Finished My First Workshop at MinneWebCon
On April 24 I gave an Node.js Bots in Azure workshop at MinneWebCon

Published on Monday, April 30, 2018

Last week I had the opportunity to give a half-day workshop at MinneWebCon. I had initially submitted the session as a 50 minute talk but the committee thought it would be better as a workshop.

The workshop outline and code is available on GitHub. I thought I'd write up a brief retrospective since it was my first workshop!

What went well

  • Everyone was able to deploy a live bot and finished the workshop (huzzah!)
  • I was able to help answer some questions I hadn't anticipated
  • People paired up if they didn't have everything they needed on their computers
  • Azure Bot Service works pretty well and even when a couple people accidentally chose the wrong code template, they were able to redo the bot in a few minutes
  • People said they liked it, which always feels good!

What could change

  • If it was a longer workshop, I'd rather build a custom sample bot rather than building off the pre-built Notes domain
  • I walked through some of the LUIS grammar via whiteboard but it would have been better to visualize the relationships better in slide form I think
  • At the end some folks wanted to see what a "real" bot looks like hooked up to real data. I showed what I did for KTOMG but ideally in a full workshop we'd use a live data source as you would in the real world.
  • The Azure Bot Service "web chat" blade was super finicky--it usually required people to sign out fully and sign back in to boot up the interface

What I learned

  • I learned I enjoy giving workshops. Helping people accomplish something in a hands-on way is pretty cool.
  • Different people are on different levels and want different things out of the workshop. It was good I had some stretch goals.
  • Professionals want a way to see how what they learned will apply to their day-to-day work. I'd flesh this out more if I gave the workshop again. Showing how I wrote my bot in C# for KTOMG was helpful I think.
About Kamran
Hi, I'm a professional full-stack developer who also loves to write, speak at conferences, work on side projects, contribute to open source, make games, and play them.
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