I recently went to Codegarden19, the official Umbraco developer conference in Odense, Denmark. Here is a short review of what it was like...

Codegarden, for Umbraco developers, is one of the most highly-anticipated events of the year.

Following on the trend of recent years, the conference was held at DOK5000 in Odense, the home city of Umbraco HQ, in Denmark.

I was lucky enough (and super excited) to be able to attend the event on behalf of our Umbraco Gold Partner development team here at Rock Solid Knowledge, and I am here to share some of the happenings, latest news and updates that the Umbraco team and community had to offer.

Karl looking excited for Codegarden19
Lanyard of Karl Tynan at Codegarden19

Codegarden19 was the latest event organised by Umbraco, and this was the fifth time that I had attended the conference (as noted by the red sticker on my lanyard, showcasing "veteran" attendees).

As I was already familiar with the format, I didn't need to attend the new initiatives for first-timers at this years event, which included uBuddy matching and an introduction to Codegarden for first-timers.

These initiatives are a welcome addition to the conference, giving newcomers the insight and knowledge about what the event is all about... or even just a #h5yr when things get a bit overwhelming.

Codegarden19 welcome banner

After registration, and some catching up with old friends, it was time for the opening keynote from the Chief Unicorn, Niels Hartvig, and the Umbraco team. The atmosphere was buzzing with anticipation.

Niels and Umbraco CTO, Jacob Midtgaard-Olesen, outlined their plans using a clear roadmap, including what is happening now, what will be coming next and what is expected later.

The announcements for upcoming features included:

  • A new rich text editor editing experience, similar to that used on Medium
  • A new block-based editor to make it easier to build landing pages
  • New guidelines for documentation to ensure it is a first-class feature of any new Umbraco functionality

One of the biggest announcements, however, was the plan to move Umbraco to .NET Core, ensuring the platform keeps up-to-date with the latest technology in the next chapter of the CMS.

The roadmap went on to outline:

Now:

  • Final feature release of Umbraco 7
  • API corrections for Umbraco 8.1
  • Support for content migration from Umbraco 7 to 8
  • Umbraco 8 Headless (Q3 2019)

Next:

  • Multi-environment deploy tool for Umbraco
  • Better support for grid-based editing
  • Better overview and tracking of media usage in content

Later:

  • Moving Umbraco to .NET Core

The schedule

As always, there were some very interesting talks scheduled at the 2019 event, both technical and not, but there were a few that really caught my attention:

  • "Grids All The Way Down" by Rachel Andrew: exploring the problems that the new CSS grid and subgrid display properties aim to fix
  • "Building Umbraco with a Little Help from Our Friends" by Sebastiaan Janssen, Jan Skovgaard and Kenn Jacobsen: how and why you should contribute to Umbraco
  • "You don't know GIT" by Damiaan Peeters: an overview and explanation of the most important GIT commands and when to use them

There were plenty more great talks, so for the full schedule please visit the Codegarden19 website.

In addition to the scheduled talks, there were also some new areas that I took advantage of. The new "Dream Corner - Collaborate and Share with HQ" was a chance to meet members of Umbraco HQ and other community members to share thoughts and ideas about Umbraco.

  • "Draw with Niels": conceptualise your ideas with UI/UX guru, Niels Lyngsø
  • "Contribute to your Favourite CMS": demonstrating pull requests (PRs) for updating code, translations, documentation and more for Umbraco CMS with Sebastiaan Janssen
  • "Start a meetup/festival": discussions about creating meetups and festivals in the community with Ilham Boulghallat

The awards

Codegarden is also about rewarding companies, contributors and developers who are doing something special with Umbraco.

Every year, there is an opportunity to enter projects and solutions for an award (such as Best Custom Solution or Best Designed Site) but I am always excited for the Umbraco Most Valuable People (MVPs).

Within the announcements for MVPs, our very own Senior Software Developer, Emma Garland, had her Umbraco MVP status renewed! A fantastic achievement and a well-deserved award.

Can you spot yourself or anyone else in the MVP wall banner who has helped you over the years?

You can see the full list of Umbraco MVPs for 2019 in the blog announcement.

Umbraco MVPs from 2007-2019

Socialising and... bingo

Along with learning about Umbraco, Codegarden is about socialising with like-minded people who all share a common interest. Whether it be old friends who turn up every year, or new friends who are first-timers to the event, it is always great to relax and enjoy the company of other developers over a nice cold beverage, talking about code, design, Umbraco and much more.

Lunch and dinner is provided as part of the event, and with on-site refreshments and entertainment, socialising continues throughout the night, encouraging friendly chats and discussion well after the conference day has finished.

But the pièce de résistance is the infamous Umbraco Bingo and dinner...

Every year there is a game of bingo that is hard to describe, but included:

  • Unusual entertainment: a drag Dolly Parton act and a panpipe pop group
  • Plenty of laughs: a coding competition while eating hot chilis with YouTube star Chili Klaus
  • Outrageous prizes: a pair of Umbraco-branded maracas and a cast iron tortilla press

This is not just any game of bingo. This is a game of bingo like you have never seen before, and you have to experience it to believe it (unfortunately, I don’t have any sensible photos to share).

Goodbyes

After some great talks, many conversations about code and lots of inspiration to take away, we reached the final day and it was time to say goodbye.

I left Codegarden19 with happy memories shared with old friends (and new), ideas from the variety of presentations and discussions that I had taken part in, and a smile that you can only get from a community like this. The Umbraco community truly is a special one and I look forward to attending my next community event.

You can find out more about Codegarden19 or buy Codegarden20 tickets online now - if you are really quick, you'll even get it at early bird prices!


You can follow me on Twitter: @karltynan

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