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Liferay's First Developer Conference

General Blogs October 31, 2013 By James Falkner

As we approach the end of 2013, we also approach the end of the annual Liferay Conferences (the final two events are coming up: Liferay Portal Solutions Forum in London, and the Liferay Italy Symposium in Florence). I was privileged to be able to attend many of these, and while I always love seeing our community and the magic that can happen in person, I was especially excited to attend our first ever 3-day Developer Conference and UnConference in Berlin. This event was tailored to our developer community and featured not only some awesome talks from our community leaders, but an UnConference as well. Check out the video recap if you want to see some of the attendees and what they had to say, or read on for more detail.

The UnConference

If you've never attended or heard of an UnConference before, here's the short version: A conference where the attendees decide the agenda and topics to discuss. Olaf did an amazing job as organizer and event chief, and made it an event worth remembering (Literally -- you'll find summaries below). The first session was an agenda building session, and I was curious what would happen.. I attended an UnConference earlier this year with a bunch of community managers, and the moment the floor opened up for requests, 50 people stood up with pen in hand and a twinkle in their eye, so I was wondering what our community would do when faced with publicly speaking and stating their desires for topics. And I was happy to see there were almost 40 proposed topics ranging from Translation improvements to Clustering Architecture to Disc Golf!

While it's always fun to sit around and talk about Liferay, many of the sessions resulted in discovering new ways of doing things, improvements that can be made, connections between community members who only knew of each other from the forums, and many other benefits of a face-to-face conversation. I was only able to attend one talk per timeslot, so I don't have details on each and every one, but kudos to all of the note-takers for each session! It is a tough job trying to participate and write, so if you happen to benefit from any of this, be sure to thank the note takers.

UnConference Summaries

Below are all of the sessions held during the UnConference. If the note-takers took notes, you'll find them linked either to an image of the physical piece of paper used for the notes, or a link to an online/digital version.

If you took notes and do not find your notes below, OR if you took notes via a laptop/mobile, please post them to the wiki, let me know, and I'll link to them here. Time permitting, I'll also try and link these to the agenda itself if it is to remain online (will need to check with the web team on that). If some of these are illegible, I believe Olaf has the high-res versions somewhere on his mobile!

The Developer Conference

The final 2 days were dedicated to a traditional pre-set agenda featuring many of our community leaders talking about their experiences with and knowledge of Liferay and related technologies. It was quite far removed from your typical lead-generating business / technical conference. We had the Julio and Sergio cooking show, Marian and Sampsa broke (and fixed) Liferay, late night Table Football, and I even snuck in some naked Finns into my community talk! For that I'd be quietly shown the door at many other conferences :)

I also saw an unexpected yet very real and very welcome benefit: our community literally sitting down with Liferay engineering and support experts, debugging issues in real-time on production sites, and getting immediate resolution to something that would have taken a lot longer online. That alone paid for their trip to Berlin, and really shows the power of our community: people with shared experiences (and sometimes shared suffering) getting together to make something better than before. This happened again in San Francisco two weeks ago! Very cool.

All in all it was a great event for me, and hopefully for everyone who attended. I know I sound like a broken record, but I think our community has the absolute best mix of positive outlook (even in the face of Liferay's ... quirks), a good grasp of reality, technical skills, and camaraderie that I don't see anywhere else. I hope we can repeat this kind of event in the near future, in Germany or elsewhere, and make it even more awesome!

Community Awards

I'm saving this for my next blog post (separation of concern, modularity, eh Ray?), but I also want thank all of our community that contributed over the last year. We've had a lot of nice contributions in many areas (and more in the pipeline), and it's nice to be recognized for this, so we recognized 5 individuals and 9 partners (worldwide) for their Community Excellence. I'll detail their achievements and what they give back to our community in my next post!

In Summary

All in all, I was honored and privileged to attend and meet many of you. We are all stuck behind IDEs, monitors and keyboards, mobiles, endless internal meetings, Impress/Keynote/PowerPoint presentations, and other distractions, so I would like to thank all of you that took the time out of your busy schedules to pay for, travel to, and participate in these Liferay events.

Presentation slides for most if not all of the sessions will be available soon, so keep an eye out. I met a lot of new and old community members (I also realize I screw up new names, especially after a few sponsor-paid beers, and I deeply apologize for that), and I hope to see you at a future event, Liferay or otherwise, or online. Cheers!

PS: Happy Halloween! If you've ever heard of the Konami Code, give it a go on liferay.com.

Threaded Replies Author Date
Thanks for putting this together - seems like I... Olaf Kock October 31, 2013 9:26 AM
Thanks Olaf! Yea, a few of those are hard to... James Falkner October 31, 2013 6:04 PM
Hi James, about paper for "User Experience and... Denis Signoretto November 4, 2013 1:55 AM
hey Denis - thanks for starting the... James Falkner November 4, 2013 6:44 AM

Thanks for putting this together - seems like I procrastinated enough so that I don't have to do it any more. (I wish it was procrastination)
Oh, and thanks for the praise. I hope we can improve the experience even more for next year.

I have the original paper versions of the unconference session notes that I could get hold on next to my office desk and can provide them if someone needs more detailed images.
Posted on 10/31/13 9:26 AM.
Thanks Olaf! Yea, a few of those are hard to read - not anyone's fault, the app down-samples images to save bandwidth when uploading.
Posted on 10/31/13 6:04 PM in reply to Olaf Kock.
Hi James,

about paper for "User Experience and Usability of Social Portlets" session it wasn't done. We was very late. Jorge asked me to summarize it in a thread on "Home » Liferay Portal » English » C. UX Interest Group" category.

You can find summary here: https://www.liferay.com/it/community/forums/-/message_boards/message/31101543
Posted on 11/4/13 1:55 AM.
hey Denis - thanks for starting the conversation! I've linked to it from the above list.
Posted on 11/4/13 6:44 AM in reply to Denis Signoretto.