Tacos, bingo and headless CMS at Umbraco Codegarden '19

Gold Partner summit and academy

Before the official start of Codegarden, Screenmedia was invited to attend the Gold Partner Summit with around 100 attendees from all over the world. At this event, Niels Hartvig (the founder of Umbraco) and Umbraco's leadership team shared news and insights, and presented an exciting new roadmap for the future of the CMS.

Gold Partner Summit (Image credit: Umbraco HQ)

Running in tandem with the summit was the Umbraco Academy, a chance for developers to acquire Umbraco certifications through an all-day intensive training course. At Screenmedia, we already have five certified Umbraco professionals and were delighted to add the Umbraco, MVC, and Visual Studio course to our team's knowledge.

Following the academy, it was time for the Gold Partner dinner and pre-party at Umbraco HQ. It was great to meet and share a few beers with community members ahead of the conference, and hear more about what other great solutions people have been building with Umbraco.

Gold Partner ‘Get2Gether’ and dinner

Day 1: talks, tacos and trophies

The first day of Codegarden kicked off with the keynote address and a preview of what the conference had in store. Nestled by the harbour, the venue itself was impressive and spanned multiple buildings with various stages, tents and garden areas for socialising.

With 32 times the number of attendees as the first event, Codegarden 2019 was a big milestone for Umbraco. Seeing over 700 attendees speaking 23 different languages really highlighted the popularity, reach, and strength of community behind this CMS.

Niels Hartvig opens with the keynote address

On day one, a couple of the talks which really stood out for us were:

  • 'Using headless to sell tacos' by Morten Christensen; Umbraco Headless is the latest cloud offering which allows content to be consumed not just by websites, but pretty much any device. In the age of the Internet of Things (IoT), making content easily accessible and consumable is vital. Morten's fun demo used Umbraco Headless to deliver taco orders to a PoS system, and best of all the Umbraco team were on hand to fulfil the orders!
  • 'The future might be distributed' by Deane Barker; when building modern websites, content often comes from multiple sources. Deane's talk explored the idea of content management systems being managers and orchestrators of multiple content providers rather than the single source of all content. In order to produce a unified experience, they need to facilitate such 3rd party integrations which Umbraco certainly does.

Day 1 finished with the Umbraco Awards, a chance for the best Umbraco solutions in the world to be showcased and recognised. Up against tough competition, Screenmedia's application for the Scottish Ambulance Service was shortlisted for 'Best Custom Solution'. We sadly didn't pick up an award this year, but we'll certainly be putting forward more of our solutions at future Codegardens!

Day 2: lots of talks and bingo(?!)

Day 2 was a busy one packed end-to-end with lots of brilliant talks. Some of the talks which stood out for us were:

  • 'Enhancing the Umbraco experience using machine learning' by Steve Temple; as Microsoft Gold Partners, we've already been experimenting with potential applications of Azure's cognitive services within Umbraco. In this talk, Steve showed just how simple it can be to integrate Umbraco with these services. In one standout example, Steve used Azure's Vision API to recognise the difference between 'traditional' and 'modern' sink and bathroom taps so that product images were auto-tagged and categorised for filtering.
  • 'Building gr8 packages' by Dave Woestenborghs; one of the reasons we love Umbraco is for its flexibility and extensibility. In v8, the way the backoffice can be customised has been improved further through content apps. Dave's talk provided a great insight into backoffice customisation and how we can build even better packages and apps.

Day 2 ended with the legendary Umbraco bingo - part social event, part strange dream. No blog post could do this event justice (or begin to describe the goings on!) but what we can say is that it’s a fun way to bring the community together. Here’s what Niels Hartvig, the founder of Umbraco had to say before it all began:

A pre-bingo apology!

Day 3: shaping the future

With hundreds of great Umbraco brains in one place, day 3 was about putting all our heads together to shape and influence the future of the CMS. Looking ahead at future trends and hot topics has always kept Umbraco ahead of the curve. Despite having just released the most feature packed, user-friendly version to date (v8), Umbraco HQ and the community are not slowing down!

At the start of day 3, we received a summary of what was discussed at the Umbraco retreat - a small gathering of Umbraco HQ and community members prior to Codegarden where knowledge sharing and coding takes place. A key aspect of this was the roadmap which included “Project UniCore”: a plan to transition Umbraco to .NET core. Also in the roadmap were plans for a new rich text editor, enhanced documentation, and a new standard for storing structured data.

Niels introducing Project UniCore

We also got to hear about the new Request for Contribution (RFC) process. With so many Umbraco improvements going on, RFCs seek to provide a consistent, transparent, and controlled way for Umbraco HQ and the community to collaborate on important decisions on the codebase. This is a significant addition to the code contribution process and we’re excited to see how Screenmedia can be involved too.

The rest of day 3 was different in that it involved open space discussions instead of talks. The recap and findings of the retreat inspired these sessions, but we were all asked to contribute topics for discussion. After finalising topics and a schedule, everybody broke into groups where thoughts and ideas were discussed and debated. The open space sessions were a unique and fitting close to what was an extremely welcoming and friendly conference.

Determining the topics for the Open Sessions.

We would like to say thank you to all the attendees, speakers, Umbraco HQ team, and everyone we bumped into during our fantastic time at Codegarden. We’ve all come back home feeling inspired and have lots of notes to share with the team... roll on #CG20!

Screenmedia are a certified Umbraco Gold Partner. If you want to hear more about what we learned at Codegarden, or how we're putting best practices to work to create powerful, beautiful websites, get in touch, we'd love to talk.



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