By Adam Shallcross
What do you get when you cross 300 attendees, 13 talks, 8 workshops, 6 rooms, 1 hackathon and unlimited coffee...Why the Umbraco UK Festival of course!
And WOW, what an event it was this year!
If you didn’t manage to attend you can get an idea of the atmosphere by watching Kris Deminick’s fantastic opening talk - Inside the Engine Room: Working at Umbraco HQ. You could almost taste the community love and excitement in the room!
The hackathon this year was held on Thursday, the day before the festival, and started out as a nice pleasant room, but quickly became a hot, coffee and pizza fuelled sweat shop. To quote Anthony Dang, “It smelled like developers,” which I guess is the sign of a hard day's work!
The day is always a great event in itself, helping the Umbraco HQ squash all those niggly bugs and issues that they don’t have time to fix.
With around 65 attendees coming and going throughout the day, the event was a great success with 35 issues fixed and 26 pull requests completed.
The day ended with majority of the attendees going for a well earned bit of R&R to a local watering hole to let off some steam and get to know the community better. It seemed we had most of Scandinavia and in particular Denmark with us in a pseudo viking invasion - which was great to see!
The Main Event
This year’s event was held at the awesome CodeNode near Moorgate in London. The venue, designed specifically to run tech events, is a vibrant and collaborative workspace that fits well with the Umbraco ethos.
This year we decided to split the day into a couple of streams - one for beginners/newbies and one for more advanced and experienced developers. We also threw in a smattering of business non-techie talks for good measure.
A major feature across the day was the addition of a wide range of workshops which gave everyone the opportunity to get stuck into a good selection of subjects including: Umbraco property editors, continuous integration and Agile project management techniques.
The Mystical HQ
One of the highlights of the day for me was having Kris Deminick from Umbraco kick off the day. Kris delivered a fabulous introduction to Umbraco HQ and what they do to maintain the platform we know and love. It was a great insight into the team behind the product and demonstrated that there is indeed a huge amount of resource and effort that goes on behind the scenes.
Contrary to popular beliefs surrounding open source projects, it's not just a bunch of developers in a basement bashing away at their keyboards. There is a whole ecosystem of support, planning and partnership management going on behind the scenes to keep Umbraco moving in the right direction to ensure it’s progressing and continues to be one of the best .NET CMS’s in the marketplace.
Keeping it Simple
An unofficial and unexpected theme for the day was the ethos of ‘Keep it Simple’. Some of the highlights included:
- Per Ploug showing us how to keep it simple when developing with Umbraco by removing unnecessary complexities and steering clear of complex frameworks that add extra bloat and levels of abstraction where it’s not needed.
- Pete Duncanson delivered a thought provoking discussion around Umbraco why ‘it’s not just code’, it’s about the business side of things as well as how keeping it simple helps clients understand what is good about Umbraco.
- Niels Hartvig, as always, delivered an inspirational and insightful view of where Umbraco is now and where it’s headed in the future. He also touched on taking development back to basics and keeping things simple as well as the power of the official training course, whether as an experienced developer or not, it’s great to keep things consistent.
All the workshops were really well received and oversubscribed, we even had some people sitting on the floor just to get in!
We also had some amazing feedback in particular for the ‘Continuous Integration and Continuous Development’ workshop run by our very own Alejandro Ocampo and Callum Whyte.
So all in all a fantastic day was had by everyone who attended. An amazing venue, great food and great conversation, showing once again how strong and amazing the Umbraco community is in the UK.
A big thanks to everyone at CodeNode, the speakers and workshop hosts and also The Cogworks team without whom the day would definitely have been a lot more chaotic!
As an event, the festival goes from strength-to-strength improving each year we organise it. We always listen and take on the feedback (both good and bad) to make the next year’s event even better.
It takes an enormous amount of time and effort to put on, but we love doing it as it is a chance to bring the UK Umbraco community together - and as the UK community is the largest in the world, we think it is well worth it! It is the community that makes Umbraco special and drives the platform, the festival, the local meetups and the addition of other events can only make it stronger.
Thanks to all of you for coming and we all look forward to seeing you again next year!