DevCon 2018 Retrospective

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DevCon 2018 Retrospective

Member II
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It has now been a few days since DevCon 2018 wrapped up, and after digesting everything that happened I feel like it is a good time to write down a few thoughts.  In short, DevCon was AWESOME!  It's no secret that DevCon was always a favorite of our community, our partners and of course, the extended team at Alfresco.  This year's event felt like we never stopped doing it.  The attendees were engaged, the energy was high, and the sessions were informative and fun.  For that, we owe Kristen Gastaldo, Francesco Corti, Richard Esplin and their collaborators at the Order of the Bee a huge amount of gratitude.  Even though it was a reboot of a crowd favorite event, a lot has changed.

The Alfresco community has always been a driving force at DevCon, as it should be.  We are an open source company, after all, and when you are an open source company your community plays a pivotal role in your success.  This year that was on full display.  Not only were a huge number of our community superstars there in person, but even the talk selection was a joint effort between the community and the company.  The talks themselves were also a great mix of Alfrescians and our extended community, partners and customers.  If I recall correctly it was almost a neat split right down the middle.  Collaboration with the community was a running theme throughout the conference, and was the focus of one of the talks that wrapped up the first day.  Suffice to say, there are a TON of opportunities to get involved.  Whether you blog, write tutorials, create and contribute your own community extensions or work on an existing one, or submit pull requests to one of our numerous open source projects, it isn't hard to find a way to contribute.

As for the talks themselves, the content was of the quality we expect from our team and community.  Several people from the Alfresco Strategic Services team were among those selected to present, but unfortunately I didn't get to see all of them due to conflicts with my own speaking slots and other conference duties.  Jose Portillo spoke on Solr Sharding, Luis Cabaceira shared some great work he has been doing with Piergiorgio Lucidi on ManifoldCF, Richard McKnight covered some best practices for building Alfresco extensions, and Mohammed Gazal took his first turn on the stage to present some work on PDF templating.  Luckily the talks were all recorded, and will be posted in the coming weeks.  If you missed something the first time around, you'll have the whole event at your fingertips. 

One thing in particular that I liked about this year's DevCon was the mix between what is best practice today, what is coming from Alfresco, and a third category that you might call "the art of the possible".  Of course we had some great sessions on securing content with our governance tools, exporting content, building ACS extensions, tuning Solr and building resilient systems, but we also had a lot of forward looking sessions focused on AWS, ADF and other cutting edge stuff coming out of Alfresco.  I'd like to see this continue in the future.  It's important for us to share the best way to do things today as well as preparing ourselves and our community for the future.

With so many submissions not everybody was able to be included in the official conference agenda, but we are working to find ways to get that knowledge out into the world.  Perhaps as blog posts, or maybe some community webcasts?  Not sure yet but I'd love to hear how you would like us to continue the momentum that DevCon started.  I'm coming off this conference with a huge amount of energy, and can't wait to see what the rest of 2018 has in store! 

About the Author
I build things and fix problems. I lead teams that build things and fix problems. Happy to chat process, content and services delivery over a beer any time.