Codegarden is the annual conference for Umbraco, the open source content management system (CMS) we use to develop many of our .Net sites in-house.
The event is curated by Niels Hartvig, the man who conceived Umbraco 17 years ago. His eccentric sense of fun, quality and uncompromised creativity defines Umbraco - The friendly CMS - and it prevailed throughout the event. Over 500 delegates (the biggest ever turnout) were serenaded in by a brass quartet, ploughed with fine scandinavian food then truly inspired by a mass of masterclass workshops, seminars and idea-sharing sessions. It included a surprise boat ride and climaxed in an umbraco-themed bingo event we’re not really supposed to talk about, but to give you an idea - one prize was the opportunity to total an old car.
Since the codebase was open sourced in 2004 Niels has had the help of thousands of contributors worldwide, making it the highly-accessible and super-extendable CMS (currently on version 7.6.3) it is today. Our designers and developers love Umbraco for its minimalist architecture that allows for maximum customisation; as do our client content editors, particularly those who migrate from another CMS (Wordpress, Drupal, Joomla), for how intuitive it is to use.
We’ve expanded our development team at D8 this year and have been using Umbraco as the basis for a wide variety of applications - large-scale shopping cart sites (Merchello as well as completely bespoke solutions), single page web apps, form-driven recruitment engines and property sites.
Some key Codegarden take-homes include techniques for better CMS-integrated mobile app development with React, some cyber-security essentials, using Artificial Intelligence for deciding which address an email is sent to (is the tone of the message happy or sad?), responsibly budgeting large-scale content projects, new browser APIs that solve the mobile e-commerce conversion drop-off problem and a host of fresh ideas to improve on web accessibility.
Codegarden’s greatest attribute is its opportunity for real-life introductions between the far-apart and diverse Umbraco community who, for most of the year, are only friends in virtual space. It attracts an array of interesting people - agencies, freelancers, start-ups, big corporations, charity and voluntary organisations alike. Until next year…