The Umbraco PL Festival

By Adam Shallcross

Image: Korsan Studio

So the first ever Umbraco Poland Festival has been and gone, and what a huge success it was! 60 attendees, one room, a projector, some pizza, a beautiful city and some fantastically warm weather, what could be better!

The day started with a short introduction to The Cogworks and a potted history of how we have helped build the Umbraco community in the UK through Meetups, free developer events and of course the Umbraco UK festival (which is now in its 7th year!). 

The basic idea is to try and replicate what we’ve done in the UK in Poland, which judging by the response and positive reaction we’ve had in Kraków, we are well on the way to doing.

Why Umbraco? Mythbusters!
The first ‘proper’ talk was from Marcin Zajkowski who delivered a great presentation busting some myths about Umbraco and open source projects in general. Marcin is a great speaker and very knowledgeable developer. He has been using Umbraco for a number of years now and recently joined The Cogworks team full time. See the full video.

Image: Korsan Studio

Umbraco packages - My top 10
Next up was our very own Mr Search and Umbraco Examine guru Ismail Mayat. Ismail’s talk focused on the wide selection of community based packages available for Umbraco giving invaluable advice about his all time top 10 and the ones he wished were around when he started using Umbraco way back in time! See the full video.

Image: Korsan Studio

Boost your project by 300%
Michał Jankowski is a Microsoft Azure expert and has configured a number of high traffic Umbraco sites to work on the hosting platform.
Michał took us through how to configure Azure and some of his best practice advice and gotcha’s to look out for. See the full video.
 

Make my Umbraco website faster with frontend optimization
Maciek Korsan is a front end expert and has been using Umbraco for a number of years now. He passed on some great advice about how to ensure the front end of your site is coded to be as speedy as possible when every millisecond counts. See the full video.

Image: Korsan Studio

Umbraco Showcase
Next up was Dawid Koruba and Grzegorz Margol (with a little help from me!). We like to call them The Cogworks Performance Dream Team!

The idea of the talk was to showcase some of the awesome brands that already use Umbraco globally, that people may or may not have known were actually Umbraco sites.
Dawid and Greg also demonstrated some of the interesting ways that we have used Umbraco on sites such as Storm Models and some huge global brands such as Vanish, Durex, Finish, Scholl and Dettol to name just a few. See the full video.

Image: Korsan Studio

Umbraco 7.5 and beyond
The final talk was by Rune Hem Strand from the Umbraco HQ. Rune presented a view of what is up and coming in Umbraco from version 7.5 and beyond.

He also gave a brief overview of the structure of the Umbraco HQ and how it has grown over the years to be a team of around 30 who are working tirelessly to ensure it is a robust and well supported platform that can easily match any of its commercial rivals. The future indeed looks bright for Umbraco if their ideas and plans come to fruition! See the full video.

Image: Korsan Studio

Roundup
As our first major event in Poland, the day was a really great success. Everyone was really friendly and interested in Umbraco and where it is going in the future.

What struck me the most was how big the actual Umbraco community in Poland could be. There were at least two or three attendees who had been using Umbraco in live environments for a quite a few years, one of them since version 3! There are probably many, many, more hiding in their bedrooms and offices all over Poland, we just need to find you all :)

The problem seems that there has never been a strong community in Poland for developers to be a part of, which of course is something we are looking to change over the coming months.
It seems as though everyone is really up for it and interested in what the future has to offer and we are glad to be helping build this community in Poland, the same as we did in the UK.

Finally a big thanks to Ania, Marcin, Kasia and everyone else in The Cogworks team for organising and making sure the day ran smoothly. 

In many ways it reminded me of the atmosphere at the first Umbraco UK festival, it was certainly a lot easier to manage one room with 60 people than 300 people across five rooms!

Long live Umbraco in Poland...I’m already looking forward to next year and intrigued to see how big we can help grow the community over there.

Testimonials
“I came to Umbraco Poland Festival looking for an alternative to Wordpress and to see just how fast Umbraco is and if I could use it for my own projects. After the day, I learned that Umbraco is open source and written in .NET, so I definitely want to switch from Wordpress to Umbraco now. I also left satisfied with what I had heard and am waiting for more!”  - Marcin Dłubis, freelancer and small company owner. 

“I work closely with The Cogworks to develop features in Umbraco for our brands at Reckitt Benckiser so I came to get tips and tricks about how to work with databases - which I did with the ‘How to make your Umbraco website faster’ talk. Overall I found it a great experience - very informal and people were kind and willing to share experience and knowledge. It’s good to see Umbraco establishing in Poland. It’s absolutely crucial in development to have someone to contact if you have problems, issues or challenges with Umbraco.” - Piotr Majak, Scrum Master for the Reckitt Benckiser Digital Team. 

“Ever since I discovered Umbraco, I’ve wanted a bigger Umbraco community in Poland. So I came to the festival to continue this mission along with The Cogworks CEO Adam to spread the Umbraco love. My favorite talk was ‘My Top 10’ presented by Ismail Mayat. I’m always curious to see how other developers work and which tools they’re using. I think it was definitely a huge success for everyone who came along - the organisers, attendees, the whole Umbraco community in Poland and the Umbraco CMS itself! - Marcin Zajkowski, developer at The Cogworks, formerly of SICC.”

“I’ve always been interested in everything connected with the web. Right now I’m working in .NET and was looking for a CMS solution based on this language. I saw a post on Facebook about the festival and decided to come along. The best talk for me was Marcin Zajkowski’s on ‘Myth busters.’ I also liked learning that Umbraco operates on the .NET platform. Overall, I had been afraid the event wouldn’t be relevant for me because I work in a slightly different area, but each presentation was interesting and I would like to now add Umbraco to my professional life.” -  Rafał Chodzidło, automator for enterprise solution company AIUT.

Photo credit: Korsan Studio