On March 4th I attended my first-ever Umbraco conference, uWestFest 2016, in San Diego, CA. It was eye-opening to see different uses for Umbraco and the fact that so many other people besides the ones I work with, use it. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in “our” way of doing things, so it was nice seeing other ways. And this conference was primarily meant for only Umbraco developers in North America - no telling what CodeGarden would be like!
My coworkers and I from ProWorks in Corvallis, OR, arrived on Wednesday for socializing and dinner with some of the Umbraco people who were already there. Thursday we prepped for the presentations three of us were going to give, explored San Diego, and attended the pre-party hosted by uCommerce. At that event I met a city webmaster who is preparing to use Umbraco for her city’s website, a designer who gave me tips on learning design, and other people. It was interesting hearing how other companies structure their Umbraco projects, in terms of time-management and technical processes.
Then came Friday, the big day: 15 sessions plus introduction and closing talks and demos. I went to mostly technical sessions and learned about the Grid, Umbraco 7.4, and new things to integrate Umbraco with. I had completed my Level 1 & 2 training a few months earlier so this was the perfect time to attend. At the end of the day we heard what Umbraco is planning for the future and some of the statistics on Umbraco usage. I even got an idea for a session I could run next year!
Probably the best thing I got out of the conference was the chance to see Umbraco outside of the lens of ProWorks and our projects and how we work. We can read about and try different packages and techniques, but it’s so important to get other perspectives on using Umbraco and meet the people behind it. It’s is an open source project after all, so everyone has the capability to contribute in one way or another. I would highly recommend uWestFest as a 1st-time Umbraco conference.