Last week I attended my first UK Umbraco festival and as the team here at Cogworks HQ bask in deserved glory and work out what to do with the un-used merchandise, I'm tasked with a brief write-up of the day.
Umbraco Belle 7 workshop / Hackathon / Bugathon
For many, the festival started the day before in a funky room in Clerkenwell for a hackathon to help our friends at Umbraco HQ squash a few Umbraco bugs.
I was mightily impressed with the turnout and buzz in the room throughout the day. Especially delightful was seeing grown men hug each other in greeting. The world can be a cold and lonely place, but the world of Umbraco is friendly and opening.
As I'm the new PM here at Cogworks, a lot of the conversation through the day was waaay above my head, but the stats from the day speak for themselves.
Number of Attendees: 25
Bugs fixed during the day: 48
This is a massive 55% increase on 2012's numbers.
Afterwards, the obligatory drink in the pub got the social side of things off to a nice swing.
Friday - Festival day - registering for the day and grabbing the festival kit
Slightly hungover from one too many Murphy's the night before, I arrived at the venue at 9am to see a growing queue extending out of the door. Hopefully none of you had to wait too long to get in and grab your kit.
I do wonder what you thought of this year's festival T-shirt design… My own view is that it was a slightly steam-punky, zietgeisty take on the feminisation of Umbraco as we move to Umbraco 7 - Belle. But perhaps that's just me. Congratulations to the winner, Ian Bell, who walks away with £100 amazon gift vouchers.
If anyone forgot to pick one up or wants a spare, reply to this blog with a comment (from which we can identify you!) and you may be lucky enough to get one in the post. First come, first served.
And if anyone has any ideas about how we can improve on festivalregistration or ideas for useful kit we can produce next year, let us know. Perhaps a box to store all your previous festivals' kit? :P
The morning session
After a rousing speech by Niels, the morning session cranked into action in the two rooms. A few of you managed to walk in on a kids film screening but I think you all quickly realised that you were in the wrong room and found your way to the 4th floor. Getting the venue right for a conference is never easy and this year was no exception.
Breaks / lunch / chatter
Herding 200 odd developers is never an easy task, and when we realised around 12pm that we were at least 45 minutes behind schedule, we did need to shave a few minutes off the end of one session and reduce time for lunch. By 2pm we were back on track. Get in.
The afternoon session
I had some time to attend the afternoon sessions and was pleased to see Anthony Dang hold the room whilst talking about unit testing in Umbraco. The dev techniques he espoused were "relatively straightforward". Being a non-developer, I could comprehend the language Anthony was using (ENG), but that was about all :P.
Show and tell
Ignoring the issues with the cinema's screen resolution, the show and tell was a great way for members of the community to demo their latest baby.
I'm not sure how exactly Optimus Prime helped Tim's delivery, but it raised a smile.
Even I could get my head around the cool UI the Bristol agency were showing. I can think of a few clients I've had in the past who would be really keen to use that. As someone who has actually used a CMS, making the content management bit easy for editors is not straightforward. Also, the back-office UI is an oft neglected part of the development process but can be critical in getting the business to actually utilise CMS functions - so its really good to see some focus in this area.
Its interesting to note that an upgraded back office UI is the key feature upgrade for Umbraco 7 and it was welcoming to hear how easy it is to upgrade… although me thinks there might be a bit of smoke and mirrors with that statement, but that could be the PM in me who is naturally sceptical when developers say a task is easy.
My unofficial festival awards
Chatting to a few attendees, I noted that we could hand out some awards for some interesting categories. Here's my unofficial list of awards and winners for 2013.
Best speaker: Lotte Pitcher
Best show and tell: Optimus Prime AKA Tim Geyssens
Best team @ the bug-a-thon: uTeam
Best stand at the show: Red Gate software (because they were the only ones, but it was good!)
Most distance travelled to festival: Jon Raasch (4,950 miles)
Least distance travelled: Anthony Dang (1 mile)
Outstanding lifetime achievement award: Has to go to Adam Shallcross for pulling the festival together for another extremely successful year.