Passion for Code Solutions and Reflections on Presentations

I'm passionate about code solutions & source control. In this article, I reflect on my experiences presenting at group meetings & conferences.

If you came here from one of my presentations, scroll down a bit to the headings to get what you came for.

As a developer at heart, like so many others, I gravitate towards code solutions and related things like source control as well as trying new things. One aspect of my job is presenting at group meetings and conferences. It would be interesting to go back and count up all the presentations I’ve delivered since my first one so many years ago. Throughout this time, one thing has held true: I’ve never become proficient with PowerPoint. Don’t get me wrong, I get the job done, but it seems to take so much longer than it should for me. There’s a reason someone coined the term Death by PowerPoint… from the authoring standpoint, they were thinking about me.

The process of creating slides in PowerPoint just isn’t efficient for me. I’ve tried at times to avoid it by minimizing slides and maximizing demos, but that isn’t the best way to convey links or some topics. So I’ve struggled, opened PowerPoint & conformed. Then, a few months ago, I watched someone deliver a session online and saw he didn’t use any slides… it was entirely from GitHub with demos… the delivery really nailed it for me. As an attendee, it totally worked. Then at a local event, Code On the Beach , I saw someone else do it… again… it totally worked. People around me commented how they liked it… and I did too… hmmm…

This approach really made sense. Each presentation you deliver is really like a project. You work on it over time, sometimes there are issues that pop up, sometimes there are questions you need to follow up on, and sometimes you make changes it it later. The more you think about it, the more you realize a presentation is just like a project deliverable you do for your customers today!

So I played around with the concept a bit, figured out what worked for me and absolutely loved it. I’m all in! So I’m giving it a shot, starting tomorrow morning at Code Impact & followed next week for all my sessions at SPTechCon I’m using zero slides, only GitHub.

OK, maybe some conference insists or demands you give them slides. It’s crazy how many want them weeks or even months in advance. That’s fine… I’ll hand over a shell of a deck just so someone can check the box.

Why am I Using GitHub?

I’m a developer, it’s a presentation, GitHub is all about source control and collaboration, you’re likely a developer & I’m willing to bet neither of us like PowerPoint. Need I go on?

It’s easier for me to create presentations when you don’t worry about how text fits on a slide or how to format your code on the slide. You don’t have to create some snazzy animation… you want the information you came for!

Being able to write in Markdown , I can build a talk and format it quickly. Plus, GitHub’s code formatting capabilities make it easy to insert code into the talk without having to jump to Visual Studio for a snippet. It’s incredibly easy to make changes to the presentation later. Plus, everything for the presentation is in one spot. This includes the information about the talk, the presentation and the demos… all right there.

How you Consume my Presentations in GitHub

Grab the link from the presentation for the GitHub repository or just Find me on GitHub & browse my repositories to find the talk… they all start with pres-.

When you have a copy of the presentation, you can make your notes right inline the topic we’re covering… no need to merge your notes later with what’s on some slide!

Once there you can do a few things:

  • Super simple “I don’t know anything about Git, I just want the talk!” Easy… download it as a ZIP using the Download ZIP button in the right margin. Everything… that’s the presentation (what would have been the slides) and the demos. Bam… you got your goods and you’re happy.
  • If you’re familiar with Git, you can clone the repo locally. For those not familiar with Git, that’s like “Get Latest” in Microsoft’s Team Foundation Server.
  • Maybe you just want to just bookmark it… then click the Star button to save it in your stared repos. Read more on GitHub stars in the help docs .
  • If you want to get notifications on changes I make to it in the future, click Watch. It shows up in your GitHub newsfeed, you can subscribe to your newsfeed as RSS or email. You pick.
  • Or maybe you want a copy where you can make changes or additions to the presentation! Then fork it, make your changes and then submit a pull request. More on forks & pull request in the help docs. I doubt anyone will do this, but hey… you can.

If you are new to Git or GitHub, checkout the GitHub Help Docs , specifically the GitHub Glossary & What are other good resources for learning Git and GitHub? .

An account on GitHub is free. The ONLY thing you pay for is if you have private repositories. But everything else is free.

Why you’ll Like me Using GitHub for Presentations

This is all fine and good, but why do you care? What’s in it for you? Well first, if you have a connection in the session, you can grab a copy of the talk right there and follow along.

When you have a copy of the presentation, you can make your notes right inline the topic we’re covering… no need to merge your notes later with what’s on some slide.

Plus, I can make direct links form the presentation to a demo or to a specific file or even to a specific line in a file… all hyperlinked from the presentation.

With the presentation in GitHub, it’s easier to find & obtain, or just save a link to it. Plus, you can follow if there are any edits to the presentation after you attended. Maybe there’s a new way to address something and I updated a part of the talk to account for it. If you are watching the repo, you’d see the change.

I hope this works out… I’m writing this before I’ve delivered a single one like this so we’ll see how it goes. I’m sure I’ll tweak my process after the first few times.

What do you think? Good idea? Bad idea? Are you that one developer in the corner who loves watching PowerPoint presentations?

Andrew Connell
Developer & Chief Course Artisan, Voitanos LLC. | Microsoft MVP
Written by Andrew Connell

Andrew Connell is a web & cloud developer with a focus on Microsoft Azure & Microsoft 365. He’s received Microsoft’s MVP award every year since 2005 and has helped thousands of developers through the various courses he’s authored & taught. Andrew’s the founder of Voitanos and is dedicated to helping you be the best Microsoft 365 web & cloud developer. He lives with his wife & two kids in Florida.

Share & Comment