A conference like no other!
So much has happened since my last blog but the short version is, LEWIS became Gold Partners for Umbraco, I became a certified Umbraco Master developer and then I got the chance to go to the official Umbraco conference in Odense, Denmark - Codegarden. All this in 10 months of me joining LEWIS! It's been amazing!
Once I knew I was 100% going, the countdown began and before I knew it, I was on a plane to Copenhagen. From there it was a train ride to Odense, which is where Umbraco have their HQ and where Codegarden is hosted. My boss Charles and I headed out on Monday morning so that we were in Odense for the Gold Partner Summit which we were attending on the Tuesday.
The Gold Partner summit was really interesting. A chance to meet some of the HQ staff and chat to them about up and coming developments in the Umbraco ecosystem. A good day but not long enough for us to really tackle any topics with gusto.
Once the chat was over we were treated to a VIP dinner which was amazing and then it was time to head up to Umbraco HQ for the pre-codegarden party!
The next day was the first day of Codegarden and I was like a kid at Christmas. Super excited, I woke up before my alarm had gone off and I pulled on my running kit to meet the #cgRunners. Every day of Codegarden a small group of people meet up at 7am for a 5k run, they are the #cgRunners, or, runbracians as Carole's work mate named us. For anyone that doesn't know Carole, she organises the Glasgow Umbraco Meetups and is a super talented dev who works at Equator. You should check out some of the stuff she is doing with Umbraco and Iot devices.
With the run done, I headed back to my hotel, grabbed my breakfast then headed up to Codegarden with Charles. We got to the entrance of the venue and we were greeted by a man playing an organ and hi-5s from members of staff from HQ. I was also met by Kim, Chief friend maker for Umbraco as he needed to have a quick word with me about a couple of things - more about this later.
Now, I was going to go in to detail about each day, what I did, who I met, what I heard etc but I think I'll just give you my highlights from each day and hopefully, you will get why I love Umbraco and the community behind it.
This might be a good time to go and get a coffee.
Niels, Chief Unicorn, took to the stage to welcome everyone to CG18 and he gave his keynote talk, announcing:
Umbraco v8 is now a thing. It has a dedicated team of people working on it and it's now out on public preview. Soon after the key note finished, a lot of people were downloading and getting v8 working on their laptops.
Umbraco Headless is out on Beta, you can use headless for free while it's in beta stage.
Umbraco Latch, which is really sweet - Umbraco has become a sponsor of Let's Encrypt and as part of this, all Umbraco Cloud accounts get free SSL certificates automatically.
He then moved on to the MVP awards. As part of the announcements, little ole me received an award!! Yip, me, Owain, got a Most Valued Person award from Niels. I still need to pinch myself! I've been in the community for maybe a year and I have a shiny award from Umbraco for Core Contributions - mind, blown!
This is also why I had to speak to Kim before everything kicked off. He wanted to check if I would be happy to be interviewed by a local paper, how could I say no?
The day continued with amazing talks, lots of networking, lots of people saying congrats on the MVP and lots of people signing my Tshirt.
Oh, you don't know about my Tshirt?
Hmm, this blog is getting longer and longer as I type!!
So, I wanted to experience as much of codegarden as I could and I wanted to meet as many people as I could. I decided to make a list of people I would like to meet and then invited people from twitter to add their names to the list if they would like to meet me. 49 names later and I had a massive list of people. I got all their names printed on to a tshirt, each with a tickbox. The mission, to find every single person and get them to tick their names off. It took 2 days but I got it done. It was a brilliant way to mingle with people I've never met.
Then we had a boat ride up the river, a game which included a hammer and some nails! Beers, lots of beers, then back to the hotel! Day 1 done.
More amazing talks. I was totally inspired by the 100 days of code talk by Eleftheria Batsou, and I now plan to do my own 100 Days of Code where I will learn C# from scratch. I've tried this in the past but I think I've found a better approach. This will be another blog at a later date!
Slave and Eagle concert - don't ask but it was epic!
There were a couple more talks about how to speed up Umbraco front-end and back-end for your users. How some of these guys figure some of this stuff out is mind-blowing.
Another live broadcast of #UmbraCoffee - I forgot to mention that in day 1.
More beers and more networking and the legendary Umbraco Bingo. I would go in to more detail about this but it's really hard to explain and you really just need to be there to get it. :)
Epic music set by Adam from The Cogworks and I got home at 4am!
Up at 6:15am for the final #cgRunners
Then a couple of talks, some live demos on the main stage - inspiring stuff from people who might never have been on a stage in front of 400+ people before but they nailed it and I'm now thinking about submitting a talk for next year! It was also a chance for people just to show off some of the things they are using Umbraco for.
We then did 2 rounds of open space talks.
This is hard to explain, and this blog is long enough as it is, but, I got a lot out of these talks and really enjoyed them. I attended 2 talks, one about contributing the online documenation for Umbraco, specifically v8 documentation and also how Our could be improved - lots of exciting changes are in the pipeline.
Really, a blog can not explain how amazing all the speakers were or how fantastically organised the entire event was. Everyone did a brilliant job! #h5yr (high 5, you rock!)
So, should you go next year? Without a doubt, yes! Go, you will not regret it and I'm hoping to see you there. If you are not a developer, then even better. I think Codegarden could improve even more if non developers attended, submitted talks and helped create a better user experience by giving feedback.
Thanks to Umbraco HQ for the great photos - check out all the other photos, it's worth it.