Friday, April 12, 2019
When after a great talk speakers receive one "High Five, You Rock" after another, when Umbraco experts and newbies meet at eye level, when everyone joins to better Umbraco 8 at a hackathon, when introverts dare sharing their Umbraco knowledge with the community, when a live band plays the theme to Ducktales at the after-party to everyone’s delight – that can only mean one thing: the only German Umbraco festival is back!
Festivals such as the Umbraco-Festival Deutschland (UFD) are an integral part of the product that is Umbraco. This Umbraco conference, organised by German Gold Partner byte5, is not only the only one in the German-speaking world, but also one of the oldest. In 2012, the first German Umbraco festival took place and it went by “umbOktoberfest”. Last week for the seventh time, the international community that surrounds the Danish open-source CMS Umbraco met in the centre of Germany – the springlike city of Frankfurt am Main – for Umbraco-Festival Deutschland. What was on the agenda? One hackathon on the day before and 16 sessions on festival day – and in between lots of interesting discussions, healthy treats and, after work, one or the other Umbraco cocktail!
© Axel Gross
UFD19 started on Thursday, 4 April, with a hackathon led by Poornima Nayar from the official Pull Request Team and byte5 CPO and Umbraco coach Sören Deger. Content apps have been the topic of community and development since Umbraco 8 was released a few weeks ago. No surprises that working on such an app, called "Look who's editing now", was started at the very first German v8 hackathon. "We have laid the foundation for this content app together," says Poornima, visibly satisfied. And Sören adds: "The hackathon was a complete success! All participants have agreed to continue the development, so that we can finish our content app together and make it available to the community on Our." What followed the hackathon in the evening, was the official UFD pre-party with a DJ, fantastic buffet and bar and many Umbracians chatting. The perfect kick-off to UFD19!
© Axel Gross
It was just after 9 a.m., when byte5 founder and UFD initiator Christian Wendler welcomed all attendees to the seventh German Umbraco conference. Christian announced that byte5 as a host would – just as in the previous year – donate € 1 to Unicef for every filled-in feedback form. With the latter, participants could rate the quality of each session. This way, in 2018, € 133 were raised. Of course, everyone wanted to break this record and set themselves the goal of filling in 200 feedback sheets and thereby donating the corresponding amount to Unicef. After this welcome by Christian, community legend Pete Duncanson took over. With "Presenting Is a Team Sport“, he gave the audience a proper warm-up. Now everyone was ready for the official session programme to start!
After HQ’s own Kim Sneum Madsen (Chief Friend Maker) and Jacob Midtgaard Olesen (CTO) had given their keynote – filling in at short notice after Umbraco founder Niels Hartvig had had to cancel –, Kim gave the first "wow effect" of the day. In the context of his talk, he ripped off his button-down shirt halfway through the keynote – revealing what he was wearing underneath: a jersey of the German national team.
© Axel Gross
Alongside this “wow moment”, Jacob and Kim gave an interesting keynote on all Umbraco and HQ news. Umbraco continues to pursue ambitious goals. There are currently 525,000 live sites running on Umbraco and Umbraco Cloud. By the end of 2021, HQ is aiming at a million. Worldwide, there are currently 1100 Umbraco partners, 5200 certified developers and 225,000 active community members, all of whom are committed to achieving this goal. HQ is also working hard to move forward quickly and to introduce key v8 updates, most notably the ability to migrate sites from v7 to v8 and the expansion of Umbraco 8 features. In addition, Umbraco Headless was announced for the second half of 2019. With Umbraco's new headless system, digital content can be delivered to any number of different devices – laptop, smartphone, TV, tablet, smartwatch, and more. This allows content to be produced and managed in a user-oriented and flexible manner. Umbraco Headless will be launching on v8.
What followed the keynote was a successful mix of sessions, the talks ranging from beginner to deep tech topics, Umbraco-specific talks, as well as meta topics: "Magically Integrating External Data" (Damiaan Peeters), "Testing ... Anyone Can Do It, Right?" (Ramona de Wit-van Ark)," Deep Learning with Unicorns and Umbraco" (Henk Boelman) or "Empathy in Tech” (Carole Rennie Logan) – just to name a few. And, of course, one thing that was on everyone's lips was Umbraco 8. This range of topics gave the perfect basis for an awesome event.
© Axel Gross
UmbraCoffee, Callum Whyte and Marcin Zajkowski’s live stream, which features all news Umbraco every Friday, was also streaming live from the German festival this year. Joining the two hosts where UFD chief organiser Laura Vogt, byte5 COO Chris Köhler and Kim from HQ. Anyone who has not seen this episode of umbraCoffee can do so on the official YouTube channel.
The advantages of attending a festival are obvious to Christian: "Anyone working professionally with Umbraco will only make full use of this tool once they have made a personal connection with the community." And byte5 partner Chris adds: “You can be active in all the online communities, but only at a festival like ours you have the opportunity to really get in touch with the community and experience the Umbraco spirit yourself." UFD19 attendees were just as varied as the talks. The guests did not only from German-speaking areas, but also from other European countries. Well-known faces, veterans, community legends – and as UFD initiator Christian notes with satisfaction: "This year we had about a third of participants who were here for the first time. There's lots going on in the Umbraco community!”
© Axel Gross
This spirit is omnipresent on a day like last Friday. Where else can you find magic tricks in a tech talk, Umbraco recognizing images of unicorns using AI, or a live band playing the Fraggles theme at the after-party? Developers and agencies that use Umbraco professionally, come to UFD for the insights the speaker give in their talks, and also for that extra bit of craziness, which only exists at a Umbraco festival.
While sessions ended at 6 p.m., UFD19 did not end quite yet. The after-party was on! Attendees had tweeted all day using the hashtag #UFD19, and before the opening of the buffet the two winners of the hashtag competition were announced. Tita, the lovely fairy godmother, also drew a winner from all submitted feedback sheets. Speaking of… With 169 completed feedback forms, the ambitious goal of € 200 was slightly missed. But thanks to the community's efforts to fill in all those sheets and giving valuable feedback, byte5 donated 10 crisis packages and 100 measles vaccines worth over € 200 to Unicef.
© Axel Gross
With treats from an amazing buffet, Umbraco-themed cocktails from the bar, and the duo Ich & Du, that played hand-made live music all night long, the after-party was now in full swing! Reminiscing in old memories, talking to new and old friends, discussing the talks, taking pictures together... That's how UFD19 came to nice end. And all hard-core festival goers went on to what is the traditional, unofficial "after-after-party" – in a coach onto the local karaoke bar ...
We would like to thank all speakers, attendees and supporters of UFD19! Without you, it would not have been the great festival it was! H5YR!