital will host the workshop, Angular: Hands-On Application Development, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the JW Marriott in Room 402 to 403.

Learn from Daniel Zen, the founder of the largest Angular meet-up and of Zen.Digital, which specializes in training engineers at Fortune 500 companies in the latest technologies, frameworks and practices, and from Manon Métais, Communications Director of Zen.Digital.

I had the opportunity to speak with Zen and Métais about Angular, their workshop and what participants can expect that come out.

Could you give me an overview about your workshop and what you guys will be talking about?

Daniel Zen: Sure, well it’s meant to be an introductory workshop for people who already understand the basic technologies. Angular is a framework that uses JavaScript, HTML, and DSFs, which are basic web technologies, and it allows you to write interactive applications. It also uses some newer technologies that I go into greater detail with. They’re typescript and the latest version of JavaScript that was released in 2015.

There’s a distinction between Angular and Angular JS. Angular JS is the first version of Angular and was called “Angular JS.” When they upped it to version two, they radically changed it and renamed it in an attempt to avoid confusion—although people still obviously sometimes call Angular JS “Version Two,” but it’s supposed to be “Angular Version Two”, and right now, it’s already at version five, just to give you an idea. Version two and up are completely different than the original.

Can you walk me through what you’ll do in the workshop and how people will participate?

Manon Métais: At first, I will give an introduction of the framework from Google. Daniel will go more in depth with of it. We’ll walk people through creating projects using Angular.

What kind of projects will participants work on?

Daniel Zen: We use a templated project for training purposes. It’s something that I know how to build fairly quickly because I’ve done it many times, and I invite the students to build it along with me. It’s a little bit harder when you have 120 students to debug any issues that they have on their various computers, but we make sure to get people to team up together if they need to.

Manon Métais: And this is also why I’ll be there, so once people start working, I can run around and help them if they have any problems debugging their code.

What skill level could attend the workshop?

Daniel Zen: You can have no previous Angular experience, but we really require people to understand the JavaScript language already, which is one of the main internet web development languages, so that’s sort of the requisite we were hoping for.

What do you feel makes your workshop stand out from all the other stuff that’s going on in the Interactive Festival?

Manon Métais: I think we’re very specialized. There’s a lot of very general talks at South by South West, but we’ll be a very technology focused specific workshop.

Daniel Zen: Other panelists and workshop leaders, they know that not everybody going to their talks are technologists, and as a consequence, try to be accessible to non-technology focused people. We’re sort of a little bit more focused on technology at our talks. If there’s not some understanding of JavaScript, or if you’re not involved in that community in some way, shape, or form—it might not be as interesting unless you’re involved in the marketing, or the management, or the design of applications that use those technologies.

What do you hope people take away from attending the workshop?

Daniel Zen: A base knowledge of how to use Angular, and interest in creating web apps. I hope they build the confidence to have the tools that they need in order to do so.

Why did you guys decide to host this workshop?

Daniel Zen: Well, it’s something that I actually do on a regular basis, I do corporate training. I’m an MIT graduate, and I studied Computer Science Engineering. When I first moved to New York, I started teaching a couple of years after coming here, and then started teaching at NYU. Teaching was something I had a talent for, and eventually I started doing it professionally as opposed to academically, and I did that for several years and actually started my own consulting company.

Around 2003, I moved out to the Silicon Valley area and I worked for Google for seven or eight years, and the Angular framework was one of the technologies developed by a co-worker of mine at Google. When I came back to New York, I didn’t actually work on it with him, but I came back to New York and I was looking at various frameworks, and I knew the fellow who had created it, Misko, and so I decided to start using it, and a lot of other people were very interested in it. We were using it for projects, for consulting projects and there were requests for us to teach it. Very early on, when Angular—the second version, started to come out, the first one was so popular that people were asking for classes.

I started writing a bunch of training material early on for that work, and so I’ve been kind of refining that course material for the last three plus years.

Manon Métais: We went to South by Southwest for the first time three years ago, and we were like, “Oh, actually, maybe we should submit a proposal for the workshop that Daniel was teaching on the regular basis.”

Could you tell me a little bit about yourselves and about Zen Digital?

Manon Métais:  I’ve been working with Zen Digital for the past three years, it’s going to be four years in June. I was new to the tech world, and I just really just dived into it and embraced it. I’m not a coder myself, but I’m very familiar with all the terms, and can have a conversations with a programmer with no difficulty.

Daniel Zen: I’m mostly focused on training for the past few years, but we also do a lot of consulting, and we walk in and help companies initialize projects, get them off the ground in a lot of cases, to help use their technologies in their environments and frameworks. A lot of times companies are moving either from older technologies, or they’re making a jump from technologies that are seven years old, let’s say, and the difference between technologies today and those that are seven years old is radical. It becomes very confusing if you’re not someone who stays on top of the latest technology, which is really our job to make those decisions and to get up to speed on them, and that’s pretty much what Zen Digital helps people do these days.



Thursday, March 16
12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Hilton Austin Downtown – Salon A / 500 E. 4th St.

Find out more: Angular: Hands-On Application Development

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