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Sitecore Symposium Europe (a photo report)

with 3 comments

Marc DuikerOn the 5th and 6th of September I attended the Sitecore Symposium in Amsterdam. Here are some snapshots I took during this great event.

(Apologies for low quality photos due the my old smartphone, usually I produce prettier pictures. )

Registration & Welcome Reception

Since I needed to be in Amsterdam on the evening of the September 4th anyway I briefly went to the Okura Hotel to register.

My badge!

I collected my badge, had a coffee and  talked with Mark van Aalst (Sitecore NL) about the Dutch Sitecore User Group (more on that later).

Welcome Reception

Symposium Day 1


On the first day of the Symposium I arrived a bit late. The keynote by Michael Seifert had already started.

Day 1 – Keynote

When the evening program was disclosed it was announced that a trip to Las Vegas could be won, woohoo!

Day 1 –  Win a trip to Las Vegas!

After the keynote a small guerilla action took place to promote the Dutch Sitecore User Group  (many thanks to the distributor of the flyers 😉 ). If you want to join the first meeting of the Dutch Sitecore User Group on the 31st of October please register here.

Day 1 – Sitecore User Group NL flyer

Developer Track

Being a developer I was of course most interested in attending the Developer Track. This started with a keynote by Kerry Bellerose and Lars Nielsen about all the new features Sitecore had been working on lately. One of the main features is Foundry 4. This module enables advanced multisite management and will be made availble for free!

Day 1 – Dev Keynote – Foundry 4

Another great new feature which will be released is SPEAK. SPEAK is the new UI component which is based on HTML5, CSS3 and Javascript and will replace the existing and cumbersome xaml-based SHEER UI.

Day 1 – Dev Keynote – SPEAK UI

Next Tim Ward gave an excellent presentation about various solutions to handle multisite environments. He presented  a completely new module called ‘Sitecore Multisite Manager’ which can be downloaded from github. Really impressive work!

Day 1 – Multisite solutions

The last presentation of day 1 was certainly one of the most memorable ones. It was a ‘drama play’ featuring Kerry Bellerose (as the project manager) and John West (as the Sitecore consultant) on how to avoid 5 common pitfalls when doing Sitecore projects. Although the idea of this drama play was nice, the result wasn’t what I had hoped for (although it was quite entertaining in certain ways ;). I prefer seeing John West talk about in depth technical stuff. That is where he really shines.

Day 1 – Drama play: 5 ways to kill your website

Symposium Day 2

The second day of the symposium started with a mind-blowing presentation by Tim Ward about Item Buckets. These Buckets are meant to hold very large numbers of items without degrading performance when manipulating or querying these items. The ‘Sitecore Item Buckets’ module can be downloaded from github.

Day 2 – Item Buckets

When using the Sitecore Item Buckets, a new search field (based on SPEAK) is available in the Content Editor. Tim showed various ways how this field could be used to query items in the Buckets. I think the entire audience was in awe after this presentation. It was certainly my personal favorite.

Day 2 – Item Buckets

Product Track

Since I wanted to learn more about the available personalization options in Sitecore I made a small sidestep to the Product Track and attended ‘The Many Types of Sitecore Personalization and When to Use It and How’ presentation by Lars Petersen. Lars is an entertaining speaker and this was a very informative presentation (although as a developer I missed seeing some code 🙂 ).

Developer Track

Back on the right track for another presentation by John West. This time about Sitecore MVC and other ‘Killer Features’ of Sitecore 6.6.

Day 2 – Sitecore MVC & 6.6 Killer Features

Again a ‘drama play’ performed by Kerry (the PM) and John (Sitecore dev) where John educates Kerry about the benefits of using Sitecore MVC. In my opinion the drama could have been skipped and that time could have been better spent on a more in depth view on Sitecore’s MVC implementation.

Day 2 – MVC drama

In the Q&A session afterwards Robbert Hock asked some questions to John West.

Day 2 – Robbert Hock  in the MVC Q&A session

Next another great developer oriented presentation by Lars Nielsen about how to become the marketer’s best friend. Since I don’t have many friends in marketing this was a perfect fit for me :).

Day 2 – Marketers best friend

Lars gave a very funny demonstration which involved ‘John East’, the overeager developer.

Day 2 – John East 😉

Lars showed several ways how to use the DMS API to extract valuable customer statistics by involving multidimensional space mathematics. It was very inspiring to see what can be achieved with DMS.

Day 2 – Breaking behaviour

The final developer presentation was given by Morten Ljungberg on how to use the excellent Visual Studio extension Sitecore Rocks. Although many of shown features were known several small gems were revealed that makes life of a Sitecore developer even easier (such as Commandy).

Day 2 – Sitecore Rocks!

To conclude

This was my first Sitecore Symposium and I enjoyed it immensely. It was great meeting other Sitecore enthousiasts in real life and seeing the faces behind the Twitter avatars :). The only downside was not winning the Social Media contest ;), congrats to Robbert though!

The way the Sitecore products move forward, being improved and extended continuously (and some even being provided free of charge), is very exciting and I look forward using many of the new features. Until the next Sitecore Symposium or the first Dutch Sitecore User Group meeting!



Written by marcduiker

September 18, 2012 at 8:39 pm

3 Responses

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  1. Great post and pictures!



    September 19, 2012 at 6:19 am

  2. Great pics! Great info under the pics! Beat me next year that’s the challenge 😉

    Robbert Hock (@kayeeNL)

    September 19, 2012 at 7:22 am

  3. Nice summary of a great event!
    I miss a photo of the 2nd nicest flyer though 😉


    Ruud van Falier

    September 19, 2012 at 11:27 am

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